Screen/Society--AMI Showcase--European Cinema Series--"Russian Ark"
(Alexander Sokurov, 2002, 99 min, Russia, in Russian w/ English subtitles, Color, Blu-Ray)
-- Introduced by Prof. Anne-Gaëlle Saliot, Dept. of Romance Studies!
Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov broke boundaries with his dreamlike vision of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, "Russian Ark". It's the first feature-length narrative film shot in a single take (on digital video, using a specially designed disc instead of tape, Tilman Büttner as the director of photography). "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.
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.
-- Winner of Visions Award at 2002 Toronto International Film Festival!
-- "Merely as a technical, logistical feat, Russian Ark marks a cinematic milestone." -- San Francisco Chronicle
-- “A extraordinary film, one that, like the museum itself, captures and shows three centuries of Russian culture and history in all its beauty, confusion, terror and majesty.” -- Chicago Tribune
Cost: Free and Open to the Public
Sponsors: The Program in the Arts of the Moving Image (AMI).