Russian Ark- review (in a sentence)

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Russian Ark- review (in a sentence)

Postby john-5 » Thu Nov 06, 2003 7:13 pm

RUSSIAN ARK: ART HOUSE ODYSSEY.

Russian Ark is not only a film of incomparable technical ambition; a sinuous, languorous, labyrinthine ramble, achieved in a single, astounding 96 minute digital take, that glides stealthily through the gilded splendours of the Hermitage at St Petersburg, guided by an 18th century French diplomat- with audience and a mumbling off-screen "spy" joined as spectators to a sumptuous array of paintings and sculptures (Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Canova..), classical concerts, a grand ball, specific historical pageants and figures, including a now young, now aged Empress Catherine II; it is also a pretentious, self-indulgent elaboration of the director Sokurov's thematic concerns, a preposterous virtuoso display of costumes and choreography (marshalling a cast of almost a thousand); an extraordinary, painstakingly rehearsed theatrical performance- replete with lugubrious longueurs- that renders editing redundant; a refined examination of the links between past and present, various art forms, Russian and European civilisation, illusion and reality;a culmination of certain arthouse aspirations that also serves as a beautiful eulogy of cinema history, subjectively recalling Last Year at Marienbad, Celine and Julie go Boating, Visconti's The Leopard, Bondarchuk's War and Peace, Anger's Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Ophuls, Von Sternberg, Kubrick et al; a noble, elegiac testament to celluloid and the prodigious ten minute take, an allusive celebration tinged with melancholy; a closure, an opening; a deliciously sensuous surreal journey from within a disturbed mind, a Carrollian wander through a cultural warren; an ego trip - with camera as eye for an I - for director and viewer alike, an eyes wide shut meditation on vision, voyeurism, identity; an intimate space odyssey of 2002, an ethereal exploration of Time, a graceful, ghostly reflection on transience and the echoing footfalls of history, a remembrance of things past, a Proustian sentence; a dream, death, eternity...and none of the above.
john-5
 


Re: Russian Ark- review (in a sentence)

Postby gratefultiger » Fri Nov 07, 2003 1:38 am

The film is a misunderstood (by the conservative,pro hollywood film critics in oz)masterpiece,when if ever will these clowns learn.Maybe too artistic for most who knows?
but the magnificent ballroom scene was worth the price of my ticket in spades.verdict 5 stars!
gratefultiger
 

Re: Russian Ark- review (in a sentence)

Postby john-5 » Fri Nov 07, 2003 3:48 pm

Yeah, my Visconti reference was to the ballroom scene. A clumsy review, but i thought i'd try something different. Gilbert Adair did something similar for an article on Rope in his superb book "Flickers". Have you read it?
john-5
 

Re: Russian Ark- review (in a sentence)

Postby gratefultiger » Tue Nov 11, 2003 4:04 am

Yes tho gil was bagged by some for his views, i like it,his articles on Renoir & Parajanov were very good.
I meant 5 out of 5 for Russian Ark it is brilliant.
gratefultiger
 


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