The “Russian Ark” was released in 2002. It could have been one of many international films of culture and history filmed in one country or other from around the world, but it is forever innovative because of the filming technique. The writer/director filmed it in one unbroken shot lasting the entire length of the film as it glided through the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. There were 2000 costumed, bejeweled actors who became living history in this grand museum .
There is running commentary between the Marquis and the director, all in Russian with English subtitles. The French visitor and the audience experiences the sweep of Russian history from the years after the revolution to the hints of hard times ahead.
After the entrance, the doors swing open to the grand ballroom and we become guests to a formal state ball. Elaborately costumed dancers float through the air keeping time to the elegant orchestral music. There are no less than 3 full orchestras in the film.
The visual splendor of live art, history, and music are yours for the one hour and thirty minute film, almost as a dream, but with your eyes wide open. It is available now on YouTube.com . There is a surprise and satisfying twist at the end. . . . . . .
Full-length viewing of the film with English subtitles.