Russian Ark (2002)
March 7, 2024 11:47 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] A ghost and a French marquis wander through the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, encountering scenes from many different periods of its history, as three centuries of Russian history are condensed into a single, uninterrupted, 87-minute take.

Starring Sergei Dreiden, Mariya Kuznetsova, Leonid Mozgovoy, Mikhail Piotrovsky, David Giorgobiani, Aleksandr Chaban, Lev Eliseev, Oleg Khmelnitsky, Alla Osipenko.

Directed by Aleksandr Sokurov. Assistant Director, Marina Koreneva. Produced by Jens Meurer, Oliver Damian, Andrew Colton, Karsten Stöter, Andrey Deryabin, Vladimir Plyatskovsky, John Hamilton, Alla Verlotsky for Egoli Tossell. Written by Aleksandr Sokurov, Svetlana Proskurina, Anatoly Nikiforov, Boris Khaimsky. Cinematography by Tilman Büttner. Music by Sergei Yevtushenko.

The film also lists three editors (though I am unclear how that works with a single shot) Stefan Ciupek, Sergey Ivanov, Betina Kuntzsch.

89% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming on Hoopla, Kanopy, and Kino Now. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (9 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
oh this movie is a beautiful dreamy delight. I put it on once, not sure I was in the right mood for what I imagined it would be. I thought "I'll just watch a few minutes" but I was immediately engrossed. I may never get to Petersburg, but I felt like I got to have a touch of the experience of seeing one of its treasures.
posted by supermedusa at 11:48 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]

More a screensaver than a movie, it looks amazing.
posted by Molesome at 11:52 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

The final scene where all the players exit the museum is on YouTube. What a marvelous thing they made together! I don't think it's really a spoiler to just watch it even if you haven't seen the film; it is essentially unspoilable.

From Roger Ebert's review: "If cinema is sometimes dreamlike, then every edit is an awakening."
posted by bcwinters at 1:15 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]

I don't know what the state of streaming is with bonus features kind of stuff, but if you've got the dvd, the bonus feature reveals that they one time made it like 70% of the way through or something until something caused them to have to reset and go again which blew my mind. I mean yeah live performances don't get a do-over but they also don't have one dude having to lug a camera around the whole time.
posted by juv3nal at 2:35 PM on March 7

Yes, the film is the fourth take.
posted by Grangousier at 3:43 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

Not much to say. This film was great.
posted by Alex404 at 12:25 AM on March 8

A stunning chronicle of the two most important Russian pastimes: pondering existence and walking slowly.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 7:36 AM on March 10

Mesmerizing film. Beautiful to watch. Incredible to see it all happen in one take.
posted by vacapinta at 5:53 AM on March 11

I have only ever heard of this film here on MetaFilter -- but it's always praised universally, so I guess I gotta watch. :7) The snippet that bcwinters links to looks pretty amazing, so maybe this weekend I'll grab a glass of whiskey, dim the room lights, and watch it unspool.

We went to Paris over the winter, and many of the rooms & buildings were of the same age -- but the people filling them were distinctly contemporary. I would love it if more historic properties could be filmed with crowds of people in period dress, to enhance the impression of exploring them. (Hey, this would be a great use for VR!)
posted by wenestvedt at 6:09 AM on March 14

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