Director Pavel Lungin
Cast: Petr Mamonov, Viktor Sukhorukov, Dmitry Dyuzhev, Yury Kuznetsov, Viktorya Isakova, Nina Usatova, Sergey Burunov.
2006 — best film at the Moscow Premiere festival.
2007 — Six awards at the fifth national "Golden Eagle" - "Best film", "Best male support role" (Viktor Suhorukov), "Best male role" (Petr Mamonov), "Best director" (Pavel Lungin), "Best scenario" (Dmitry Sobolev), "Best operator work" (Andrei Zhegalov).
Pavel Lungin’s new film The Island, starring Petr Mamonov as a “holy monk,” has already gained phenomenal success in Russia. It was nominated in every category for the Golden Eagle, the national award in cinematography established by Nikita Mikhalkov to rival the Nika. The film opened the Kinotavr Festival of Russian Films and closed the Venice International Film Festival. It was screened during the Russian cinema week in New York. It was awarded the grand-prix and the best actor prize at the Magnificent Seven, the film program organized by the Moscow tabloid newspaper Moskovskii komsomolets. No real professional prizes yet, but I am sure they are coming.
The Island was praised by intellectuals and clergy alike. The latter fact is especially curious. NTV news service reports:
Pavel Lungin’s The Island was shown in Voronezh with no free seats [pri polnom anshlage]. The local clergy booked the entire movie theater… A day before the first show, the Metropolitan of Voronezh and Borisoglebsk gave an order to post the ad for the coming premier next to the schedule of worship in all of the city’s forty churches. The parish was surprised: never before were films advertised in churches… Father Andrei, a secretary of the eparchy comments: “The Metropolitan has watched the film and, therefore, we recommend it to the clergy and the parish.” … The show started with a prayer… Prior to the screening everybody crossed themselves… Petr Mamonov, the actor: “To me it means that our church is alive.” The clergy thanked Mamonov. By saying that “He played a monk so truthfully,” they were asking whether he knew the prayers or had learnt them specifically for the role. Mamonov: “I didn’t learn them, but I was praying in earnest. The struggle with sin is too familiar to me.”
Furthermore, the site Pravoslavie.ru published an extended review by Igor' Vinnichenko (initially posted in the internet journal of the Sretenskii monastery), in which the film is praised in the following terms:
It is impossible to miss the keen sense of piety that accompanies the entire film and for which we longed so much. We hope that now the theme of Russian Orthodox spirituality will find its dignified place in national cinematography and that matters concerning spiritual development will finally become a priority for contemplation.
To me, the very style of this authoritative blessing is reminiscent of the programmatic (ustanovochnye) articles in Pravda from the years when most of The Island is set—the 1970s. And I have no doubt, that “matters concerning spiritual development” will indeed “become a priority for contemplation.” This apparently means that films depicting Russian Orthodox saints and holy old men will be produced with the same frequency as films about devoted communists were produced back in the 1970s-1980s. In this context, the first screening of The Island in the presence of clergy, a screening orchestrated by prayers, looks like a re-make of an “all-Union premiere” of the newest propaganda film in the late Soviet Union. ...
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