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Russian Ark [2003] [DVD]

4.0 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Sergei Dreiden, Lev Yeliseyev, Maria Kuznetsova, Leonid Mozgovoy, Mikhail Piotrovsky
  • Directors: Alexandr Sokurov
  • Format: PAL, Widescreen, Colour, HiFi Sound
  • Language: Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 29 Sept. 2003
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009Z528
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,498 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

A groundbreaking feat of filmmaking, Alexander Sokurov's amazing journey through 300 years of Russian art and history is the first ever feature to be shot in a single, unedited take - the ultimate director's cut. Magically transported to St Petersburg's Hermitage museum in the early 1700s, a contemporary filmmaker and a cynical 19th Century French diplomat become accomplices in an extraordinary voyage through Russia's turbulent past to the present day. As they explore the splendid corridors and salons of the Palace, the two men witness prominent historical figures enacting startling scenes from the Tsarist Empire. Digitally shot with a state-of-the-art high definition steadicam and featuring a masterfully orchestrated cast of 2,000, Russian Ark is destined to stand as a defining moment of cinema history.

From Amazon.co.uk

Russian master Alexander Sokurov has tapped into the very flow of history itself for the flabbergasting Russian Ark. Thanks to the miracles of digital video, Sokurov (and cinematographer Tilman Buttner) uses a single, unbroken, 90-minute shot to wind his way through the Hermitage in St Petersburg--the repository of Russian art and the former home to royalty. Gliding through time, we glimpse Catherine II, modern-day museumgoers, and the doomed family of Nicholas II. History collapses on itself, as the opulence of the past and the horrors of the 20th century collide, and each door that opens onto yet another breathtaking gallery is another century to be heard from. The movie climaxes with a grand ball and thousands of extras, prompting thoughts of just how crazy Sokurov had to be to try a technical challenge like this--and how far a distance we've travelled, both physically and spiritually, since the movie began. --Robert Horton

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Aleksandr Sokurov has created a unique, wondrous masterpiece of a film in his great homage of Russian history and art and the Hermitage Museum. Four years in the planning, a cast of thousands, exquisite reproductions of costumes that span the three hundred years of Russian history, and brilliant cinematography by the German Tilman Buttner, Sokurov has condensed the essence of Russian culture in a 90 minute non-stop 'live' filming within the halls of the Hermitage museum (all 5 palaces known as the winter palaces of the Tsars). The result is an enchanting, bewitching, meandering tour of Russian from the time of Catherine the Great, Peter the Great, Pushkin, the Romanovs - Nicholas I and II - to the final ball in the palace the night Tsarist Russia ended. Our tour guide is the off camera voice of Sokurov in conversation with a French Marquis and assorted ghosts of the past as we seamlessly view glimpses of Russia's past, scenes like an actual play that Catherine the Great wrote and watched, the writer Pushkin, the Romanov family at their last supper in the palace and the grand ball that culminates this stage of the glory of Russia. The ballroom scene is resplendent with vast numbers of costumed actors dancing a mazurka to the music (Glinka's mazurka from his opera 'The Life of the Tsar') provided by the Maryinski Orchestra conducted by no less than Valery Gergiev! As the guests finally leave the Hermitage museum the camera focuses on an open window overlooking the sea on which the city of St Peterburg floats.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
This Alexander Sokurov feature is one of the most staggering technical achievements in the history of cinema - a single shot lasting 95 minutes while moving through 33 rooms in the world's largest museum, the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg (which also encompasses the Winter Palace). Part pageant and museum tour, part theme-park ride and historical meditation, it covers two centuries of czarist Russia as smoothly as it crosses the Hermitage and even periodically moves outside of it, with the offscreen Sorukov engaged in an ongoing dialogue with an on-screen 19th-century French diplomat (apparently suggested by Adolphe, marquis de Custine).
Sokurov used close to 2,000 actors and extra and three live orchestras in making what may be the world's only unedited single-take feature as well as the longest Steadicam sequence ever shot. (Reportedly only one previous take of the sequence was even attempted, after lengthy and detailed rehearsals of all the participants, and it apparently failed due to the subdegree temperature outside.) Russian Ark is also the first uncompressed high-definition film recorded on a portable hard-disk system rather than on film or tape before being transferred to 35mm, and, along with Sokurov's earlier innovative experiments with optical distortions and perspective in features such as Whispering Pages (1993) and Mother and Son (1997), it marks him as a kind of 19th-century modernist - a filmmaker who, like Manoel De Oliveira in a very different way, combines an acute sense of the past with a very up-to-date sense of how to convey it.
As one critic has suggested, Russian Ark is an anti-October, challenging Sergei Eisenstein's reliance on montage while using the Winter Palace as a gigantic set.
Read more ›
1 Comment 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
This Alexander Sokurov feature is one of the most staggering technical achievements in the history of cinema - a single shot lasting 95 minutes while moving through 33 rooms in the world's largest museum, the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg (which also encompasses the Winter Palace). Part pageant and museum tour, part theme-park ride and historical meditation, it covers two centuries of czarist Russia as smoothly as it crosses the Hermitage and even periodically moves outside of it, with the offscreen Sorukov engaged in an ongoing dialogue with an on-screen 19th-century French diplomat (apparently suggested by Adolphe, marquis de Custine).
Sokurov used close to 2,000 actors and extra and three live orchestras in making what may be the world's only unedited single-take feature as well as the longest Steadicam sequence ever shot. (Reportedly only one previous take of the sequence was even attempted, after lengthy and detailed rehearsals of all the participants, and it apparently failed due to the subdegree temperature outside.) Russian Ark is also the first uncompressed high-definition film recorded on a portable hard-disk system rather than on film or tape before being transferred to 35mm, and, along with Sokurov's earlier innovative experiments with optical distortions and perspective in features such as Whispering Pages (1993) and Mother and Son (1997), it marks him as a kind of 19th-century modernist - a filmmaker who, like Manoel De Oliveira in a very different way, combines an acute sense of the past with a very up-to-date sense of how to convey it.
As one critic has suggested, Russian Ark is an anti-October, challenging Sergei Eisenstein's reliance on montage while using the Winter Palace as a gigantic set.
Read more ›
2 Comments 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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