After Berlinale award, Sokurov presents ‘Russian Ark’ in Athens

As many of Hollywood’s stars flocked to this year’s Berlin Film Festival, stealing the limelight, few paid attention when on Monday Aleksandr Sokurov was awarded the Andrzej Wajda-Philip Morris Freedom Prize (a prize established by the America Cinema Foundation and awarded annually to a promising filmmaker from Central or Eastern Europe), especially as the Russian director was unable to attend the ceremony due to illness. Here in Greece, the Russian Embassy and the Thessaloniki Film Festival have arranged a premiere screening of Sokurov’s new film, «Russian Ark,» on Sunday at noon at the Attikon Filmcenter in central Athens. They have also invited the director and the line producer to attend, with the latter being expected to bring a few of the elaborate costumes used in the film and 13 photographs taken on set which will be put on display in the cinema’s foyer. «Russian Ark» was nominated for a Golden Palm at last year’s Cannes film festival, and has made an impression on international critics with its innovative cinematography, executed by the director of photography of «Run Lola, Run,» Tilman Buttner. «Russian Ark» is the first movie to be filmed in a single, 87-minute, uninterrupted shot. It leads the audience through a tour of 300 years of Russian history and culture through the Hermitage Museum led by an 18th-century French diplomat. For the purposes of «Russian Ark,» Sokurov employed 867 actors, over 1,000 extras and three symphonic orchestras, as well as countless costumes and wigs.