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Article

Russian Ark

Posted on

Russian Ark

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
Unrated
runtime:
96 minutes
Limited Release Date:
12/06/02
performer:
Sergei Dreiden, David Giorgobiani, Mariya Kuznetsova, Leonid Mozgovoy
director:
Alexander Sokurov
distributor:
Wellspring
author:
Boris Khaimsky, Anatoli Nikiforov
genre:
Historical

We gave it a B+

A French aristocrat and his unseen companion tour the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, drifting from room to room and streaming from century to century — variously crunching across snow with Catherine the Great, stepping through art galleries with contemporary visitors, and encountering all manner of spectacle. Director Alexander Sokurov captures all this in one continuous take, a lovely orchestral stunt that denies us the conventional satisfactions of character and plot and therefore overwhelms any intended meditation on Russian history. Rather, the movie’s pleasures are of enchanting opulence; it’s a sleight-of-hand epic. EXTRAS Both a documentary and a commentary tell you how the filmmakers did it; a short film on the Hermitage tells you why.