Saturday, May 18, 2013

"Russian Ark" Plot Summary

Looking for something new to watch? Here's a short summary of Russian Ark. See if you'd be interested in it...

Writers: Boris Khaimsky, Anatoli Nichiforov, Svetlana Proskurina, Alexsandr Sokurov 
Directed by: Alexsandr Sokurov 
Produced by: Andrey Deryabin, Jens Meurer, Karsten Stoter 
Released in: 2002

Summary by Cretu Irina

Russian Ark

Plot summary:

   Alexandr Sokurov is considered one of the most important directors in the world of Cinema. His works are concerned with questions regarding human existence. The great Russian filmmaker Andrey Tarkovsky influenced and determined Sokurov's cinematic style during their long creative relationship. "Russian Ark" is the first film shot on a single take using a digital video.

The film is shot from the point of view of the narrator ( Sokurov himself), who stumbles into the past and follows like a shadow the main character.

In the first scene of the film, which starts with the words "I open my eyes and I see nothing", we meet the Marquis (Sergey Dreiden), a French nobleman who travels around The Hermitage Museum and gets in contact with the Russian history, expressing traditional Western European contempt and also admiration for such an exotic and mysterious country like Russia, and passing through various epochs. Each room of the museum reveals a different historical period. All his impressions about what he witnesses during his wandering through art and history are included in passionate discussions with the unseen narrator.

The list of the characters consists of a mixture between famous features like Peter the Great (Marksim Sergeyev), whom we see harassing one of his generals, Catherine II (Mariya Kuznetsova), Tsar Nicholas I who is offered apologize by the Shah of Iran for the killing of Russian diplomats, Tsar Nicholas II' children and real people who play themselves such as Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the Hermitage.

All these remarkable interesting scenes culminate with a grand ball with many of the dancers dressed in stunning period costumes and amazing jewelry animated by the music of Mikhail Glinka.

In the end, the narrator is released to the present time and we see him leaving the museum through a side exit. The image of an endless ocean represents the final scene of the film, a metaphor for an ark preserving Russian culture which floats in the sea of time.

The film has at its base a very original beautiful idea which is materialized in a dreamy session of thoughts and images that talk about the beauty of history and culture of Russia. 

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