The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Russian Ark

Saw Russian Ark on Sunday, and was pretty much blown away by it. For those of you who haven't heard of it, the film consists of a 90 minute single take (a real single take, not one stitched together) running thru the Hermitage, the vast museum located in St. Petersburg. You encounter modern Russian, mysterious strangers, Tsars, huge ballroom scenes, the works. It's beautiful and quite hypnotic. Alexander Sokurov, the director, took years to plan the whole thing, and he pulled it off on the third try. Which was important, as he could get access to the museum for a single day to film it.

I'm really amazed not just by the film but by the sheer nerve of the director to try and pull this off. The film involves hundreds and hundreds of actors, some of who vanish and re-appear, and they all had to hit their marks and make room for the camera (through some very crowded scenes) and it all had to work right when it could have gone wrong so easily. I'm just in awe of the dedication and planning and faith it took.


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