October 2nd, 2004


The Russian Ark

I was always impressed by the long opening scene in The Player. If you pay attention, the first 8 minutes or so is all one scene with no camera cutaways.

I don't remember why I put Russian Ark in my Netflix Queue over a year ago. Possibly it was shown at SIFF. Not sure. Anyway, it took about a year to plow through everything ahead of it. I still haven't finished watching the movie yet, but I had to put it on pause to comment.

About 5 minutes into it I realized they don't cut away. 15 minutes in, they still haven't. So now I go look it up on the internet, and I find out they filmed the whole thing in one shot. Amazing.

It's strangely drawing me in despite the subject matter. The movie is about The Hermitage, a former palace and now Russian museum. Basically it's a dream or a ghost wandering through the rooms trying to understand what's going on while scenes from history that occurred in those rooms play out in front of him. Had I known that's what the movie was, I wouldn't have rented it. But now that I have it, it is magnetic.

Russian Ark