Sokurov's 2002 masterpiece wanders through centuries of Russian history all in one continuous shot
(2002) “Where am I?” wonders our disembodied narrator, as, along with his equally confused companion, displaced 19th-century diplomat Sergey Dreiden, he wanders through centuries of Russian history, from Peter the Great to Nicholas I to Catherine the Great to Pushkin to the last great ball of Nicholas II before the Great War — all in one shot! In the dream of many a filmmaker (Hitchcock’s Rope), Ark was recorded in one continuous, uncut shot by iron man cameraman Tilman Büttner (Run Lola Run) as he Steadicamed 4/5 of a mile through thirty-three sets, all built within the Hermitage Museum in Petersburg, with 867 actors, hundreds more extras, three live orchestras, and hordes of techies waiting in the wings. Possible only thanks to a specially-developed portable hard drive recording system, Russian Ark is both an eye-popping technical achievement, a visually dazzling production, and a meditation on and elegy for the sweep of Russian history. Approx. 100 min. DCP.