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Sunday, November 23, 2014 
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Cinematronic by Michael Snyder
Film
cinematronic
  Russian Ark cinematronic
  director

Alexander Sokurov

cast

Sergei Dontsov, Sergey Dreiden

year

2002

rating rating cinematronic
  If only because it was shot as a single, uninterrupted take on digital video, the amazing 96-minute film "Russian Ark," an epoch-spanning trek through the palatial Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, is a landmark in world cinema. Like Alfred Hitchcock's "Rope," "Russian Ark" was designed by director Alexander Sokurov to be a non-stop tracking shot from beginning to end. But Sokurov's film is a more complex, daunting enterprise than "Rope," which was set in a single apartment. In "Russian Ark," the camera moves into and around the Hermitage, and through time and history as well. Providing a lens-eye point-of-view, the protagonist on this carefully orchestrated trip is a contemporary man. He's invisible to all around him except for a 19th-century French diplomat who's initially confused, then matter-of-fact, about traversing 300 years while strolling room to room. The journey provides access to historical figures who frequented the Hermitage (e.g. Peter the Great) and to events such as a royal ball held there in 1913. While the sheer logistics (1,500 actors in a maze-like location) inspire awe, so does the resplendent, engrossing result.  
cinematronic
cinematronic


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