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Moscow Goes Where Cannes Dare Not Tread

by Sydney Levine
June 17, 2010 1:48 AM
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The Moscow International Film Festival has many exciting surprises in store for those lucky enough -- or formidable enough to go through the process of getting a visa -- to be going there. I count myself as both lucky and very formidable. I hear it’s difficult enough for German nationals, but DON’T EVER try to get a Russian visa in Berlin if you are a U.S. citizen!

The juiciest film in Competition is guaranteed to be Ca commence par la fin, a film that the Guardian accuses Cannes of shunning because of the possible uproar its explicit sex scenes would arouse. It may be true that in today’s atmosphere of intolerance, this film was self censured, in which case one can measure the extraordinary changes and fear in the air just since last year’s Cannes showing of Antichrist. I hope to get the chance to judge the film for myself. But if Moscow chooses to show it, I would bank on its integrity and would prejudge the film as worthy cinema.

The Festival which just announced its final list of films in Competition is also making quite a show of its historical roots while not forgetting its comtemporary importance in the international film world with its first Film Market and its Media Forum.

Also showing is the requisite first 3D film ever shown at the festival, in this case, Despicable Me accompanied by producer Chris Meledandri.

Most notable to my western eyes are the three sidebars which definitely place an emphasis on the fest’s position as The International Film Festival of Moscow, Russia. They are celebrating the Jubilee Year of the Victory (of the Allies over the Axis), with a retrospective of war films. They state, that while the idea seemed obvious…”we didn’t want to follow the easiest way and show widely known pictures, that is why we decided to make ...a retrospective of some famous war films [and] we decided to call it “Epic films about Great War”.

Also showing is a section on Chinese Cinema entitled Snippets of History comprised of “seven movies shot between 1933 and 2008, intriguing in many respects”.

And finally is the 3rd edition of Socialist Avant Guard Cinema, curated by Evgeny Margolit:

Snayper / Sniper (1931), dir. Semen Timoshenko
Prometey (1935), dir. Ivan Kavaleridze
Ya lublu / I love (1936), dir. Leonid Lukov
Lermontov (1943), dir. Albert Gendelshteyn
Puteshestvie v aprel / Journey to the April (1962), dir. Vadim Derbenyov
Deti Pamira / Children of Pamir (1963), dir. Vladimir Motyl
Cherez kladbische / Through the Graveyard (1964), dir. Viktor Turov
Kimissary / Comissars (1970), dir. Nikolai Maschenko
Liven / Hard Rain (1974), dir. Boris Yashin
Poznavaya bely svet / Getting to Know the Big Wide World (1978), dir. Kira Muratova
Vavilon XX / Babel XX (1979), dir. Ivan Mikolaychuk
Obyatie mechty / Dream Embraces (1986), dir. Firdavs Zaynutdinov

I wish I could stay a month seeing these films and seeing the incredible city of Moscow, rich in history and rich in material goods which every year show the newest faces of fashion.

On a more contemporaneous level is a showcase of New Chilean Cinema and for us industryites, there is the First Moscow International Film Market (MIFM) from the 18th to 20th June 2010.

Moscow International Film Market is targeted at International distributors and producers who aim their product at Russian and European markets. Due to its strong connections with Moscow International Film Festival, registered participants will have an opportunity to access all of the festival screenings. Participants will also have an opportunity to be a part of the MIFF Business Square, their forums and round tables.

MIFF BUSINESS SQUARE will concentrate on efforts aimed at greater co-operation between the European film industry and its counterparts in the BRIC countries, i.e., Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The MIFF BUSINESS SQUARE program will provide the following activities:
• Moscow Co-production Forum
• BRIC Countries Film Finance Forum
• Baltic Event for East
• MINI EAVE MOSCOW 2010

You can get the buyers and sellers list here.

I’ll write you more from Moscow – if they give me my visa!

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