The best film I watched over the holidays was Russian Ark, shown on BBC4 a few days before Christmas. I'd wanted to see this film for years – it consists of a single uncut shot moving through the Hermitage museum in St Petersburg, with the narrator following a retired diplomat through a dream or possibly an afterlife, or just the ultimate museum. It's technically breathtaking – consider the difficulty of completing such a long shot on such a scale – and weirdly mesmerising (I found it impossible to look away from the screen, and only now do I realise how much cuts between scenes give permission for the viewer to relax attention).
It's a strange, charming film. I'm glad I liked it, since it indirectly provided the conceit for one of my poems (the oldest poem in my book, in fact). Here's the trailer, which as it cuts between clips fails to reproduce the effect I've been talking about:
I am a poet and short-story writer based in North-East England. My first full collection, The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street, was published by Salt in 2009 and was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the Portico Prize for Literature. I teach creative writing at Northumbria University.