Holiday Movie Preview: Russian Ark

STARRING: Sergei Dontsov, Maksim Sergeyev, Mariya Kuznetsova DIRECTED BY: Alexander Sokurov

This could have been just the greatest, daftest, most elaborate stunt in movie history--a single, unbroken, 87-min. Steadicam shot that winds and pirouettes as it accompanies an unseen narrator and a 19th century French marquis (Sergei Dontsov) through 33 rooms of the State Hermitage Museum in an attempt both to give us a tour of the St. Petersburg palace's artistic treasures and to encapsulate three centuries of Russian history, of the Czars and commoners who lived, worked, danced, suffered and died in those sumptuous rooms and labyrinthine corridors--but because Alexander Sokurov is as much an artist and storyteller as he is...

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