November 9, 2008

We loved this film...

I don't normally recommend films, because I don't normally watch them. I'm weird that way. But I made an exception for Russian Ark .

It is technically mind-boggling; 90 minutes shot in one continuous take, moving through many rooms of the Winter Palace, which is now the main part of the Hermitage Museum. And this includes enormous and complex scenes with hundreds of richly costumed actors.

The film also moves through time, weaving back and forth over 300 years, from Peter the Great, to modern museum rooms. And we accompany a skeptical 19th Century European, the Marquis, dressed in black, who converses with a ghostly narrator, discussing Russia and Russian culture. He is almost invisible to the actors, who don't see him most of the time.

The technical feat is no mere gimmick; in fact you soon forget about it and sink into the odd and delightful and dreamlike world of the film. If you are into history, you must not miss it. The costumes, the very faces, are perfect--never like modern people in period dress. (And if you are one of those poor souls who need a will probably hate it!)


Posted by John Weidner at November 9, 2008 7:46 PM
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