Thursday, March 11, 2010
A ghost and his interlocuter tour the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.* The ghost is fortunately an art lover, and knows Italian sculpture and painting quite well. His interlocuter controls the POV and we get some long lingering shots of great paintings, reminding me that this is one of the places I must see before I kick off...
But Russian Ark is no mere tour of the museum. As the ghosts prowl around they move through various epochs of Russian history and interact with the denizens of the palace, its ball guests, its visitors, its management and restoration crew. There are lavish ball sequences as well-managed as any in cinema history, with the camera weaving in and out of the mazurka and lovely period costumes and decor. A very lovely and strange film. I just learned of its director, Alexander Sokurov, in the NYRB a couple issues back. I shall seek out more of his work, most def.
*At least I think that's what's going on. I won't explain out of fear of spoiling things.