The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia is purely a place of beauty. Its many hallways and rooms are exquisite, and it is home to many of the world's most interesting artistic masterpieces.

In Russian Ark , a 2002 film directed by Aleksandr Sokurov, the museum is explored through the view of a scathing 19th century French diplomat. Guided through the museum in a sort of dreamlike way, the male protagonist encounters rooms full of people, many of whom are historic figures in Russian and European history, past and present.

One of the amazing things about Sokurov's movingly haunting film is the fact that, not only does it make use of 2,000 actors, but it was made using one continuous, sweeping shot. The camera just moves along fluidly for an hour and a half, and the film culminates with a spectacular ballroom scene featuring magnificent costumes and grand pageantry.

On Thursday evening, May 4 at 7 p.m., the Getty will host a special screening of Russian Ark in its Harold M. Williams Auditorium. Art critic (and KCRW host) Edward Goldman will also be on hand to introduce Sokurov's film, as well as offer his own insight on the piece.

The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Center Dr., in Los Angeles. Tickets for the screening are free, but reservations are required (call 310-440-7300) . For more information, visit