Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Russian Ark

I've been leading to this. One shot music videos are one thing. Just a few minutes. Easily enough. But how about a one shot movie? This one is an hour and a half! Okay, it's pseudo-documentary, and rather gimmicky, but this is a one shot movie.

There is a plot, but it is thin. A person (this is all shot as 'first person') wakes up to find himself lost in time and in a large building. As he walks, he meets a stranger who converses with him about the wonders they are seeing, as they move from room to room, encountering people of different times from Russian history, leading to a big ball. And then, at the end, it is revealed that... well, that would be telling, but the title is that for a reason.

This was shot at the State Heritage Museum in St Petersburg. Which only closes one day a year (on Christmas Day), so that's the one day they had to film all this. There were four takes, with the last attempt being the last possible attempt, due to time. As the tagline states: 2000 cast members, 3 orchestras, 33 rooms, 300 years, ALL IN ONE TAKE. Impressive!

The main actor, the stranger, is Sergey Dreyden, who carries himself with a wonderful presence. This would have been like a play, needing to memorise the entire ninety minute script (more or less, he ducks in and out). We get various people as themselves (mainly the Heritage staff), and there's a seven man team to carry the camera and all the equipment around (no doubt to also usher extras out of the way and to tell them to stop looking into the camera).

This is a film people should see just to take in the grandeur and the achievement. And if you know of other one shot films, please let me know.



Morgan Davie said...

I've enjoyed this series Jamas!
I was 2nd AD on a one-shot indie feature film shot here in Wgtn a decade ago... never released anywhere, to my knowledge.

Ah, google finds reference to it:

Jamas Enright said...

Well, if you happen to have a copy of the movie anyway... ;)

Morgan Davie said...

I wish I did have a copy, i would love to see it! Everyone I know who worked on it has never seen it...