The narrator, a ghost, is wandering through the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. He is able to talk to another 'European', who too is wandering around. They stroll through the different rooms and areas in the Palace, each region depicting different ages in Russian history, not in any chronological order. They are able to recognise some persons and interact with at some point, but often people do not notice them at all.
I did not really enjoy watching this movie for few reasons, its pace and my lack of knowledge in Russian history.
However, I would strongly say this is a unique idea for a movie. Here is a ghost, who can be the director himself with his camera man, being escorted by another ghost, who seems to have been to this region when he was alive, wandering through a great palace, describing the various artefacts and people they see enroute. They witness few scenes, which are actually recreated from the true history of Russia. I really enoyed some music during this stroll, and also the grand costumes of the people who came through from various eras. And finally there is a magnificient ball scene. There is a kind of grandness in many scenes, but finally without any knowledge of the history, I just couldnt enjoy it.
But I understand that the whole movie was taken on a single shot, yes a single shot, and I can only say, unbeleivable. That requires a great camera man and his lighting team, an out of the world choreographer and group of artists inlcuding actors, musicians and costume designers and finally a brilliant director. Even if I didnt understand the happenings, I do understand the idea behind, especially the effort required and I can only say , brilliant.
I salute the director, Sokurov and the whole team for this great effort.