Russian Ark

Director: Alexander Sokurov
Year Released: 2002
Rating: 3.0

Sokurov, playing the role of The Ghost of Russia's Past, takes a scrooge-like Frenchman on a tour of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg to discuss art, life and history. Hypnotic film done in a single shot (take that Welles and Metty!) requires some getting used to - I found myself going through a 'break in' period where I wasn't sure if I could take ninety minutes of roaming - but fell under its meditative spell around the fifteen minute mark. To be positively critical, it is just a gimmick - an idea done with technical precision and with significantly more consideration given to the style than the substance (the Museum speaks for itself, basically) - but one so dynamic and extravagant that I have to just applaud the director, his crew, and the hundreds of performers.