ESSENTIAL CINEMA

RUSSIAN ARK (Russkiy kovcheg)

Written by Anatoli Nikiforov and Aleksandr Sokurov
Cinematography by Tilman Büttner
Editing by Stefan Ciupek, Sergey Ivanov, and Betina Kuntzsch
Original music by Sergei Yevtushenko
Cast: Sergey Dreyden, Mariya Kuznetsova, Leonid Mozgovoy, Mikhail Piotrovsky
Russia, 2002, DCP, color, 1.85:1, 95 min.
Russian with English subtitles

“Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov broke boundaries with his dreamlike vision of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. It's the first feature-length narrative film shot in a single take (on digital video, using a specially designed disc instead of tape). RUSSIAN ARK is shot from the point-of-view of an unseen narrator, as he explores the museum and travels through Russian history. The audience sees through his eyes as he witnesses Peter the Great abusing one of his generals; Catherine the Great desperately searching for a bathroom; and, in the grand finale, the sumptuous Great Royal Ball of 1913. The narrator is eventually joined by a sarcastic and eccentric 19th century French Marquis, who travels with him throughout the huge grounds, encountering various historical figures and viewing the legendary artworks on display. While the narrator only interacts with the Marquis (he seems to be invisible to all the other inhabitants), the Marquis occasionally interacts with visitors and former residents of the museum. The film was obviously shot in one day, but the cast and crew rehearsed for months to time their movements precisely with the flow of the camera while capturing the complex narrative, with elaborate costumes from different periods, and several trips out to the exterior of the museum. Tilman Buttner, the director of photography, was responsible for capturing it all in one single Steadicam shot.” – Kino Lorber



Thu, February 20, 2014, 7:30 PM
AFS at The Marchesa
(6226 Middle Fiskville Rd - Click here for directions)

Return to PUSHING THE CURTAIN ASIDE: RUSSIAN FILMS OF THE PAST TWO DECADES
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