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Russian Ark DVD

aka Russkiy Kovcheg, Aleksandr Sokurov, 2002

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Overall

5 Reviews // 1 List

Film Details

Directed by Aleksandr Sokurov

Produced in 2002

Main Language - Russian with English subtitles

Countries & Regions - European Film, Russian Film

Cast

Maria Kuznetsova, Sergey Dreiden

Genres

Contemporary DramaContemporary Period, Costume, Historical FilmEuropean FilmRussian Film

MovieMail's Review

Focusing on three centuries of Russian history, from Peter the Great to Tsar Nicholas II, Russian Ark, the latest film by Alexander Sokurov, is an amazing tour de force. Shot in one long 96-minute tracking shot with a cast of 2000 actors and extras, the film takes the viewer into the great Hermitage Collection in St. Petersburg, Russia, showing real works of art from 33 rooms and exploring their meaning in a larger context.


The film begins in the dark with the narrator (apparently Sokurov) commenting about how little he sees. "My eyes are open", he says, "and yet I see nothing." An elegant white-haired man in a black cloak (Sergey Dreiden) suddenly appears and escorts the confused narrator into the corridors of the grand palace. We see works by El Greco, Rubens and Van Dyck in their awesome splendor. We run into Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and Nicholas II, the final Russian Tsar hosting the Great Royal Ball of 1913, the last such formal occasion of its kind. As we enter the Great Nicholas Hall, the opulent room is filled with thousands of aristocrats dancing the mazurka in gorgeous period costumes. At the end, there is the peaceful flow of a river outside the hall to which the narrator comments, "The flow is forever. Life is forever." More than just a great technical achievement, this is also a sublime meditation on the individual's place in the universe, one that does not recreate history but allows us to revisit it on a dreamlike stage where past, present, and future are one.

on 1st July 2003
Author of 112 reviews

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Film Description

An ecstatic, bravura piece of filmmaking and the world's first ever one-take, entirely unedited feature film. Sokurov's amazing journey winds us though the Hermitage museum in St Petersburg, bringing Russia's turbulent history to life with a cast of thousands. A giddying watch.

DVD Details

Certificate: U

Publisher: Artificial Eye

Length: 96 mins

Aspect ratio: Widescreen

Format: DVD Colour

Region: 2

Released: 29th September 2003

Cat No: ART256DVD

Subtitles: English

DVD Extras

  • Making-of documentary
  • Hubert Robert: A Fortunate Life - documentary by Sokurov
  • Stills gallery
  • Filmographies & Biographies
  • Trailer.

Film Stills

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Community Reviews

by Anon on 2nd January 2004

I wish I had rented this film from moviemail. Then I could have switched it off and gone to bed. Instead, we hired a babysitter and devoted an entire evening to watchi... Read on

by Barry Forshaw on 10th July 2003

A truly stunning movie, Sokurov's delirious single-take masterpiece enjoys an exemplary DVD transfer here. Read on

by Anon on 21st January 2004

Russian Ark is not only a film of incomparable technical ambition; a sinuous, languorous, labyrinthine ramble, achieved in a single, astounding 96 minute digital take,... Read on

“Russian Ark? a double take”
by Jose Arantes on 6th January 2011

According to the producer Jens Maurer, four years were dedicated to the development of Russian Ark before it could be shot in one single day on location - the State He... Read on

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