"2,000 Actors. 300 Years of Russian History. 33 Rooms at the Hermitage Museum. 3 Live Orchestras.
1 Single Continuous Shot."
Note: There seems to be a little audio-blip in some parts of the movie. I will replace this file with another as soon as I can, but until then, just be advised that a little of the Russian Dialog is muted for a few parts.
Sometimes invisible to everyone around him, a contemporary filmmaker magically finds himself at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
A narrator, who is unnamed, and unseen by the audience, and voiced by the director, wanders through the Winter Palace (now the main building of Russian State Hermitage Museum) in St. Petersburg. The narrator implies that he has died, and is a ghost drifting through the palace. In each room he encounters various real and fictional people from various time periods in the city's three hundred year history. He is accompanied by a companion, 'the European' (played by Sergei Dreiden), who represents the nineteenth century traveller the Marquis de Custine, and who is visible to the audience. The fourth wall is repeatedly broken and re-erected; at times the narrator-director and the companion interact freely with the other performers, and at other times go completely unnoticed.
The film begins on a winter's day with the arrival by horse drawn carriage of a small party of men and women to a minor side entrance of the Winter Palace. The narrator (whose eyes are always our point of view) meets one member of this party, 'the European', and follows him through numerous rooms of the Palace. As each room is entered, we find ourselves in a different period of Russian history (but not in chronological order).
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Video Clips - Help! I Can't See the Clips!
♦ Clip One
♦ In One Breath: The Making of Alexander Sokurov's Russian Ark
♦ The Winter Palace - A film by Elfi Mikesch