Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Piece of Pi
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Hey everybody, don't forget to remember that today (3/14) is Pi Day! It may not be quite as fun as Talk Like a Pirate Day, but if you drink enough, it very well may be... Avast, you scurvy pi dogs and prepare to be boarded!

And in other news...

We recently watched Russian Ark, a movie set in The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. The movie itself takes one on a tour almost from a first-person point of view through various galleries, but also through time. At the start you join a number of ball attendees in elegant gowns, military uniforms, and other period high-culture dress.

Along the way you progress to 21st-Century museum vistors, then end up back at a grand stately ball attended by hundreds and hundres of people in the fanciest dress you've ever seen. There's kind of a strange dialogue/commentary along the way, and if you're used to modern movies, you find something nagging at you about the whole presentation.

Then (if you didn't know it from the start, or from reading this journal entry :-) you realize what's "wrong" with the movie: there are no cuts. That's right. We have a 90-minute movies done in ONE take. There's no editing – the camera just goes and goes and goes. The view point never switches. There's only one perspective the whole time. It's strange, and a technical masterwork from that angle.

According to the making-of featurette, they pulled it off on their fourth and final try on their sole day of shooting access to the museum. With all the costumes made specifically for this movie, they took a huge gamble and pulled it off. It's worth renting just for the ball scenes.

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