Released December 13, 2002
Told in one fluid shot, a tale, which floats like a dreamlike journey through the spaces of the majestic Hermitage in St. Petersburg, engaging real and imagined characters from Russian and European history. The nameless protagonist, a 19th-century French diplomat, guides the audience through a lost, sumptuous dream--meant to be considered and experienced as the Enlightenment period. The film-staged among some of the masterpieces of the Western Art tradition--climaxes in a pageant of color, motion, and music. For Sokurov, the Hermitage--home to generations of Romonovs and repository of so much Russian history--is the ark of the Russian soul, guarding it affectionately until the world sees better days."