A 19th century French aristocrat, notorious for his scathing memoirs about life in Russia, travels through the Russian State Hermitage Museum and encounters historical figures from the last 200+ years.
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Plotting on a payment they are about to receive, residents of a collapsing collective farm see their plans turn into desolation when they discover that Irimiás, a former co-worker who they thought was dead, is coming back to the village.
An unseen man regains consciousness, not knowing who or where he is. No one seems to be able to see him, except the mysterious man dressed in black. He eventually learns through their discussions that this man is a 19th century French aristocrat, who he coins the "European". This turn of events is unusual as the unseen man has a knowledge of the present day. The two quickly learn that they are in the Winter Palace of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the European who has a comprehensive knowledge of Russian history to his time. As the two travel through the palace and its grounds, they interact with people from various eras of Russian history, either through events that have happened at the palace or through the viewing of artifacts housed in the museum. Ultimately, the unseen man's desired journey is to move forward, with or without his European companion. Written by
This is, without a doubt, the most visually, and in some respects, emotionally, beautiful film I have ever had the privilege to see. WOW! Alexander Sokurov has proved himself one of the greatest artistic directors of the age in this enthralling journey through Russian history, society and culture. As a viewer, I was emotionally overcome by the simultaneously melancholic, frenetic and enigmatic atmosphere. The actors are fantastic all-round, the script is flawlessly coherent, the cinematography is unparalleled, and it goes without saying that the scenery is nothing short of jaw-dropping.
A powerful and moving insight into a beautiful, complex and tragically misunderstood culture.
Artistic perfection. 10/10!
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