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Directed by Aleksandr Sokurov

Russia 2002 99 mins. In Russian

“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.



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.