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MAKING of RUSSIAN ARK
“Making of Russian Ark" is a documentary included in the DVD of Russian Ark (available from www.amazon.com). It is very interesting to see how they shot this film in a single take. Although they don't clearly mention it, it seems that all voices and sounds were created afterwards, as I don't see any sound crew, and as the director is constantly speaking to actors during the entire shot.

 

The producer explains that it took 4 years of preparations (and lots of money).

 

On 12/23/2001, the film had to be shot within 36 hours, while the museum was closed to the public.

 

The staff is preparing the set.

 

 

10 buses were used to transport the extras.

All the extras had to wait for a single shot.

 

The Russian extras are playing chess while waiting for the shot.

This is cute. An actress is sleeping. No one is allowed to take off the costume.

 

 

They are doing some rehearsals.

What Buttner explains here is interesting. Actually they shot four times in total. After three tries, the batteries were dying, so they had to get it done on the fourth time.

 

Actor who played Peter the Great.

Catherine the Great.

 

 

The guy on the left is the poet Pushkin.

 

Their plan.

 

The camera guy had to carry it for 90 minutes. I was surprised to hear that they didn't use two people. He almost gave up doing it during the shot.

 

 

 

 

Compare the two scenes. The top one was after digital enhancement.

 

 

Compare two scenes. The top one was after digital enhancement.

 

After the outside show scene at minus 30 degrees, there was risk of the camera lens getting steamed up inside. Fortunately it didn't happen.

 

 

There were fifty make up artists.

 

 

 

This china set was real Catherine the Great's precious china.

 

A guy in the center is the actual director of the Hermitage Museum . The other two guys are previous directors, one of whom was a father of current director.

 

 

 

This is when he said "cut" Actually, he looks very grim and unsatisfied. I am sure he wanted to do it all over again if he could afford to do it.

 

Standing ovations. It's funny to see the contrast. All the extras and staff look excited, and are congratulating the director, while he looks dissatisfied.

 

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