Russian Ark: Novel Approach to Royal Treasures

Russian Ark

Russian Ark (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

Russian Ark is a smart surreal Russian parallel cinema movie directed artistically by Alexander Sokurov.

The flick begin with a man awakening to snowfall and being unaware where he is, and unsure why no one can see him {Is he a ghost? Or just invisible? }. He also can’t figure out why an aristocratic Frenchman is able to converse fluently with him despite claiming to be not well-versed with Russian.

Together the Frenchman and the Russian {the first-person narrator} try to figure out: where they are, the era in which they are, and why some people can see them and others can’t. They admire the royal costumes, the opulent palatial settings of the building they are in, the sculptures, the paintings, the lay of a huge banquet. They observe actors, visitors, curators, and royal dignitaries around them{and even some beautiful women who might actually be angels}. The Frenchman scares some people, bothers several court staff and soldiers, and together with the narrator goes on a time-hopping journey as they discuss intricacies of art, culture and Russian history.

russian_ark

russian_ark (Photo credit: 沐小川)

Rating: 10/10 for novelty. I loved how the entire 1.5 hours of film is captured in an unbroken single-shot via videocam, and how the story keeps surging forward. The print, costumes, decor, direction and action were marvellous. Great if you like experimental cinema and are interested in Russian history, art and culture. Also a great movie to disabuse anyone of the notion that offbeat equals boring.

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One comment on “Russian Ark: Novel Approach to Royal Treasures

  1. I LOVE this movie. It’s the ultimate in symbolism. You could watch this movie dozens of times and still find new symbolism. I always refer to it as the mother of foreign films. All English lit and film majors should watch it in my opinion.

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