That would be the Hermitage, one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Founded by Catherine the Great in 1764, the collection consists of nearly three million items. This astounding and revolutionary film is the first to employ no edits, as the camera - piloted by Steadicam operator extraordinaire Tilman Büttner - travels two kilometers through the complex of the museum and the Winter Palace, traversing 300 years of Russian history, observing a cast of hundreds along with thousands of extras. The point is, that this incredible institution is an ark of culture floating on a sea of turmoil and constant change.
Astounding because Mr Büttner carried 77 pounds of Steadicam and camera for about 90 minutes and traversed some 30 rooms that needed to be lit. Revolutionary because it is an entire film in a single take, but the narrative takes place over such a broad period of time. Despite these aspects, and the impressive size of the production in general, non Russians are not likely to be engaged on anything other than a visual level. Snippets of dialogue with historical characters are heard throughout, but engagement does not occur. The camera is too anxious to continue on its tour of this remarkable location.
Alexander Sokurov - dir.
Tilman Büttner - dp/Steadicam; is Steadicam op for Béla Tarr's last film The Turin Horse
primarily a Russian/German co-production