We have been asked by the Hermitage Rooms to cascade information about the film “Russian Ark”
(I believe the film is also being shown later on BBC4, but it needs a large screen to do it justice. I recommend it.)
R U S S I A N A R K
A film by Alexander Sokurov
With Sergei Dreiden, Maria Kuznetsova, Leonid Mozgovoy & Mikhail Piotrovsky
Produced by Andrey Deryabin, Jens Meuer and Karsten Stöter
Russia / Germany / Japan / Canada 2002 / Colour / 96 mins
In Russian with English subtitles
E x c l u s i v e
The Hermitage Junior Committee invites you to an exclusive preview of Alexander Sokurov’s extraordinary film, ‘Russian Ark’, shot entirely in The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. There will be a vodka reception before the film starts and a special introduction by Ian Christie, Professor of Film and Media History at Birkbeck College, London.
Thursday 27 March
Sokurov’s breathtaking film recreates 300 years of history and culture and is the first entirely unedited, single take, full-length feature film. A contemporary Russian filmmaker magically finds himself in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. He meets a cynical French diplomat from the nineteenth century, the Marquis de Custine, and the two men become accomplices in an extraordinary, time-travelling journey through Russia’s turbulent past. Together they encounter life at the Imperial Palace as it was through different ages from Catherine the Great’s backstage love affairs to the last Tsar’s ball in 1913 in the Winter Palace. The film evolves from the foundation of St. Petersburg in 1703 right up to the Nazi invasion and the heroic siege of Leningrad during World War Two, to the live performances of the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra.
‘Russian Ark’ combines state of the art digital technology, strong storytelling, lavish production values and a highly personal mise-en-scene. Sokurov’s vision – featuring more than 2000 actors and extras – was realised entirely ‘in camera’. After months of careful planning and choreographed rehearsals, the entire film was shot by Tilman Büttner in a single day, in one recording, in a single uninterrupted steadicam sequence. The ultimate ‘directors cut’, there is no editing as the film unfolds in pure real time. Pushing the boundaries of filmmaking, ‘Russian Ark’ is the first ever uncompressed High Definition movie, recorded onto a portable harddisk system, rather than 35mm or tape. 2003 marks the tercentenary of the foundation of the city of St Petersburg and the world famous State Hermitage Museum has one of the largest and most celebrated art collections in the world. Built by Peter the Great and founded as a museum by Empress Catherine II in 1764, the collection consists of more than three million items: paintings, sculptures, prints, decorative arts and a rich selection of archaeological artefacts.
‘Russian Ark’ is arguably one of the most important films to emerge from Russia in the last 20 years.
Thursday 27 March, 8.30pm vodka reception, 9pm film at the Renoir Cinema, Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AW, Tel: 020 7837 8402.
To book please send a cheque for £20 (£15 over 60s and students) made out to ‘Friends of the Hermitage’ to Katharine Morgan, Hermitage Development Trust, South Building, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA. Enquiries 020 7845 4631 or [removed].
Russian Ark is an Artificial Eye release, opening on April 4 at the Renoir and Curzon, Mayfair.