Russian Ark

( 7 )

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 ...
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Blu-ray (Anniversary Edition / Subtitled)
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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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Special Features

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

Dazzling dance to the music of time.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/19/2013
  • UPC: 738329111625
  • Original Release: 2002
  • Rating:

  • Source: Lorber Films (Kino)
  • Presentation: Anniversary Edition / Subtitled
  • Language: Russian
  • Time: 1:39:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 21,671

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

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    What an experience

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Comparison with Real Time (Tiempo Real)

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Russian Ark sank

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    review

    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.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Powerful

    The most powerful work of beauty, time, history and art. Highly recommended

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews