Russian Ark
Russian Ark

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An unseen man regains consciousness, not knowing who or where he is. No one seems to be able to see him, except the mysterious man dressed in black. He eventually learns through their discussions that this man is a 19th century French aristocrat, who he coins the "European". This turn of events is unusual as the unseen man has a knowledge of the present day. The two quickly learn that they are in the Winter Palace of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the European who has a com... (Full plot summary below)

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Full Plot Details

An unseen man regains consciousness, not knowing who or where he is. No one seems to be able to see him, except the mysterious man dressed in black. He eventually learns through their discussions that this man is a 19th century French aristocrat, who he coins the "European". This turn of events is unusual as the unseen man has a knowledge of the present day. The two quickly learn that they are in the Winter Palace of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the European who has a comprehensive knowledge of Russian history to his time. As the two travel through the palace and its grounds, they interact with people from various eras of Russian history, either through events that have happened at the palace or through the viewing of artifacts housed in the museum. Ultimately, the unseen man's desired journey is to move forward, with or without his European companion.

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Movie Reviews

Time Out New York - 10/10 by Joshua Rothkopf The best style has a purpose to it, and Russian Ark, in its hypnotic, endless swirl, gets at a deep truth of the post-Soviet psyche, haunted by its legacy of czarist rule and Stalin-era sacrifice. The film is a sad home for ghosts.
San Francisco Chronicle - 10/10 by Kenneth Baker Marks a cinematic milestone.
Dallas Observer - 10/10 by Jean Oppenheimer Turns out to be more than simply a near-miracle of filmmaking, however; it is also an astonishing work of art, a historical epic that drifts through one's consciousness like a reverie.
Christian Science Monitor - 10/10 by David Sterritt Well worth seeing on the wide screen before its video release next year. It's guaranteed to take your breath away.
Chicago Tribune - 10/10 by Michael Wilmington Extraordinary film, one that, like the museum itself, captures and shows three centuries of Russian culture and history in all its beauty, confusion, terror and majesty.
New York Post - 10/10 by V.A. Musetto The result is a magnificent feast for the eyes and brain.
Boston Globe - 10/10 by Wesley Morris Who most of these exquisitely costumed people are I have no idea, but they brush past the camera in such rapids of jubilation it's a wonder they don't knock the thing over. I watched most of the film exhilarated, but depressed that I'm not a big Russophile.
Time - 10/10 by Richard Corliss A coda that will have the movie's audience gasping in exhilarated exhaustion, whispering astonished gratitude to Sokurov for having created vigorous art out of 21st century video technique and asking themselves, "What's the Russian word for Wow!?"
Washington Post - 10/10 by Desson Thomson Dramatically, this is something of a waking dream.
Los Angeles Times - 10/10 by Kenneth Turan An astonishing technological feat, but what is even more remarkable is that the technology does not overwhelm the artistry.
Portland Oregonian - 10/10 by Shawn Levy Audacious, gorgeous and unique.
L.A. Weekly - 10/10 by Henry Sheehan High art, low comedy, hard labor and royal prerogative are here thrown together in an elegant unity, a breathtaking demonstration of Russian cinematic -- hence artistic -- brilliance.

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