Saturday, 30 June 2012

Renata Litvinova: Rita's Last Fairy Tale - Последняя сказка Риты (2012)



Director: Renata Litvinova
Cast: Tatyana Drubich, Olga Kuzina, Renata Litvinova, Nikolay Khomeriki




Awards :
Prize Newspaper "Kommersant Weekend" Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF), Russia, 2012



The film speaks about universal themes of love, hate, and search for love. The portrait of three women represents these three states. Tanya Neubivko has never been in love but optimistically is searing for it. Her unfortunate and even dangerous encounters with strangers on dates almost got her killed. Rita is happily engaged and planning a wedding after a routine medical check-up. Nadya is a very unhappy doctor who hates her husband and finds relief in alcohol. The story takes place in a surreal hospital with the leaking roof and hollow walls and constantly smoking doctors, where Rita is destined to die ...



Friday, 29 June 2012

Can Russian cinema be fashionable again?


The Russian film industry is demanding changes at 
home in order to boost its international reputation and create demand abroad.
“Russian cinema has a dual handicap: a lack of demand from abroad and poor marketing,” said producer Yevgeny Gindilis during a round- table discussion in Moscow last month.
But Elena Romanova, the director of Fond Kino, the state body responsible for promoting Russian cinema, stressed: “We want Russian cinema to be shown to the foreign masses.”
That ambition is still a long way from being achieved. However, the fact that the film In the Fog by Sergei Loznitsa won the FIPRESCI prize from a selection of 22 films at the Cannes Film Festival at the weekend is a great promotion for Russian cinema generally. The film, which is a throwback to the era of classic Soviet cinema, will now be distributed internationally.
 Apart from In the Fog and a few rare art and experimental films such as Elena or Faust which also won prizes at major international festivals and consequently enjoyed a wider distribution, Russian films are rarely seen in foreign cinemas. They tend to be confined to small screenings at Russian cultural centres, such as Pushkin House in London.
Movies that are popular in Russia are often branded unexportable, and most art and experimental films fall under the radar of the international distributors. In an attempt to remedy this situation Fond Kino has launched several initiatives.
A Russian Cinema stand was set up at the Cinema Market on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival this month which featured the latest Russian films, such as Dukhless, an adaptation of the Pushkin novel,The Queen of Spades (Pavel Lungin’s latest film), and Baba Yaga, a Franco-Belgian-Russian co-production in 3D animation.
Another initiative, Red Square Screenings, involves inviting the main players in the international film industry to attend private screenings of Russian films in Moscow from October 15-20. The screenings will be held at GUM, the department store facing Red Square.
“Competition is very fierce, which is why we need to promote Russian cinema in an outstanding way,” said Mr Gindilis, who is helping organise the screenings.
Key figures in the Russian film industry recognise that they have a lot to do at home before they can achieve their international goals. “We need tax incentives for producers and distributors,” says Ms Romanova, adding that the Russian industry receives less favourable treatment than those of countries such as Canada or France.
More here.


Thursday, 21 June 2012

34th Moscow International Film Festival Opens Today


A still from The Horde, the main competition entry from Russia 
From 21 to 30th of June Moscow welcomes the guests of the 34th International Film Festival.

17 full-length features compete in the main competition, among them 80 Million, A Cherry on a Pomegranate, O Apostolo, and others. Russia is represented by Rita's Last Fairy Tale by Renata Litvinova and The Horde by Andrei Proshkin. Separate programs are dedicated to documentary films, shorts, and experimental features.

Out-of-competition programs include screenings of Estonian animation, 10 Decades of German Cinema, Universal Pictures Golden Collection, and others.
RIC

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Vladimir Khotinenko - Interview

Moving the action from the classics to the present



Born in a small town in the Altai mountains, Russian director Vladimir Khotinenko originally worked as an architect, but eventually he felt drawn to work describe “the architecture of the human soul.”

Khotinenko spoke with Stefania Zini of Russia Beyond the Headlines about classic authors, Russian cinema, and his mentor, actor and director Nikita Mikhailov.

Russia Beyond the Headlines: You were first educated as an architect. How did you suddenly find yourself in film?

Vladimir Khotinenko: In 1976, I graduated from the Institute of Architecture and then suddenly, as you noticed, I realized that all my illusions about architecture, which I wanted to work in, were destroyed by the Soviet reality: the dreary, gray five-story buildings, the panel 12-story “skyscrapers…”

I didn’t know what to do so I joined the army, to think and decide what to do next. I was a showpiece in the recruiting office. Everyone tried to dodge the army, especially after college, but I joined on purpose. Although then I drew, wrote stories.

After six months of service I was given leave in Sverdlovsk, where I had graduated from college. By coincidence, Nikita Mikhalkov – already known across the Soviet Union – had come there to meet with creative young people, and a friend of mine almost dragged me by force to this meeting. And we suddenly got to talking with Mikhalkov.

He left me his telephone numbers and when I finished my service and came to Moscow six months later, we got together. He was signing up students for a degree two-year course for screenwriters-directors, where, by the way, I now teach. This was the golden dream for all future filmmakers, getting into his course. I got in and then completed his workshop.

So that’s the author of my fate - Nikita Mikhalkov. Later I worked as an assistant for him on Oblomov. Without him, I have no idea how it would have all worked out.

RBTH: Your recent work is on Feodor Dostoevsky. After the mini-series Dostoevsky, you’re now working on Demons. What drew you to this author?

V.K.: You know, I wasn’t drawn. It was just fate. The TV channel Rossiya 1 proposed. I shoot it and I agreed, despite the fact that I always said I had nothing to add to the classical works.

I reread all of Dostoevsky and rediscovered him for myself. Filming of Demons should begin in the fall. Right now we’re working on the script.

RBTH: Will the action of Demons be set in its time?

V.K.: I can reveal the secret. I want to shift it a little, bring it a bit closer to now. Right now there is a trend in film: to move the action of classics from its time to the present day, since history repeats itself – especially what’s in Demons. It will be repeated and repeated: we enter and exit the same state.

Shifting the time of action is a really fashionable trend, especially in opera, where simply everything is moved to the present. I do not support updating because I think there’s no need to improve what’s already there. You just need to understand it and try to translate it into another language.

In Demons I shift the action a bit in texture to remove the kind of archaism of the environment, rather than the content. For easier comprehension, perhaps the language will be a little less archaic, but in any case I won’t move the action to the present, otherwise we’d have to completely change the language and the system of relationships. So why would you need that? You’d be better off just going and writing a new story.

RBTH: Which of your films have left you most satisfied with yourself?

V.K.: The first impression that I got what I wanted was when I shot Mirror for a Hero 25 years ago. Then it was the film Roy. Overall, everything that’s in the past—those are grown children. Now I love Dostoevsky.

RBTH: Is there a film you haven’t yet made, but would like to?

V.K.: At one time, my friend Valery Zolotukha wrote a screenplay, The Great Campaign for the Liberation of India. It’s a fictional story but done as if it really happened. The script was written a long time ago, in 1995–1996, but it’s not at all outdated. History passed on top of time. There’s a wonderful model of our country there, fantastical but real: the fantasy element helps to see it.

In general I’ve had a strange destiny unfold. I don’t have time to come up with something myself, as there are suggestions appearing. Cinema life is grim - you can dream about anything, but if you don’t have money, your dreams will remain modest dreams.

More here.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Pavel Ruminov's Kinotavr triumph

Pavel Ruminov's Kinotavr triumph



Kinotavr, one of Russia’s largest and most prestigious movie festivals, gave its top award to Pavel Ruminov’s film “I Will Be by Your Side”.

Critics described it as a socially relevant film that concerns each and everyone.

It’s is a deeply moving story of a pretty single mother and restaurant manager, who has a keen sense of humor and is adored by her friends and colleagues. One day she is diagnosed with cancer. So she makes up her mind to find a family that would agree to adopt her son. And she finds it…

For Pavel Ruminov, this was a milestone film that changed his perceptions of life and creativity. He had been in the moviemaking for 13 years by that time. “The film stemmed from my desire to create cinema in a different way, not the way I had done before,” the author says.

"I wanted to share the compassion I experienced while working on the film with other people. I suddenly realized that one needn’t put on any masks or play any games. I felt an urge to make films that establish contact with people. I was like a kid who wants his Mom and Dad to praise him, although they are no longer with him because they both died from cancer. But that’s not the reason why I chose this subject…. There’s nothing I have done more consciously in my life than this film."

Before setting to work on “I Will Be by Your Side”, Ruminov had spent much time visiting cancer patients. Later, he made a documentary that he hopes will be a psychological relief to people suffering from cancer.

Knowing she is doomed, Ruminov’s heroine retains her sense of optimism and displays astonishing moral courage. The film has no negative characters. “Why do we focus on the negative when there are so many wonderful people around? It’s a bad stereotype,” Ruminov told reporters. Accepting the main prize at Kinotavr’ awards ceremony, the author confessed that the film had restored his faith in himself as a director.

"I’ve been visiting mothers in oncology boxes, in hospitals. These women watch films, lots of films, mostly American, but also Russian. They admire beautiful women and cool guys, they love good stories. That helps them. I saw it and it was a revelation to me. It looks like the things we do really make sense."

“People need such films - all kinds of people regardless of their age, nationality or social status,” says producer Kira Saksaganskaya.

More here.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A Host of Russian Films Now Available on Web

Imagine if you had access to free, high-quality films of leading directors from the days of Charlie Chaplin to the present era on your computer. That is exactly what Russian film fans now have, as a huge archive of excellent Russian subtitled films from the days of the great film pioneer Sergei Eisenstein to the present era of popular directors such as Alexei Balabanov and Karen Shakhnazarov is now on the web.

Thanks to Mosfilm Studios and RussoTurismo, any viewer can now check out the best of Russian film. The films on offer range impressively in subject, genre and director. Viewers can watch Eisenstein's greatest films: "The Battleship Potemkin," "October," "Alexander Nevsky," and "Ivan the Terrible," as well as his first major silent film, "Strike."

The most celebrated films of Andrei Tarkovsky, the second most famous Russian film director, are also readily available. They include his wartime drama "Ivan's Childhood," "Andrei Rublev," about the life and times of the gifted Russian medieval icon painter, as well as Tarkovsky's famous sci-fi movie "Solaris," "Mirror," which the New York Times called "a somber futuristic fantasy," "Nostalgia" and his final film, "Sacrifice," which has been compared to Swedish master Ingmar Bergman.

Many of the films uploaded are based on great Russian literary works. At least three of Alexander Pushkin's works have served as a basis for films on YouTube: "Ruslan and Lyudmila," "The Tale of Tsar Saltan," and "Boris Godunov," the first two directed by Alexander Ptushko and the third by Sergei Bondarchuk.

Gogol's "Viy," "Taras Bulba" and Goncharov's 1859 novel, "Oblomov," have also been made into films, as have at least three of Dostoevsky's masterpieces uploaded by RussoTurismo: "Crime and Punishment," "The Idiot" (in 10 parts), and "The Brothers Karamazov"(in 8 parts).

From Tolstoy's works, Mosfilm has adapted "Anna Karenina" and "The Cossacks," although its "War and Peace," directed by Sergei Bondarchuk, contains no subtitles.

World War II was a horrendous yet heroic experience for Russia. About 27 million Soviet people lost their lives, about two-thirds of them being civilians. Little wonder that so many Russian films deal with the war, directly or indirectly.

Mosfilm offers such movies as "The Fall of Berlin," made under Stalin and, of course, glorifying him. The perspective on the war from Soviet authorities during the Brezhnev era can be seen in Mosfilm's "Liberation" series.

Mosfilm movies that deal with the war on a less grandiose but more personal scale include "The Cranes Are Flying"(1957) and "Ballad of a Soldier"(1959). The following directors from the mid 1920s to the 1970s are all well represented: Grigori Alexandrov, Eldar Ryazanov, Alexander Ptushko, Leonid Gaidai, Larisa Shepitko and (her husband) Elem Klimov.

Films from the last twenty years of the twentieth century are also featured, including "Moscow Doesn't Believe in Tears," which received a U.S. Academy Award as best foreign film in 1981. ... More here.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Pavel Ruminov: I’ll be around - Я буду рядом (2012)

I'll be there (2012)


Director: Pavel Ruminov
Producer: Vladimir Zelensky, Sergei Shefir, Boris Shefir, Andrei Yakovlev, Georgi Malkov, Alexei Uchitel Cast: Maria Shalaeva, Roma Zenchuk, Maria Semkina, Ivan Volkov, Alisa Khazanova

Pavel Ruminov’s I’ll be Around is this year’s winner at the prestigious Russian film festival Kinotavr. It is easy to see how it would have swayed the judges. The film is simple and moving, and has a luminescent quality about it—much of it thanks to the radiant and talented Maria Shalaeva, best known for her award-winning role in Rusalka (The Mermaid, 2007). In I’ll Be Around, Shalaeva shines as a single mother trying to find adoptive parents for her son when she realizes she is going to die.

Maria Semkina
Maria Semkina

Before he became the dark horse of Kinotavr, Ruminov had a reputation for being young, clever and cocky; some have even described him as a Russian Lars von Trier. His original art form is the music video, and he has a large body of work on Vimeo. His originality and notoriety had raised critics’ expectations but they were disappointed with Ruminov’s experimental features, like his horror flick Dead Daughters (Mertvye docheri, 2007). He has since said that he is glad that audiences had given his earlier films the thumbs down, because this turned him in a different direction as a filmmaker. With I’ll Be Around he found his style. He has probably also found a way to a larger, mainstream audience.

Pavel Ruminov’s I’ll be Around is this year’s winner at the prestigious Russian film festival Kinotavr. It is easy to see how it would have swayed the judges. The film is simple and moving, and has a luminescent quality about it—much of it thanks to the radiant and talented Maria Shalaeva, best known for her award-winning role in Rusalka (The Mermaid, 2007). In I’ll Be Around, Shalaeva shines as a single mother trying to find adoptive parents for her son when she realizes she is going to die.

Before he became the dark horse of Kinotavr, Ruminov had a reputation for being young, clever and cocky; some have even described him as a Russian Lars von Trier. His original art form is the music video, and he has a large body of work on Vimeo. His originality and notoriety had raised critics’ expectations but they were disappointed with Ruminov’s experimental features, like his horror flick Dead Daughters (Mertvye docheri, 2007). He has since said that he is glad that audiences had given his earlier films the thumbs down, because this turned him in a different direction as a filmmaker. With I’ll Be Around he found his style. He has probably also found a way to a larger, mainstream audience.


Reviewed by Irene Ulman © 2012 in KinoKultura


A movie by Pavel Ruminov I’ll be around about a terminally ill woman trying to find a foster family for her son has won the top award of the 23rd annual Kinotavr film festival, which has closed in Sochi on the Black Sea.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Vadim Dubrovitsky: Ivanov - Иванов (2010)

Ivanov (2010)

Director/Screenplay: Vadim Dubrovitsky
Director Of Photography: Vadim Semenovyh
Cast:Alekesey Serebryakov, Anna Dubrovskaya, Eduard Martsevich, Ivan Volkov, Vladimir Ilyin

Awards : Prize Cine-Club Federation of Russia, Russian program : new feature films films, Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF), Russia, 2010

 

The screen version of the play of A.P.Chekhov. The story of the Russian intellectual of the beginning of XX century, who is choking among a society full of platitude. During the writing of the play (it is known at least three editions), at first the author named it a comedy, and then – a drama. The tragicomedy genre – a boundary genre – in general is peculiar to Chekhov's dramatic art. Basing on it, Vadim Dubrovitsky and his actors make their film, using not only the well-known text, but also its early variants. The protagonist of this story – Ivanov – is the person who bears misfortunes to all who surrounds him. His presence, like the inexplicable misfortune, pulls down another's destinies. Ivanov isn’t even in peace with himself, and he can’t find harmony. You will see new well-known characters, you will be surprised that did not think of it earlier, and at last, you will be simply dumbfounded by the ending. ...

Toronto russian film festival underway in Canada

The best Russian films of the previous year are included in the programme of the Toronto Russian Film Festival (June 7th to 12th ). Besides, the Canadian filmgoers will have a chance to meet with the actors, film directors and producers - in brief, with all those who represent the modern cinema of Russia.

Although the Toronto film fest is only 3 years old, it has gained both popularity and a solid status. The Russian Ministry of Culture has offered its support to the festival this year. This year’s programme consists of 11 films. No contests will be organized and no prizes will be given. This will be simply a festival of Russian culture.

“Our audience includes mainly the Russian-speaking Canadians”, the festival’s programme director Alyona Zhukova, a scriptwriter and a writer, says. However, there are English-speaking filmgoers too.

"What is needed here is serious dramaturgy. For example, the film “Ivanov” by Vadim Dubrovitsky based on Chekhov’s play of the same name, or “Boris Godunov” by Vladimir Mirzoyev based on Alexander Pushkin’s play. And as regards the film “Zhila-byla odna baba” (“Once upon a Time There lived a Woman”), we can say that it is an epic historic drama that presents a great interest for the Canadian filmgoers."

The festival’s films have English subtitles. The only exception is made for the last work of the prominent Russian actress Lyudmila Gurchenko who died a year ago, “Pyostrye Sumerki”. Many people from the far-away districts of Toronto are expected to attend the party dedicated to Lyudmila Gurchenko that will take place at the Royal Ontario Museum. There are more than 200,000 ethnic Russians in Toronto. New names in the Russian cinema world spark a lot of interest. “Let’s take, for example young actresses Agniya Dikovskite who played the main role in “Boris Godunov” and Darya Yekamasova who played the main role in the film “Once Upon a Time There Lived a Woman”, Alyona Zhukova says, adding that the meeting with Slava Ross, the author of the film “Siberia Mon Amour” is expected to trigger a similar interest, and the theatre will be packed to capacity.

More here.

Monday, 4 June 2012

‘In the Fog’ best film at Tarkovsky festival

‘In the Fog’ by Russian director Sergei Loznitsa has been named the best picture of this year’s Tarkovsky film festival which has closed in Plios on the Upper Volga River. The prize to the best movie is a statuette and 900,000 roubles.

In May, the same film won the FIPRESCI film critics award at Cannes.

Set in wartime, it tells the tragic story of a Belarusian rail worker who is mistakenly suspected by Resistance fighters of collaborating with the Nazis.

The best director in Plios is Brazil’s Eduardo Ninos.

A movie by Russian-American director Julia Loktev won a special award for exploring the paradoxical sides of human nature.
VoR

Friday, 1 June 2012

Russia's Kinotavr Festival to Kick Off on Sunday

On Sunday, Kinotavr, Russia’s main national film festival, will kick off in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi.

The feature competition includes 16 films, most of which were made by established directors -- unlike last year’s edition, which had a high proportion of feature debuts. Some of the movies in the competition had their premieres at major international festivals earlier this year. Alexei Mizgiryov’s Konvoy (Convoy) participated in the Panorama program of this year’s Berlinale. The movie, which was produced by high-profile Russian director Pavel Lungin, focuses on two young people who arrive in the morning at one of Moscow’s train stations and spend a day together there.

Kokokoby, directed by Avdotya Smirnova, who won Kinotavr’s best debut prize for Svyaz (Affair) six years ago, has the tagline "an eternal comedy of Russian life." The movie explores the lives of two women who become unlikely friends -- a resident of St. Petersburg and a provincial girl who comes to the city on a short visit.

Zhit (Living) by playwright-turned-director Vasili Sigarev, had its world premiere at Rotterdam International Film Festival last January.

The other highlights of the main competition are Ya Budu Ryadom (I’ll Be By You) by Pavel Ruminov, Iskupleniye (Atonement) by veteran director Alexander Proshkin and Svetlana Baskova’s Za Marksa… (For Marx…).

Boris Khlebnikov’s Poka Noch Ne Razluchit (Until Night Do Them Part) will be the opening night’s movie, and Renat Davletyarov’s Stalnaya Babochka (Steel Butterfly) will be screened as the festival’s closing night film.

Kinotavr’s industry part will feature several roundtable discussions, including "Cinema Fund in a Dialog," sponsored for the federal fund for social and economic support to the domestic film industry, and pitching sessions for producers. ...