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Russian Ark

2003-03-02 22:56:01.126907+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

We saw Russian Ark last night. The entire movie is one continuous shot in The Hermitage. It's a fantastic acheivement, amazing choreography and hand-held camera work come together in a film that really needed a hell of a lot more background of the history of Russia for us to get. Great eye candy, but after a while it was just more events that we weren't making the connections for. If you've got a good background for Russian history, this might be for you. If you love period costume, likewise. Otherwise I thought it was a movie done because they could do it, an incredible accomplishment, but low on the entertainment scale.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Movies ]

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#Comment made: 2003-03-03 15:10:49.245928+00 by: petronius

I agree with your assessment. I sometimes got the impression that some of the interactions between the Frenchman and the various Russians he meets, like the blind art lover or the young man who doesn't know Scripture, are meant to represent events or themes in Russian history that I'm simply not aware of. I guess the scene where the Czar meets the Persian emissaries was supposed to represent Russia's place in the world, but I'm just not sure. I suppose the answer is to read more history.

I do feel, however, that the ballroom scene at the end is not only the most exhilirating camera work ever done, but a triumph of mood. The sense of loss, the melancholy or realizing that the "80 year long Directorate" is about to come is incredibly palpable. It reminds me of scenes at the beginning of Solzenyitzen's August 1914, where we see the hints of a liberal, progressive Russia just getting started (about 100 years behind the rest of Europe), but doomed to be smashed by a collision between the utter nincompoopery of the ruling class and the viciousness of the revolutionaries.