We live in exciting times. Technology is moving information around the earth at a speed we never could have imagined. These developments have affected the film and photography industries, with the size of equipment shrinking in size and increasing in quality. Computer graphics have changed the way films are made. These technologies even find their way into the pockets of the common man on the street. Just think how many of us carry around smart phones with 16 mega pixel sensors and the ability to film 4k video. How many of us even have 4k tv's?
Is all of this technology, though, helping us to make better movies? Not always. Yes, the action scenes and CG are fantastic. But in a way, it feels like we are missing the human craft. In what way? Films are so often made with short clips that move fast. Actors can retake scenes until everything is just the way the director envisions. For this reason, many actors prefer the live stage, where the art of the craft can be seen in fluid motion.
Through the years, though, there have been standout directors. One of them that often comes to mind first is Alfred Hitchcock. Yes, he was a master of suspense. But he was also masterful is creating immersive scenes that could last several minutes in one clip. That was not just movie making, it was art.
Following that tradition is the work of Alexander Sokurov. In 2002 he created the film entitled Russian Ark, in which he walks us through the pages of Russian history in the Hermitage. When I started watching it, I kept watching for the first cut away.... and it didn't happen. And I kept waiting, and it still didn't happen. This 90 minute film was made with the participation of over 2000 actors and was filmed without one cut of the camera. One scene. That's it. Wow. You can watch the film on Youtube with English subtitles here:
After you get done with this, check out the documentary on the making of this film entitled "In one breath". When you see this kind of work, all I can this is; Hitchcock would be proud. Bravo.