Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Ghosts In The Museum

The Russian Ark(2002)Directed by Alexander Sokurov

Stunning, simply stunning.A Russian and "European" (who resembles and moves like a middle aged Nosferatu) ghost haunt a museum, conversing, mostly being thrown out of exhibits, and free floating through time and Russian history.An entire film (1 hr and 36 minutes) in one take! No cuts, no breaks, just thousands of extras! If just one of them misses a line, or an action, the entire film would have to start all over again. If on no other level, "The Russian Ark", is at least a stylistic and perhaps "technical" masterpiece of film making.
The final "scene", leaving the ball, is the one of the best Ive ever seen in a movie. Actually everything after we see "Anastasia" running through the halls (as seen on top of Cover, the bottom is Catherine The Great in the snow), is pretty dreamlike and beautiful, and ominous.
That being said I fell asleep first time I tried to watch it, about 45 minutes in. The second time was a much better viewing, I noticed things I missed. It takes some effort, at first, but it's well worth it for cinephiles and people who like wandering through museums looking at things.
One of the best, and certainly most important films of our fledgling decade, and moment in the great gallery of history

1 comment:

Jeffrey Meyer said...

Oh my God, this is such a good film, so much going on on so many levels: formal, technical, historical, dramatic, etc.

Easily my favorite film since the year 2000.

The ending always makes me cry, for some reason...

All of Sokurov's films are great -- have you seen Mother and Son?