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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

(aka "Russian Ark" or "Russian Ark - Eine einzigartige Zeitreise durch die Eremitage" or "Russkij kovcheg")

 

directed by Aleksandr Sokurov
Russian 2002

A visually hypnotizing cinematic feat, Russian Ark is Alexsandr Sokurov's spellbinding ode to St.Petersburg's State Hermitage Museum in Russia. Shot in one fluid 90 minute take using High Definition video cameras, the photography floats and careens through the lavish corridors of the museum, examining its architectural details while following a dreamlike plot. A cast of 867 actors, thousands of extras and three live orchestras supply the action of the film. Through the sheer determination of the director, or possibly a miracle, the first-ever single screen, single-take full-length feature was created.

 

From an interview with Alexander Sokurov
I’m no theoretician, I’m a practical director. I have never had any desire to uncover anything new. This idea of the long, unbroken shot has existed for years. I never do anything new...I am interested only in classical form and content. In the professional world, much of the art has been utterly forgotten and therefore my conduct is sometimes seen as radical, but it’s simply that I remember a lot... the very fact of art itself is unshakeable; art was perfected long ago. Here, shooting in a single take is an achievement in formal terms, but more than that it is a tool with the aid of which a specific artistic task can be resolved. It’s just a tool.

Posters

Theatrical Release: 22 May 2002 (Cannes Film Festival)

Reviews                              More Reviews                                DVD Reviews                                  Official Website

Comparison:

Artificial Eye Region 2- PAL vs. Pyramid Home Video - Region 5 - PAL vs. Wellspring - Region 1 - NTSC vs Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Mikkel Svendstrup of DVDsnak for the AE captures and Andrey Dimont for the Region 5 - PAL DVD captures!

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2- PAL LEFT

2) Pyramid Home Video - Region 5 - PAL - SECOND

3) Wellspring - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Kino / Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 Box Covers

 

Distribution

Artificial Eye Film Co.

Region 2  - PAL

Pyramid Home Video

Region 5  - PAL

Wellspring
Region 1 - NTSC
Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -Blu-ray
Runtime 1:35:09 (4% PAL speedup) 1:35:09 (4% PAL speedup) 1:39:06 1:39:38.429
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.1 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.71 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.74
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,457,544,433 bytes

Feature:30,673,918,656 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.87 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Artificial Eye

 

Bitrate:

Pyramid

 

Bitrate:

Wellspring

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

 

Audio Russian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo) Russian (Dolby Digital 5.1)

Russian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Russian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)

LPCM Audio Russian 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English and none NONE English, French and none English and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye Film Co.

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:

 

• Making of documentary
• Hubert Robert A Fortunate Life  - Documentary film by Alexander Sokurov
 • Filmographies and biographies
 • Theatrical Trailer
 • Production Notes
 • Weblinks


DVD Release Date: September 29th, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 14

Release Information:
Studio: Pyramid Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Main title - 1.35.12 (as reported by powerdvd)

Interview - 0.03.18
"One Take Movie" documentary - 0.27.15

Trailer (Russian) - 0.0.15

Trailer (US) - 0.02.12

Making of Russian Ark - 0.06.53

There is a 4-page booklet


DVD Release Date: Unknown
Super Jewel Case

Chapters 25

Release Information:
Studio: Wellspring Media, Inc.

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by producer Jens Meurer
• Non-anamorphic widescreen theatrical trailer (2:17)
• In Russian with English subtitles
• In One Breath - Making-of (43:24)
• Mon Paradis interviews (47:31)

• Interviews (6:07)
• Widescreen anamorphic format

DVD Release Date: September 9, 2003
Keep Case
Chapters: 28

Release Information:
Studio:
Kino Lorber
 

1.78:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,457,544,433 bytes

Feature:30,673,918,656 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.87 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
In One Breath (43:31)
• Trailer (1:45)

Blu-ray Release Date: November 19th, 2013
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (November 2013): Intrepid investigator Leonard had concerns that Amazon was, initially, listing a PAL running time for the Blu-ray and questioned Kino. We can now see that, indeed, is the proper theatrical - NTSC - running time. Thank goodness.

This looks quite good in 1080P. Yes. We can se many improvements from the past SD treatments. It brightens, tightens and colors get bolder. Detail and contrast get a large notch and this is reflected in the kinetic camera movement. The HD-camera is a shade evident but less of a detriment than it was on SD. You can see by the comparative captures how superior the new Blu-ray visuals are. It's funny that the noise, in the second capture, resembles grain textures - perhaps this is from the printed 35 format. There is no a lot of depth but i suspect this was a function of the production rather than a flaw of the transfer.

Audio gets a lossless transfer but no 5.1 surround is offered - only 2.0 channel. The linear PCM sounds accurate exporting the various cavernous room echoes of the narration. The Mikhail Glinka pieces sound super as does the Telemann, Purcell and Tchaikovsky. You get a real sense of atmosphere, and depth, with the LPCM. The dialogue is in, original, Russian with optional English subtitles. We should not the title screen is now in English where I believe it was in Russian for the DVDs. This Blu-ray is coded or region 'A'.

Kino Lorber include Knut Elstermann's In One Breath: Alexander Sokurov's Russian Ark made in 2003 taking to members of the cast and crew of the major film. It is in original English, German and Russian with English subtitles. There is also a trailer. Both it and the documentary are in 1080i resolution. It's a shame they could include the commentary on the WellsSpring or produce a new one.

I really enjoyed this meditative historical-recreation meandering through the Hermitage Museum. The single-take is a feat and hard not to be impressed by the co-ordination. This is something I can watch anytime as an alternative. It is measured, deeply interesting and wonderful to simply be exposed to some of this culture, Russia's past and present, that I feel largely ignorant about - it's a huge bonus. I like the Blu-ray - the best way to see it in your home theatre.

***

ADDITION (January 2004 ) - Artificial Eye - Region 2-PAL - The Pyramid release still seems slightly superior in terms of image quality but it is almost negligible. The Artificial Eye only has the 2.0 audio track and looks slightly cropped in spots but possibly it is the inaccuracy of our frame captures (they were hard to be exact as it is such a dark transfer). Colors again look the same in all three releases. Their Extras are good, and include "A Fortunate Life" by Sokurov. I doubt I would change if I had the Artificial Eye - especially if I don't understand Russian. But people who own the Wellspring may want "A Fortunate Life" enough to own both. Unfortunately this is looking about as good as this film will get on DVD. Shame.

The colors of these two anamorphic issues are virtually identical, which is a positive sign. The Wellspring image is les sharp and very slightly cropped in comparison to the Pyramid Region 5 version. The Extras are in favor of the Wellspring which really went to town with some long shorts ('Making of' and 'interviews'). The big issue is that the Pyramid version does not have English subtitles, so it can easily be dismissed by most people ( as they don't speak Russian), but its nice to compare the two to see that the colors and aspect ratio have been maintained.

 - Gary W. Tooze


Menus

(Artificial Eye - Region 2- PAL LEFT vs. Pyramid Home Video - Region 5 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Wellspring - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

Kino / Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample - Kino / Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Pyramid Home Video - Region 5 - PAL - SECOND

3) Wellspring - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Kino / Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Artificial Eye - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Pyramid Home Video - Region 5 - PAL - SECOND

3) Wellspring - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Kino / Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Pyramid Home Video - Region 5 - PAL - SECOND

3) Wellspring - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Kino / Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Pyramid Home Video - Region 5 - PAL - SECOND

3) Wellspring - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Kino / Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Pyramid Home Video - Region 5 - PAL - SECOND

3) Wellspring - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Kino / Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


 Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Wellspring / Artificial Eye
 Box Covers

 

Distribution

Artificial Eye Film Co.

Region 2  - PAL

Pyramid Home Video

Region 5  - PAL

Wellspring
Region 1 - NTSC
Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -Blu-ray



 

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Gary Tooze

Thank You!