Friday, 28 June 2013

35th Moscow International Film Festival Takes Off

Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF) is celebrating its 35th edition this year, taking place from June 20 to 29, with likely high-profile guests, including Brad Pitt and now-Russian citizen Gerard Depardieu.

The festival is among the oldest of its kind the world. The first edition was in 1935, with its jury headed by Sergei Eisenstein, but it did not become a fully annual event until 1995, despite increasing in regularity until then.

This year, the jury features skilled filmmakers from countries as diverse as Iran, France and South Korea, with competitors hailing from an equally impressive range of countries.

The premier of Pitt’s new film, World War Z, introduced the first day of the festival at Oktyabr Theater as it opened on Thursday.

Depardieu is expected to appear as the festival draws to a close at the screening of Rasputin, in which he plays the “Mad Monk” himself, scheduled for June 29.

There are three competitions to be held across the main body of the festival: the more general ‘film’ category, documentary film, and short film, as well as a selection of Hollywood classics being shown throughout. ...

A popular element of the festival is the “traditional Russian film program,” from June 21 to 28, during which 25 full-length films will be shown.

The Russian film program will take place in The House of Cinema (of the Filmmakers’ Union) and is an ideal opportunity to taste some homegrown Russian projects.

One of the program’s pearls is the 2013 film “Thirst,” from director Dmitry Turin. Thirst was based on a novel by Andrei Gelasimov that goes by the same name. He also wrote the script.

“The most important theme is the desire to live again,” Turin said. Turin hopes that the European spectators will see beyond the standard picture of Russia and Russians through his film.

“Russia has been shown very negatively in films that have become famous in the past few years. I would like to show Russian people as human beings,” Turin said. “I admit that we have problems, everybody in the world does, but we are good people actually, deep inside.”

The “universal story” uses all-Russian elements to present itself to the viewer:

An initially talented boy is left with nothing and joins the army. He gets caught in tank-fire in Chechnya and when he gets back home he seeks consolation in vodka.

“Our main character has all possibilities to hate the world, because he is unlucky, he is terribly unlucky. … But the moment he stops hating the world, the world stops hating him,” Gelasimov revealed proudly.

He believes viewers may even find comfort in the film.

Gelamisov’s novel is written in the first person. To visualize this transition that the main character makes, how he gets “out of his prison,” the artists used Point of View shots.

“Dmitry, as a director, shows this in the film through the character’s eyes. As the character slowly gets out of his prison, after 15 minutes, we will see the character’s face for the first time.”

The festival will also host a special program dedicated to the memory of recently deceased director Alexei Balabanov. Five of his films are to be screened, including “Brat,” his most famous. Gennady Sidorov’s adaptation of the controversial “Romance/Novel With Cocaine” — the translation of the novel’s title was deliberately ambiguous — is to be shown. It was unfinished upon the directors death in 2011.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Alexei Fedorchenko Shoots a Film Based On the Novel by Strugatsky Brothers

The Russian director Aleksei Fedorchenko ("Silent Souls", "Heaven's wives of Meadow Mari") is going to shoot a film based on the novel "The Kid" by Strugatsky brothers.

In August 2013 he will begin shooting the film "Angels and Revolution" based on the book by Dennis Osokin; Fedorchenko’s previous works have also been filmed on the works of Osokin. Fedorchenko is going to start working on the "Kids" in autumn 2014. The producer of the film will be the film company "February 29". Casting for the roles has already begun, and it will be finished next summer. Furthermore, the film script is being written.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Russian drama "The Major" was awarded the Golden Goblet at the 16th Shanghai International Film Festival

A dark tale about a Russian policeman spiraling into moral oblivion as he attempts to conceal a hit-and-run case was named Best Film, while its director Yury Bykov got the the Best Director prize as well as an Artistic Achievement Award for his score for the film, according to Hollywood Reporter.

 The 32-year-old Bykov, who is also the film's composer and leading actor, missed the awards ceremony due to work schedule, so the prizes were received by his producer, Alexey Alexeev. ...

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Kinotavr Film Festival announces winners

Director Alexander Veledinsky's The Geographer Drank Away His Globe (2013) won the Grand Prix at the Kinotavr Russian Film Festival in the Olympic city of Sochi on Sunday evening. The screen adaptation of the best-selling book of the same name by Alexei Ivanov follows the life of Viktor Sluzhkin, a teacher of geography in a secondary school in the Ural city of Perm. The comedy chronicles the stresses of his work, family and love for a student. Actor Konstantin Khabensky, who previously played a Russian spy in the British film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), took best actor for his portrayal of Sluzhkin. Made for a Russian audience, it remains to be seen whether the film will gain any platforms internationally.


Stanislav Govorukhin Does not Want to Make Films Any More

The well-known Russian director Stanislav Govorukhin, the head of the Duma Culture Committee after screening of his work Druggist in Winter Theater of Sochi on Tuesday confessed he was offended at the audience because of reaction to his movie Weekend and would probably no more shoot films.

This year Weekend became the movie opening the Kinotavr Film Festival, which kicked off in Sochi on June 2.

“The movie will not be titled this way, it is not completed yet. There were several screenings and reaction was identical every time. When I heard laughter for the first time, it astonished and even offended me. But they laughed in three different audiences in the same places” —Mr. Govorukhin said during a meeting with the audience and then pointed out that he would probably not make any more films— “the spirit somehow is not there”.

Kinotavr is taking place from June 2 to June 9 this year. 12 movies are in the main competition of the present festival.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Cannes' participants shine in Sochi film festival Kinotavr

The Russian city of Sochi is taking a break from its Olympic preparations this summer to showcase the best young Russian filmmakers at the Kinotavr Film Festival, running June 2-9. Headlining the festival, Russia’s biggest, is President Vladimir Putin’s favorite film director, the veteran Stanislav Govorukhin.

The festival’s most anticipated premieres are all from young directors, and are very much in the arthouse tradition.

Alexander Veledinsky’s The Geographer Drank His Globe Away (Geograf Globus Propil) stars Night Watch actor Konstantin Khabersky as a high-school teacher in the city of Perm, while Andrei Stempkovsky’s The Delivery Guy (Raznoshchik) tells the story of a young man who delivers pizzas while trying to pay for his father’s expensive medical treatment. Another premiere, Alexei Fedorchenko’s Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari (Nebesniye Zheny Lugovykh Mari), focuses on fantasy tales about the Mari people, a Finno-Ugric ethnic group living in Russia.

Kicking off the festival at the June 2 Opening Gala was Weekend, Govoroukhin’s homage to French auteur Louis Malle. In Malle’s 1958 French noir thriller “Ascenseur Pour L’échafaud” (Lift to the Scaffold) – itself adapted from a pulp novel of the same name by Noel Calef – an ex-paratrooper teams up with his mistress to murder her industrialist husband.

The film was instrumental in inspiring the French “New Wave”, in which Malle was a key player.

In Weekend, whose screenplay was written by Govorukhin, the stage moves to 21st century Russia, but the film retains the aesthetics of Malle’s classic, being shot in atmospheric black-and-white. 

More here.