“Russian Ark”—Русский Ковчег (RUS-kiy kaf-CHEG) is a film by Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov. Running for 96 minutes, it was filmed in a single unedited shot. The narration, voiced by Sokurov himself, wanders through the Russian State Hermitage Museum in St. Peterburg and encounters historical figures who made the history of the city. Viewers of “Russian Ark” have a chance to meet with the Russian tsar Peter the Great and Empress of Russia Catherine the Great, among others, and witness the Great Royal Ball of 1913 at the end of the film.
In “Russian Ark” the director blurs boundaries between film and video, fiction and documentary, imagination and reality, and makes viewers concentrate on a single shot for a long period of time. The experimental technique of “Russian Ark” has attracted the attention of audiences worldwide, seen as elitist and incomprehensible by some and as a true masterpiece of cinematography by others.
The film received international acclaim and competed for the main prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002.