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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

90-Minute Take Of the Hermitage

ST. PETERSBURG -- Renowned director Alexander Sokurov turned his camera on the Hermitage on Sunday, shooting a film on the museum's 300-year history in a single, 90-minute take.

"It's a movie as if in one breath," Sokurov said.

The maker of cult movies about Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin and Adolf Hitler said the film, titled "The Russian Ark," was meant to be a unique "art form that combines stage play, documentary and musical moments" shot in one place at one time.

"I have a great desire to create this form," Sokurov said. "It's not a universal way of shooting, but it's so challenging."

The Russian Ark project required more than six months of rehearsals with 1,000 actors, $2.5 million in investment, and 13,000 costumes.

In the film, the main character, French aristocrat Marquis de Custine, played by Sergei Dreiden, takes spectators on a fantastic journey inside the palace from the beginning of the 18th century to modern times.