Parlor Tricks – Attention For The Wrong Reason

Aleksandr Sokurov’s one-take movie “Russian Ark” at the Hermitage Museum is getting all sorts of attention for all sorts of the wrong reason, writes Nigel Andrews. “The whole world loves useless virtuosity. Masterpieces come 10 a penny, but building the Taj Mahal with matchsticks – that’s real achievement. Without its history-making the single-take ‘Russian Ark’ would be a routine Sokurov essay in narcoleptic expressionism. Now he has accepted a challenge to make the Great Russian Movie and the result is fascinating, maddening, boring and hypnotic, in any adjectival order you want.”