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Home > Festival Archives > Selections > Fiche Film


In Competition – Feature Films
Directed by :
Alexander SOKOUROV 
96.00 minutes


Invisible to everyone around him, a contemporary filmmaker magically finds himself in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg - back in the early 1700s! He meets a cynical French diplomat from the 19th Century and the men become accomplices in an extraordinary time-travelling journey through Russia's turbulent past - ending in the present day.
Wandering through the splendid corridors and salons of the Palace, the Marquis and the filmmaker witness astonishing scenes from the Tsarist Empire: Peter the Great thrashes his general with a whip; during rehearsals of her own play, Catherine the Great rushes around looking for a place to relieve herself; the family of the last Tsar dine together, quite oblivious to the impending revolution. And hundreds of dancers waltz at the last Great Royal Ball of 1913 - the end of an era is nigh.
As their time-voyage unfolds in a single, uncut steadicam shot, the two men engage in a passionate and amusing dispute. The Marquis clearly has a Western love-hate relationship with Russia, whereas the modern filmmaker questions his country's uneasy connection to its past and to Europe today.
It#s as if the Hermitage is the ark of the Russian soul, guarding it affectionately until the world sees better days.
Alexander SOKOUROV
Alexander SOKOUROV