This has to be one of the most astonishing films ever made. Not just for it’s sheer majesty but also for it’s technical accomplishments. Russian Ark involves an unseen narrator accompanied by “The Stranger” walking in and out scenes from Russian history as they wander through the Winter Palace (now the Russian State Hermitage Museum) debating Russia’s role in European affairs.
From a technical perspective the film is amazing: 2,000 actors, 300 years of Russian history, 33 rooms at the Hermitage museum, 3 live orchestras, filmed in one, 99 minute continuous camera shot (which took I believe three takes due to technical faults. The third take is the final film). No camera trickery or CGI employed at all. It’s worth watching this film just for that alone.