Tuesday, 7 January 2014
Sergei Taramaev, Liubov Lvova: Winter Journey - Зимний путь (2013)
Director: Sergei Taramaev, Liubov Lvova
Cast: Aleksei Frandetti, Evgeny Tkachuk, Vladimir Mishukov, Dmitry Mukhamadeev, Andrei Tsymbalov, Aleksandr Alekseevsky, Igor Voinorovsky, Valery Tkachuk, Sergei Dorofeev, Natalya Pavlenkova
Special Jury Prize for Best Acting to Evgeny Tkachuk at Window to Europe Film Festival, 2013
Guild of Film Critics Prize at Window to Europe Film Festival, 2013
Kinoclub Jury Prize at 11th 'Moscow Premiere' Film Festival, 2013
"London Lion" Award at the Russian cinema festival in London,2013
The film "Winter Journey" is a tragic love story between two men: a conservatory student Eric (played by Alexey Frandetti) and the homeless Alexey (played Evgeniy Tkachuk). The motion picture was a director’s debut from the family of Sergei Taramaev and Lubov Lvova.
Lvova and Taramaev's film is an idiosyncratic love story between gay classical singer Erik (Aleksei Frandetti) and a homeless, deeply homophobic and terrifyingly psychotic criminal, Lyokha (Evgeny Tkachuk). Erik is preparing to sing an excerpt from Schubert's Winterreise for an important audition, whilst Lyokha is trying to hide from the law and survive on the inhospitable winter streets of Moscow. The pair's paths cross during an inauspicious bus journey; Erik is quietly listening to music as Lyokha instigates a fight. The following scuffle sees the pair leave with an item of each other's, eventually reuniting them and beginning a complex, animated relationship. They kiss briefly, but it's already a landmark moment.
The audacious approach of both Lvova and Taramaev deserves commendation, but it's their roles as former actors that bestows the film with its strongest asset. The performances of both Frandetti and Tkachuk in the leading roles clearly benefited from directors who understand the art of acting, with Tkachuk (clearly channelling the anarchic spirit of Johnny Rotten) deservedly winning the best actor award at the Window to Europe Film Festival for his raw and uncompromising performance. Further enhanced by the sublime cinematography of Andrei Zvyagintsev regular Michael Krichman, Winter Path combines the snow-capped beauty of Moscow's streets, with the grandeur of its ornate buildings and the seedy underbelly of lurid clubs that lurks below the surface, to fashion an evocative portrait of the class disparity and social alienation in contemporary Russia.