The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

THE STORY ARC OF RUSSIAN ARK
an uncut ribbon
I dig experimental moviemaking. I've indulged this enthusiasm by seeking out films from Andy Warhol's Chelsea Girls to the fairly recent Timecode.

So when a flick like Russian Ark appears, I get juiced up. (Check out the official site.) It's a historic epic fantasy that's shot in one complete, uncut/unedited 90-minute take, and it's garnering some widespread acclaim.

The danger of a film like this is that the main technical aspect of it--the continuous shot take--can override the story, and make the whole thing come off as gimmicky. In fact, while the overwhelming majority of reviews gush over it, the few critics that don't like it cite the format as a mask that distracts from the storyline. That makes me suspicious; I wonder if I wouldn't go out of my way to try to disregard the cinematography, and then be overly critical of the story. Also wonder if I'd need a greater appreciation of Russian history to get the most out of it.

Still, it's looking intriguing. I'll have to cross my fingers on it coming to the Tampa Bay area. Heck, it's set in St. Petersburg, Russia; I live in St. Petersburg, Florida--should be an angle there somewhere...