Sokurov’s Russian Ark as Postmodern History

By Denise J. Youngblood

This experimental essay suggests an alternative reading of Aleksandr Sokurov’s 2002 film Russian Ark (Russkii kochveg). Inspired by “Against Interpretation,” Susan Sontag’s seminal 1964 challenge to conventional literary criticism, I seek to position Russian Ark in dialogue with the Marquis de Custine’s 1843 Letters from Russia, arguing that what Sokurov omits from Custine’s famous account of his 1839 travels in the empire provides important clues to understanding the film. My purpose in submitting it essay to this venue is to facilitate the discussion of non-traditional scholarly writing through ‘open peer review.’

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