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Russian Ark

“RUSSIAN ARK is both a dazzling technical tour-de-force and a love letter to Russian culture. Unfolding in real time in a single, dreamlike, uncut digital video take, it tracks a contemporary filmmaker (Sokurov) and a mercurial 19th-century French diplomat, the Marquis de Custine—tour guides on a phantasmagoric, time-traveling journey through St. Petersburg’s opulent Hermitage Museum. Swirling through the galleries of time, we encounter its first resident, Catherine the Great; the family of Czar Nicholas II; current Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky; and regular Russian art lovers. Requiring seven months of rehearsal, 1,000 costumed actors, the equivalent of 33 soundstages, and a live orchestra performance, the exhilarating final film was shot in just the amount of time it takes to watch it. But beyond the seamless logistical achievement, RUSSIAN ARK creates a moving testimony to human resiliency and the survival of culture. Sampling history and some of the world’s most exquisite art and artifacts, it is, like the Hermitage itself, a veritable Russian Ark.”—28th Portland International Film Festival.

Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Historical

Other Films by Aleksandr Sokurov


Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, FAUST is Sokurov’s fourth and final film in his tetralogy on the corrupting effects of power. In MOLOCH (1999), TAURUS (2001), and THE SUN (2005), Sokurov turned his gaze on Hitler, Lenin, and Japan’s Emperor Hirohito, respectively. Here, the RUSSIAN ARK director offers a visceral,


Celebrated for his daring and landmark films—such as Russian Ark (2002,) which was filmed in one sequence in the Russian State Hermitage Museum—Francofonia transforms Paris’ Louvre Museum into a magisterial, centuries-spanning reflection on the relationship between art, culture, and power. Sokurov examines the story of Jacques Jaujard, Director of the French National Museums and Count