Architectural History and Theory: Orientations – Film/Sequence

The main technique:

  • A single steadicam sequence shot

Notable technique:

  • A point of view

Alexander Sokurov’s film “The Russian Arch” (2002) demonstrates that a steadicam sequence shot is ‘under-rated’ and can be used to its full potential, allowing the feel of the environment and atmosphere to reach out to its viewers.

Sokurov successfully portrayed his film as a real-time text, emphasising the connection between the viewers and the text as they both shared a relation of time. Sokurov was also able to manipulate the experience of time with the help of the environment and atmosphere that was currently in the frame. This can be seen between the scenes that were filled with figures and figure-less.

Steadicams are not common when it comes to film making, as there are advanced techniques especially for contemporary films. However, the use of steadicam allows the viewer to notice the 3-D scale of the film. This means that viewers are able to witness and experience the change in the foreground and background as the camera moves in any direction, as a experienced from a point of view.

Sequence shots are classified as under-rated as most contemporary films are made of hundreds to thousands of shoots and cuts, displaying only the perfect act for each scene. This then makes sequence shots one of the most difficult to shoot as it is not common like the other types of shots e.g. Static Shot, Pan Shot and Establishing Shot.

This video was shot by an Android phone, the HTC One (M8). Sokurov, A. has inspired the one minute film as shown below, demonstrating the continuous reel by a steadicam whilst also introducing a new atmosphere into the film. Instead of following the standard structure of film making involving colour, movement and equipment usage, the clip has demonstrated a unique way of movement when it comes to public space. Not only does it feature dim lighting with greyscale, but the relation to time is reversed, which had forced the viewers to think from another perspective.

As seen from this one minute film, it shares common techniques with Sakurov, A.’s film, “The Russian Arch” (2002) such as the use of steadicams, sequence shot, pov. There are clear differences between the two, which can be identified as the length of the film and colour. However, both films demonstrate a great use of a steadicam sequence shot and a point of view shot.


Beamers, B. & Condee, N.’s (2009), “Cinema of Alexander Sakurov”, Oxford University Press, New York.

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