09 20 Oct '24
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Aleksandr Sokurov

Russian Ark (Russkiy kovcheg)

99' - 2002 - Fantasy, Drama - Dialogue: Persian, Russian
Director: Aleksandr Sokurov With: Sergey Dreyden, Mariya Kuznetsova, Leonid Mozgovoy
Invisible to everyone, a contemporary filmmaker magically finds himself in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg - in the early 1700s! He meets a cynical French diplomat from the 19th Century, the Marquis of Custine, and the men become accomplices in an extraordinary time-travelling journey. They encounter life at the Imperial Palace as it was in different ages: they see Peter the Great berate a general, Catharina the Great rehearse a play, the last Grand Royal Ball of 1913, the last tsar dining with his doomed family, the Nazi's bloody siege of Leningrad during World War II. As their voyage unfolds in a single, uncut steadicam shot, the two men engage in a passionate and ironic dispute. The Marquis has a Western love-hate relationship with Russia, whereas the filmmaker questions his country's uneasy connection to its past and to Europe today. The Hermitage is the Russian Ark, affectionately guarding art and history until the world sees better days.

Image gallery

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Aleksandr Sokurov


Sergey Dreyden, Mariya Kuznetsova, Leonid Mozgovoy


Aleksandr Sokurov, Boris Khaimsky, Anatoli Nikiforov, Svetlana Proskurina

Director of Photography

Tilman Büttner


Stefan Ciupek, Sergey Ivanov, Betina Kuntzsch, Patrick Wilfert


Andrey Deryabin, Jens Meurer, Karsten Stöter

More information


Persian, Russian

Countries of production

Canada, Russia, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Japan




Aleksandr Sokurov
The Elegy from Russia (1993), Whispering Pages (1994), Dukhovnye golosa. Iz dnevnikov voyny. Povestvovanie v pyati chastyakh (1995), A Humble Life (1997), Dolce... (2000), Taurus (2001), Elegy of a Voyage (2001), Russian Ark (2002), Father and Son (2003), The Sun (2005), Elegy of Life: Rostropovich, Vishnevskaya (2006), Alexandra (2007), Reading Book of Blockade (2009), Intonatsiya (2010), Intonatsiya. Vladimir Yakunin (2010), We Need Happiness (2010), Faust (2011), Francofonia (2015), Fairytale (2022)

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