Russian Ark

2002

Drama / Fantasy / History / Mystery

61
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 90%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 80%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 18,126

Synopsis


Downloaded times
May 11, 2020

Cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
913.23 MB
1280*720
Russian 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
99 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.66 GB
1920×1080
Russian 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
99 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Terrell-4 8 / 10 / 10

Fascinating Tour de Force

A 90-minute movie centered on St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum, filmed in one unbroken take by a digital steadicam, didn't send a lot of Americans racing to buy tickets when it was shown here two or three years ago. The movie, however, is far more than just a technical stunt. It's a unique tour de force with emotional impact. Russian Ark portrays the Hermitage as a kind of cultural and historical ark floating on centuries of Russian seas. The narrative device is a shadowy eighteenth century Frenchman who wanders the halls and time periods, commenting often with good-natured European condescension on what he sees. He is accompanied by a Russian who is never seen, and who questions him about his comments. The movie ranges through time with appearances of Peter the Great, Catherine II, Pushkin, Nicholas II and his family, generals, maids, flunkies and diplomats. The Frenchman, played with great style by Russian actor Sergei Dreiden, takes us to painting and sculpture galleries, kitchens, ballrooms, storerooms, basements and living quarters as we observe things that happened in the Hermitage over the centuries. At first, I was very aware of the technical feat of no cuts. Gradually, though, I think most people just relax and accept the skill of the director and photographer, and become immersed in what they are seeing. A kind of unreal imagery takes hold. The movie ends with the last dance held in the Great Ballroom before WWI. Hundreds of actors and dancers, in full costume, swirl around this ornate setting, and swirl around the camera as well, while the camera glides through the crowds. It's a terrific scene, and is followed by the end of the dance with all the hundreds of guests making their way through the halls and staircases to leave the building, with the camera facing them and moving along in front of them. This is a highly unusual film, probably a great one.

Reviewed by lawprof 9 / 10 / 10

A Mesmerizing, Seductive Trip Through a Fantasist's Russia

Western fascination with Russia -whether the land of the Tsars or the cruel empire of the madman Stalin - is one of our unending cultural fixations. Endlessly studied, painstakingly analyzed, mocked and admired - Russia is a massive, ongoing colossal story. An enigma that never yields its deepest secrets. Director Aleksandr Sokurov is the voice of the anonymous inquisitor who accompanies nineteenth century French marquis Sergei Dreiden (Sergei Dontsov) on a breathtaking tour of the physical and spiritual Hermitage of St. Petersburg. He has made a groundbreaking, stunning film. Shot from a Steadycam in one continuous over hour-and-a-half stream, the film explores the treasures of one of the world's greatest museums. Equally, "Russian Ark" rambles, without regard for chronological order, through snatches of Russian and Soviet history, each short episode a fantastical peep into a wild, rich, often terrifying but always fascinating world. In the nineteenth century European travellers, most often men (Charles Dickens, for example) and some women (Fanny Trollope for one) visited and wrote about the two untamed civilizations that beckoned to foreigners and promised adventure and intrigue: Russia and the United States. Count Dreiden, a not atypical Frenchman of haughty self-assurance and ample means, viewed Russians as boorish and their culture a gilt-splendored front for a nearly barbarous land. His book would not have been picked up by a publisher linked to the travel industry. In "Russian Ark" Dreiden is more muted than he is in print but his unquestioning cynicism comes through as Sokurov captures the imagined journey in one building of a French nobleman through both his time and a future he questions without developing much understanding. So we have both an Acoustaguide tour of a wonderful palace of culture and myriad treasures and snapshots of everyone from Catherine the Great to Nicholas and Alexandra and their children, including an adorable Anastasia, fated to be one of history's silly mysteries. Noblemen and contemporary sailors, bemedaled officers and bejeweled women, a cultured woman gallery guide and apparatchiks - they all fleet through and interact with the questioning but stolidly biased Frenchman. How did Sokurov pull off a continuous take through over 4,200 feet of the Hermitage with a cast of many hundreds, gorgeously costumed, without a hitch? Unbelievable! That feat alone propels him into the Cinema Pantheon of Fame. At times I felt like I was drawn into the crowd, especially when they depart a dance to head for a fabulous banquet (the dance band is conducted by Valery Gergiev, the only famous - to Westerners - person in the film). And even though I knew from reviews that Sokurov pulled it off, I kept waiting for the seemingly inevitable "Cut!" following a miscue or stumble. The hint of intrigue and menace that is so much part of Russia's past and present lurks behind an almost impressionistic front with scenes of one-dimensional gaiety almost but not entirely hiding a complex society. Sokurov teaches and teases simultaneously. As visual splendor and directorial innovation this is one of the great films of our time. I look forward to owning it on DVD knowing that its magic can never be realized fully outside a theater. Don't miss this one and see it more than once. 10/10.

Reviewed by Galina_movie_fan 9 / 10 / 10

"This Ark Will Sail Forever"

I found "Russian Ark" a fascinating work of a very ambitious director. For me, it was a highly enjoyable guided tour through the rooms, galleries, and halls of one of the greatest museums in the world. I have not been to Hermitage (Winter Palace) for over fourteen years, and to see the familiar rooms, stairs, paintings, and sculptures was like traveling back in time. The film is also the journey over three hundred years of the Russian history and the attempt to understand the country's place and meaning in European culture. Each of the palace's rooms is filled with memories, shadows, whispers, smiles, and tears of the people whose lives have made the history of the country. The fact that it is all presented in a single, the longest uninterrupted shot ever makes it even more incredible. I also saw the documentary about making "Russian Ark". It is called "On One Breath" - that's how the director, Alexander Sokurov wanted his audience to feel about the film that was shot in a single glorious take during several hours on one winter night. The preparation for this unforgettable night took almost four years.

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