Nov 24, 2013

Russian Ark and Hannah Arendt

Working on a Sunday.  Which is still strange to me even though it probably shouldn't be.  But, before I trudge off to work in the cold, and whilst I try and get some laundry done, I will check in here at the old fauxluxe with scattershot opinions, crazy notions, mash notes, and whathaveyous.  

Still from Russian Ark  (Русский ковчег) 2002
Very excited to be owning the film Russian Ark soon.  It should arrive at my house by Tuesday. Russian Ark is a film made by Alexander Sokurov in 2002.  It was shot entirely at the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, and is basically a review of three hundred years of Russian history, up until the point of the revolution.  The film has a cast of about two thousand people, uses three full symphony orchestras, and is ninety-nine minutes long.  Plus, it was shot in one take.  With a special digital camera that copied to a disc instead of tape.  I have yet to see Russian Ark, so as I mentioned before, I am very eager to check it out.  I will share my thoughts with you about the film later in the week.

Sticking with film, I recently saw Hannah Arendt.  I must say that I agree whole-heartedly with A.O. Scott of the NYT's assessment that the only problem with the film is that he wishes it were a mini-series instead.  Two hours honestly is not enough, and the film feels rushed and a bit cramped.  I seriously crave more of the Eichmann trial, which could have been two hours in itself, and was not dramatized but showed actual trial footage.  The film would have been perfect for a cable channel mini-series, although I am not sure it would do so well with the Nielsen ratings. Barbara Sukowa's performance as Ms Arendt is staggeringly great, with one of my favorite acting moments in years.  Sukowa is speaking on the phone with her editor at The New Yorker. The editor wants her copy about the Eichmann trial.  She is taking too long for the article she was hired to write.  And, in just a fraction of a second, in a scene where she is probably all by herself talking in to a dead phone, you can visualize Ms Arendt literally wrapping the editor around her little finger with her flirtatious charm.  I was charmed too.  The whole film is fantastic and comes extremely highly recommended by me.  It is a true chick film, as well.  It is a film about a great and important twentieth century woman, starring a woman (natch); directed by a woman (Margarethe von Trotta); written by two women (von Trotta again and Pam Katz); was shot by a woman (Caroline Champetier); edited by a woman; cast by a woman; produced by women, etc, ... Great stuff.

So, through watching Hannah Arendt, I have come to learn about Ms Sukowa, and am very interested in watching some of her earlier films, especially her work with Fassbinder.  I am also going to catch up with Ms von Trotta's career.  

Hannah Arendt

Love you all, 

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