Aleksandr Sokurovs always in motion camera glides seamlessly and astonishingly filming a cast of thousands while wandering through a vast labyrinth of corridors and theaters and ballrooms during different periods of Russian history within the sprawling and panoramic Hermitage museum of Saint Petersburg...
During one continuously unbroken unedited single 96 minute take almost a mile in length revealing how this amazing motion picture is so obviously a breathtakingly stunning technically brilliant uniquely cimematic achievement thats definitely and absolutely not to be missed...
Quote:“Russian Ark” is indeed filmed in a single take, lasting approximately 90 minutes with opening and end credits that stretch the running time to 96 minutes. If you want to call it a gimmick, knock yourself out, but nobody can accuse Aleksandr Sokurov, the movie's director and co-screenwriter, of taking the easy way out. He didn't just point the camera at a chess match and go sip tea for an hour and a half before yelling cut. His ambitions were much grander, and his stage one of the grandest of all.
It's a technical achievement that was only made possible by digital technology, a relatively lightweight camera that recorded to a hard drive not limited to the ten minutes of a film magazine. It's also a technical achievement that provides one of the most memorable viewing experiences of the 21st century, a sinuous roller coaster ride that pauses just often enough for us to catch our breath and sometimes just to soak in the beauty of a painting.
This unbroken take still functions as a documentary record of an exceptional logistical feat. But “Russian Ark” is an arrangement of bodies and space that boasts of a grand accomplishment with real weight and substance and something far more potent than narrative. For a movie populated by ghosts, it has a tangible quality that has become increasingly rare in the world of lightweight cameras and post animation solutions.
It's not all about the single take, but the single take is a very big deal. Perhaps it's appropriate that a film shot in the final week of 2001 provides a true “ultimate trip.”