Northfield, Minn.—“Russian Ark,” a visually spellbinding film about St. Petersburg’s Hermitage museum, will be screened Monday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m.The location has been changed to Olin Hall, Room 149. The event is free and open to the public.
The movie, directed by Alexsandr Sokurov, is a true feat of cinematic technology. Shot with high definition video cameras in one fluid take, it allows the audience to experience Russia’s treasured museum from the point of view of a “visitor” (Sakurov, although we only hear his voice) as he walks through the Winter Palace, viewing tableaux from 300 years of Russian history. He is accompanied by another character—based on the Marquis Astolphe de Custine (1790-1857), who published the 1839 travelogue titled “Letters from Russia”—with whom he converses as the scenes unfold before them.
During the film, the audience witnesses vignettes such as Peter the Great berating one of his generals and a grand ball featuring an orchestra and hundreds of dancers. In one of the film’s most poignant moments, Tsar Nicolas II and his family dine together, unaware of their impending fate.
Along the journey, viewers gaze upon some of the world’s most breathtaking art. The building itself, with its incredible architecture and opulent fittings, is a character in its own right.
In 2002, the film was nominated for a number of film festival awards, including the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film festival. It won the Visions Award at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival and a special citation from the San Francisco Film Critics Circle.
Carleton Russian professor Diane Nemec-Ignashev, who has written about the film, will introduce the screening. Following the film, assistant professor of cinema and media studies Carol Donelan, visiting lecturer and UNESCO-Hermitage Project head Stuart Mather Gibson, and Nemec-Ignashev will hold a panel discussion.The film screening and discussion is co-sponsored by the departments of cinema and media studies, economics, and Russian. For more information and disability accommodations, call the Carleton economics department at (507) 646-4109.