Saturday, July 5th, 2003
Russian Ark is some piece of filmmaking – a 90-minute, 1-take continuous shot through the Hermitage Museum is St Petersburg, Russia. Taken on it’s technical merits alone, it’s amazing, and if I had anything more than the most rudimentary knowledge of Russian history, I’d probably be able to comment on the confusing narrative component of the film. But I don’t, so I can’t, but reading up on the articles on the film’s website is helping me fill in those gaps and provide some context for what I’ve seen while the movie is fresh in my head. What I can say is that the closing ballroom scene is one of the most remarkable things I’ve seen on screen in a long time. If you’re not up on your Russian history, however, I wouldn’t recommend going to see this as it doesn’t make the slightest attempt to let the non-scholar understand what’s going on. Unless you’re prepared to accept great gobs of confusion and resultant boredom as part of the viewing experience, which I was.
Robert Smigel’s cartoon about corporate media monopolies was aired once on SNL, and then removed from later airings. Hmm, wonder why? But thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can see it here.
np – Richard Thompson / The Old Kit Bag