Russian Ark

Russian Ark

4.4 7
Director: Alexander Sokurov

Cast: Alexander Sokurov, Sergei Dreiden, Maria Kuznetsova, Leonid Mozgovoy

     
 

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Alexander Sokurov's Russian Ark is an amazing accomplishment, and clearly made with passion, but while the film is sure to be hailed as a masterpiece by some, its narrative conceit isn't nearly as interesting as the technical feat of its creation. The result is a unique and intelligent film with sporadic moments of…  See more details below

Overview

Alexander Sokurov's Russian Ark is an amazing accomplishment, and clearly made with passion, but while the film is sure to be hailed as a masterpiece by some, its narrative conceit isn't nearly as interesting as the technical feat of its creation. The result is a unique and intelligent film with sporadic moments of transcendent beauty that fails to create a strong emotional connection with its audience. It's essentially a 96-minute museum tour, with the added benefit of time travel and wax figures that briefly come to life. But wax figures are all they are, essentially. Sokurov, as though following a hasty guide, spends so little time with the historical figures he portrays that it often feels as though he's moving on just as you begin to figure out who and what you're watching. The Russian experience of World War II, for example, is portrayed with a brief stop in a foreboding, ghostly room filled with coffins. The filmmaker is known for his lugubrious pacing, but Russian Ark has the odd distinction of seeming both slow paced and rushed. It moves slowly and mournfully, but still only glances across the surface of the eras it portrays. It's a demanding film, encompassing a wealth of Russian history and art history between its first and final frames. Those who stay with it will be rewarded in the end by a gorgeously mounted ball, in which the camera gracefully slides among elaborately costumed dancers as the orchestra plays. It's a deeply felt irony that this transcendent moment of joy takes place on the eve of the Russian revolution, and the world of these briefly glimpsed characters is about to come crashing to an end. It's a shame that the film has few moments where form and content align so powerfully. Josh Ralske

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Alexander Sokurov's Russian Ark is an amazing accomplishment, and clearly made with passion, but while the film is sure to be hailed as a masterpiece by some, its narrative conceit isn't nearly as interesting as the technical feat of its creation. The result is a unique and intelligent film with sporadic moments of transcendent beauty that fails to create a strong emotional connection with its audience. It's essentially a 96-minute museum tour, with the added benefit of time travel and wax figures that briefly come to life. But wax figures are all they are, essentially. Sokurov, as though following a hasty guide, spends so little time with the historical figures he portrays that it often feels as though he's moving on just as you begin to figure out who and what you're watching. The Russian experience of World War II, for example, is portrayed with a brief stop in a foreboding, ghostly room filled with coffins. The filmmaker is known for his lugubrious pacing, but Russian Ark has the odd distinction of seeming both slow paced and rushed. It moves slowly and mournfully, but still only glances across the surface of the eras it portrays. It's a demanding film, encompassing a wealth of Russian history and art history between its first and final frames. Those who stay with it will be rewarded in the end by a gorgeously mounted ball, in which the camera gracefully slides among elaborately costumed dancers as the orchestra plays. It's a deeply felt irony that this transcendent moment of joy takes place on the eve of the Russian revolution, and the world of these briefly glimpsed characters is about to come crashing to an end. It's a shame that the film has few moments where form and content align so powerfully.
Entertainment Weekly - Owen Gleiberman
It was only with the advent of digital technology that the notion of an entire film done in a single take became possible. Mike Figgis got there first with Time Code, and now the Russian director Alexander Sokurov has brought off a comparably startling feat with Russian Ark.
Village Voice - J. Hoberman
Dazzling dance to the music of time.
New York Times - Stephen Holden
A magnificent conjuring act, an eerie historical mirage.
Washington Post - Desson Howe
Dramatically, this is something of a waking dream.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

The film is a glorious experience to witness, not least because, knowing the technique and understanding how much depends on every moment, we almost hold our breath.
Los Angeles Times - Kenneth Turan
An astonishing technological feat, but what is even more remarkable is that the technology does not overwhelm the artistry.
Chicago Tribune - Michael Wilmington
Extraordinary film, one that, like the museum itself, captures and shows three centuries of Russian culture and history in all its beauty, confusion, terror and majesty.
L.A. Weekly
High art, low comedy, hard labor and royal prerogative are here thrown together in an elegant unity, a breathtaking demonstration of Russian cinematic -- hence artistic -- brilliance. Henry Sheehan

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/19/2013
UPC:
0738329111526
Original Release:
2002
Rating:
NR
Source:
Lorber Films (Kino)
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:39:00
Sales rank:
13,940

Special Features

In One Breath (2003, 43 min,), a documentary about the making of Russian Ark; Includes cast and crew interviews; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Sergei Dreiden The Stranger
Maria Kuznetsova Catherine II the Great
Leonid Mozgovoy Spy
David Giorgobiani Orbeli
Alexandr Chaban Boris Piotrovsky
Maksim Sergeyev Peter the Great
Sergey Remizov Actor
Sergei Romanyuk Actor
Andrey Rodimov Actor
Julia Rudina Actor
Rodion Prikhodko Actor
Asya Razhouk Actor
Dzhafar Rasulov Actor
Alexander Razbash Museum Official
Sasha Shapovalova Actor
Vladimir Sevastyanikhin Tutor of the Heir
Julia Sergeyeva Actor
Ilya Shakunov Cavalier
Alexander Shaporov Actor
Ekaterina Shimelyeva Actor
Asya Shibarova Actor
Andrey Schepochkin Actor
Yelena Rufanova Lady
Ruslan Sadykov Actor
Asya Shirshina Actor
Nataliya Nikulenko Catherine the Great
Sergei Nadporozhniy Court Official
Pavel Novikov Actor
Alexey Oding Actor
Alla Oding Actor
Kirill Miller Court Official
Viktor Mikhailov Court Official
Konstantin Mukhin Actor
Artur Mkrtchan Actor
Sergei Muchenikov Museum Official
Katya Ponomareva Actor
Kirill Petrov Actor
Anya Penny Actor
Yelene Pavlikova Actor
Mikhail Piotrovsky Himself
Ekaterina Polyakova Actor
Igor Okrepilov Actor
Yuri Orlov Grandee of Catherine the Great
Alexandr Orlov Actor
Oleg Palmov Actor
Alla Osipenko Herself
Irina Osnovina Actor
Maria Mescheryakova Actor
Igor Volkov Actor
Sergey Vasilyev Actor
Pavel Yanutsh Actor
Oleg N. Yefremov Museum Official
Valentina Yegorenkova Maid of Honour of Catherine the Great
Kirill Ulyanov Actor
Tatyana Uchayeva Actor
Suren Vartanov Actor
Svetlana Ulyanova Actor
Polina Uranova Actor
Irina Tychinina Actor
Dmitry Zebrov Actor
Yury Zagrebnev Actor
Yefim Yoffe Actor
Dmitry Zelnitsky Actor
Julia Zhuravlyova Actor
Michail Yegorov Actor
Sergey Yelikov Actor
Anya Yekaterininskaya Actor
Alexey Yemelyanov Actor
Lev Yeliseev Himself
Olga Yeliseyeva Actor
Julia Shubareva Actor
Alexander Sokurov Narrator
Boris Sokolov Actor
Vladimir Solovyov Actor
Vladimir Solovyov Actor
Anya Solovyova Actor
Anatoliy Shvedersky Marshal
Yelena Spiridonova Lady
Yelena Simonova Actor
Valery Smolyakov Actor
Svetlana Smirnova Widow
Boris Smolkin Chancellor Nesselrode
Irina Tsyplukhina Actor
Vsevolod Tsurilo Actor
Alexandr Trofimov Actor
Pavel Titov Actor
Alexander Tsybulsky Actor
Rasina Tsydulko Actor
Vanda Starodubtseva Actor
Artiom Strelnikov Talented Boy
State Hermitage Orchestra Actor
Irina Ternovova Actor
Svetlana Svirko Actor
Semyon Sytnik Actor
Yulian Zhurin Actor
Alexander Dezhenov Actor
Konstantin Demidov Actor
Mikhail Dorofeyev 1st Card Player
Maxim Doronin Actor
Yekaterina Dronova Actor
Sergey Agafonov Actor
Yury Ageikin Actor
Anna Aleksakhina Alexandra Fyodorovna
Artashes Aleksanyan Actor
Dmitry Alexandrov Actor
Alexander Alexeyev Actor
Alexander Anchukov Actor
Alexander Andreyev Actor
Konstantin Anisimov Cavalier
Anya Antonelly Actor
Andrey Arshinnikov Actor
Ismat Ashurov Actor
Yegor Bakulin Actor
Alexander Balonin Actor
Shamil Baltacheyev Actor
Alexey Barabash Cavalier
Vladimir Baranov Nicholas II
Alexander Bassov Actor
Dmitry Bekoyev Actor
Vladimir Belovolsky Actor
Olga Belyavskaya Actor
Valentin Bukin Military Official
Galina Burkina Actor
Anatoly Chernigin Actor
Vladimir Chernyshov Actor
Vladimir Cknat Actor
Michail Colovyov Actor
Kirill Dateshidze Master of Ceremonies
Anatoliy Dubanov Actor
Alexey Fedkin Actor
Nikolai Fedortsov Actor
Yevgeny Filatov 2nd Card Player
Valery Filonov Actor
Roman Gabriya Actor
Svetlana Gaitan Custodian at the Museum
Mark Gavrilov Actor
Valery Gergiev Actor
Natalya German-Tzarkova Actor
Svetlana Gnedina Actor
Helena Gorbunova Actor
Anna Gorodko Actor
Yekaterina Gorokhovskaya Actor
Nikolai Gravshin Actor
Vadim Guschin Grandee of Catherine the Great
Ivan Guskov Actor
Arseny Ivankovich Actor
Natalya Kadochnikova Actor
Olga Kalmykova Actor
Yury Kalugin Actor
Michail Karavayev Actor
Valentina Kasyanova Actor
Sergey Katyukha Actor
Boris Khasanov Actor
Oleg Khmelnitsky Himself
Jury Khomutyansky Insane Italian
Darya Khudyakova Actor
Alexander Klotko Actor
Oksana Klotko Actor
Tamara Kolesnikova Actor
Alisa Kondratyeva Actor
Marianna Kostyushkina Actor
Andrey Kovel Actor
Valery Kozinets Actor
Victor Kraslavsky Actor
Alexei Krymov Actor
Alexander Kulikov Actor
Alexandra Kulikova Actor
Tamara Kurenkova Herself
Svetlana Kushakova Actor
Valentin Kuznetsov Actor
Mariya Lavrova Actor
Ira Lebedeva Actor
Michail Legkov Actor
Dmitry Lemeshev Actor
Andrey Letnikov Actor
Masha Libova Actor
Vladimir Lisetsky Court Minister
Vadim Lobanov Lord Chamberlain
Sergei Losev Court Official
Margarita Lukina Actor
Konstantin Lukonin Actor
Yefim Malkov Actor
Alexander Malnykin Minister of Peter the Great
Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra Actor
Oksana Merzlyakova Actor

Technical Credits
Alexander Sokurov Director,Screenwriter
Gali Abaydulov Choreography
I. Agapova Makeup
A. Alexeyev Special Effects
Sergei Astakhov Co-producer
I. Bashkirova Makeup
Sergey Beck Production Manager
E. Beschastnaya Makeup
Sven Boeck Co-producer
I. Braninova Makeup
Tilman Buttner Camera Operator,Cinematographer
L. Chumakova Makeup
Andrei Deriaban Producer
Andrey Deryabin Producer
Y. Epstein Special Effects
G. Finogenova Makeup
T. Friday Makeup
T. Gerkus Makeup
Timur Gordin Special Effects
T. Grabelnikova Costumes/Costume Designer
N. Grachyova Makeup
O. Grebenyuk Makeup
Maria Grishanova Costumes/Costume Designer
T. Ilyina Makeup
Sergei Ivanov Editor
Jens Meurer Producer
Boris Khaimsky Screenwriter
V. Khalaimov Makeup
M. Khatsarevich Special Effects
J. Khramtsova Makeup
V. Khronov Special Effects
Natalia Kochergina Art Director
N. Kolodeznikova Costumes/Costume Designer,Makeup
Tatiana Komarova Casting
Y. Kozlova Makeup
Elvira Krupina Asst. Director
Natasha Krymskaya Makeup
Lidiya Kryukova Costumes/Costume Designer
A. Kudryavtsev Special Effects
N. Kuzmina Makeup
K. Malysh Makeup
K. Mamkina Makeup
Alexander Maslov Asst. Director
Sergei Moshkov Sound/Sound Designer
I. Nadeikina Makeup
Anatoly Nikiforov Screenwriter
V. Nikulina Makeup
A. Nudel Makeup
T. Pavlova Makeup
G. Persella Score Composer
Vladimir Persov Sound/Sound Designer
V. Ponikarovsky Special Effects
Svetlana Proskurina Screenwriter
S. Rassokhina Makeup
N. Ratkevich Makeup
Sergei Razhuk Asst. Director
Andrey Razumovsky Co-producer
L. Rusetskaya Makeup
Tamara Seferyan Costumes/Costume Designer
Y. Semerenko Makeup
O. Shamkovich Makeup
O. Smirnova Makeup
Katrin Springer Production Manager
Karsten Stoter Producer
V. Valeulov Special Effects
T. Varukhina Makeup
I. Vasilyeva Makeup
Y. Vasilyeva Makeup
Michael Vavilov Production Manager
Alla Verlotsky Associate Producer
Maksim Volodin Production Manager
V. Voronov Special Effects
Y. Vybornov Special Effects
A. Yershova Makeup
Sergei Yevtushenko Score Composer,Musical Arrangement
K. Zheleikina Makeup
Yelena Zhukova Art Director

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Russian Ark
1. Chapter 1 [:11]
1. Entrance [9:52]
2. It's All Theater [7:39]
3. Italian Gallery [7:40]
4. Flemish Masters [7:22]
5. Hot Air [7:53]
6. El Greco [8:03]
7. Coffins and Corpses [7:52]
8. Persian Apology [9:13]
9. Future and Past [8:22]
10. Royal Ball [:38]
11. Last Dance [5:19]
12. Exit [7:02]

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Russian Ark 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Yet even Sokurov¹s careful staging and deft touch can¹t completely distract us from the novelty of his device. There are times when scenes seem staged just for us to marvel at the difficulty of their execution rather than for strict advancement of the story. So there are moments when we are pulled out of the story simply to gape in awe at the logistics and that¹s a flaw. In some ways the low budget Mexican film Tiempo Real (which is certificated by Guinness Book of World Records as the first film to be shot entirely in one shot from one camera) makes less self-conscious use of its one-shot formula precisely because it is gritty and low budget. The lack of funds combined with shooting on contemporary, real streets ends up distracting us from the gimmicky technique because we¹re less conscious of how everything¹s being staged. So in an odd sense, it is the very elaborateness of Sokoruv¹s film and its spectacular choreography of people and events that makes it more self-conscious in its technique.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love The Hermitage and Russian history and here they are combined in a visually delightful way. The concept of the Hermitage as the Ark for Russian culture is intriguing. What a delight to revisit the Hermitage and for a brief time see the masterpieces and hear the struggles that Russia has experienced over the last three hundred years. I would not have enjoyed it as much if I had not seen the accompanying documentary because I would not have been ready for compression of time and the dance of history without regard to chronology. It reminded me of having to rethink time as I had to watching the French/Macedonian film After the Rain. They stretch my thinking and my perspective on the world which is humbling and helpful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The most powerful work of beauty, time, history and art. Highly recommended
bookbusy More than 1 year ago
This film came highly recommended to me by two people. I thought I would love it because I love art and it takes place at the Hermitage. I have been very disappointed. I have attempted to watch it twice and fell asleep both times. I was not going to write this review until I finally watched the whole thing (supposedly the best part is at the end) but I am not inspired to try again frankly. The most interesting thing I can say about it is the director's ability to get the film shot in one long camera sequence. Otherwise, I have to pass on this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its an awesome movie. the Philosophical points in the movie are awesome. The charachter of Europe is as should be and so is the charachter of Russia.