Russian Ark (2002)

  • 2002
  • Feature, Drama, History
  • 1h 36m

Go on a spellbinding tour through European art and Russian history.

In this impressive technical and aesthetic feat of the first order, Alexander Sokurov’s camera glides through 33 rooms of the Hermitage’s Winter Palace. Moving in and out of cathedral-like galleries, ornate ballrooms, vestibules, corridors and workrooms, three centuries of Russian history and European art are filtered through a single 96 minute shot.

An unseen modern filmmaker (voiced by Sokurov) and a French diplomat, the Marquis de Custine (Sergey Dreiden), act as guides as we glide past the great paintings of El Greco, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Rubens and others. Key moments from Russian history are interwoven: Peter the Great manhandling a general; Russia’s last Czar, Nicholas II, dining with his doomed family before the Revolution; Catherine the Great attending an opera and later, wandering into a snow-covered courtyard. An extraordinary film of visual and intellectual pleasures, Sokurov’s meditative masterwork offers a unique snapshot of Russian culture and history in all its beauty, terror and majesty.

– Roberta Ciabarra, Film Curator.


Tilman Büttner


Russian, Farsi




Russian Federation, Germany, Canada, Japan, Finland, Denmark


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