Festivals 28-06-2011

Dir. Gaziz Nasyrov

Certain year of the 2000s. A journalist of some big paper, Tamerlan finds himself tied to a battery in some basement premise, after he was taken and kept hostage by mysterious group of men in black masks with eye holes. Tamerlan is instinctively preparing himself to lie about anything that he can be asked about. He tries to recall of the biased articles he has written recently, but can’t remember anything that could possible lead to this situation. Meanwhile, his capturers come to him and, using knocks and pastes, motivate him to make a virtual trip in time, going back to the eve of 2000 – the days, when Tamerlan and four other students of the philosophy department have just graduated and have been thinking what to next with their lives.

Two of these characters decide to move forward (one, focusing on his career, and the other – on his family), the only girl in the company also makes an ultimate decision – but in another direction – and commits suicide. And there are only Tamerlan and Kostya Paniotis who literally get stuck at some point of time and space. Having stayed in students’ dormitory, empty at summer days, they decide to rent a free room by the hour. Their clients, who altogether symbolize the sum of all human misfortunes and loneliness, are often paying with valuable effects, which young philosophers call “adequations of time”. Time here is really the protagonist of the film, that submits the whole aesthetics of it – starting from specific, slate-grey colors of the film and ending with the voice-over, which – in a style of Julio Cortázar – is read from the second person and in future tense. Time is also the general theme of young philosophers’ conversations (in one episode Kostya manages to explain the theory of the forth dimension while getting drunk with his friend). And they are philosophers for a reason, which is to show their double revery: not only they represent the generation lost between two epochs, between the past and the present of the country, but they are also graduated in such rare and unfortunate specialty, which never occurs to be profession – only the state of mind. And non-linear structure of the film finally builds up to be universal model of human memory that always functions like that – with random pieces of memories suddenly coming up in mind. And all of the film’s “magical realism”, that subtly suggests that student dormitory can symbolize a kind of a limbo, turns out be quite natural in the system given. All of the important events have already taken place in the past. Time is ruthlessly sweeping away everything that stands in its way, and a person can sometimes find himself at the point of crossing of two time lines. In Stephen King’s novel creates called Langoliers came in such cases, literally swallowing yesterday away; it is not a hard job to believe that sometimes this function can be easily performed by a few man in black masks.

Olga Artemieva

Dir. Lucio Pellegrini

To the traditionally disturbing sounds of tango performed in an intentionally carefree way (bravo the composer Gabriele Roberto!) the white introductory titles speed away along the white separator (hello, Almodovar and the final titles in “Kika”) alternately chasing two vehicles. The cool shining auto with sleek doctor Mario Tirelli at the wheel (Pier Francesco Favino) moves along the streets of Rome. The doctor has a leather attache-case. The coughing motorcycle of doctor Luca (Stefano Accorsi) travels along African roads. The greasy doctor has a UNISEF bag over his shoulder. The doctors are around 40 years old. Once they were fellow students, courted one and the same girl, but the girl chose the one that seemed more promising and 12 years ago they went their separate ways. Now in his own flat even when he is most high-strung, he can’t smoke a good cigar without being nagged – the girl has grown into a vegetarian bent on cleanliness and a healthy way of life. Doctor Luca smokes whenever he pleases, almost in the presence of women in labor. Doctor Mario packs a fur hat and gloves into his suitcase and flies to the African village to meet doctor Luca. Some time later the local plane will bring their common fastidious acquaintance to the same backwater. As the laws of comedy demand, pretty soon the fstidious girl will eat a stake prepared from the meat of the cow, which her friends slaughtered virtually before her very eyes; under the blazing sun the disheveled, dead drunk doctor Mario will curse his entire life, in savory and melodious Italian interspersing his speech with hilarious “testa di homosecco”, while the most aloof and wild Negro boy, perched on his knee, will sympathetically examine him with a stethoscope.
It is a comedy which can be compared to “L'africain” by Philippe de Broca, still the warmly remembered by the viewers of the mid-80s movie.

Essentially the same conflict, the same goofy African texture spanning from side to side of the wide screen, the same rickety planes, the flights and landings of which are accomplished to superb film music (in general in “La vita facile” the music is used very thoughtfully and to the point). Most certainly none of the present-day European actors in their early forties, no matter how talented they are, could boast of the same legendary film reputation as Deneuve and Noiret at the time of “L'africain”. The cinema is different and the times are different. Nevertheless Favino exudes the 220 volts of the charm of the robust and somewhat lost Italian male and mother’s boy simultaneously. Accorsi, who shared the screen time with him in such hits of the Apennines of the new age as “The last Kiss” and “Romanzo criminale” is cast against type to say the least. Some three or four insanely funny episodes do not overshadow the general lyrical intonation, although the adventurist overtones found in the new movie as well, have a very different function.

Should someone ask the question what is such a comedy, light as the life mentioned in the title, doing in the competition of the A-class international film festival, the answer will be simple: its recipe has long been lost while its significance has grown. Just think of it: what do they show on TV more often - “L'africain” or “The Legend of Narayama” which won the Palme d’Or the same year? And there will be no more questions.
Besides the Moscow Festival of the Soviet epoch did not treat comedies condescendingly. While the West indulged in now partially forgotten and far less relevant “waves”, it awarded prizes to “Serafino” (Italy) and “Mimino” (USSR), “Le Corniaud” (France) and “The Great Race” (USA), «Operazione San Gennaro» (Italy) and «Das Spukschlob Im Spessart» (FRG) which are still familiar even to schoolchildren. But this is a theme for a special discussion.

Alexey Vasiliev

Dir. Alberto Morais

The film by the Catalonian Morais is preceded by an epigraph of the legendary photographer Robert Capa. It is taken from his impressions of the inhuman conditions the prisoners of the French concentration camp of Argelès-sur-mer suffered in March 1939. For a non-Spanish viewer, who is nonetheless interested in the newest history of Western Europe, the situation becomes sufficiently clear to understand the message of the film and enjoy it fully, but it is still worthwhile to explain what sort of camp it was. After General Franco’s victory in the Civil War tens of thousands of Catalonian Republicans streamed in columns towards the French border, moving at night. They risked being air bombed and when they reached the border they were not welcome there. When they had been disinfected for fear of lice, painstakingly searched and studied by the local gendarmerie, they were sent to a refugee camp on the Mediterranean coast, where most barracks did not have even plank-beds, but had unsanitary conditions. Hunger was aggravated by the discontent of the locals about the refugees eating their food. The arrival of the fascists in France further complicated the situation. On the other hand, many heroes who defended democracy with arms, as well as women and children perished from starvation and epidemics long before the Germans came.

Now that you have a clear understanding of the aim, you can set out on the journey to that very Argelès in an old car with a lost 80-year-old protagonist from Valencia. It is a journey where at first you feel bored of everything from the peeling bridges and impersonal agglomerations of new houses to the news over the car radio. But once you buy a “Lucky Strike” pack in a café at the gas station, tear away the filter, inhale and spit the tobacco like you did back in those days when these cigarettes were given out as part of the army rations, everything changes. You turn the dial of the radio and hear nice guitar music and you can find road companions to share a glass and shy gestures of attention.

The movie is shot exclusively with a static camera, sometimes through the windshield or suburban train window when the protagonist is going somewhere. There are only 5 or 6 panoramas, signaling the transition to a different state, when old Miguel sees old detachments and columns on the intact portions of the road and once when he wakes up and enters the club where his newly found musician friends are rehearsing their evening concert. Thanks to this device about twenty minutes into the movie the images start chasing each other like real waves. Several of them, as is usually the case, are stronger and more persistent than others. They push us from the outer world into the inner universe and back. The movie can cause motion sickness but towards the finale everything falls into place and becomes a sort of meditation on the same theme which is discussed in Kazuo Ishiguro’s “An Artist of the Floating World”. It is good that the location of the former concentration camp is now occupied by various bars and in the closing shot Miguel, smoking his “Lucky Strike” on a bench, wishes happiness to the inhabitants of the newly built houses and office workers who grew up in places of his pre-war youth just like the old artist did in the novel. The only difference is that instead of the June sun shining in the novel, behind Miguel’s back there is a worker from the café sweeping away fallen leaves.

Soviet viewers will find Miguel’s aim doubly justified when they recognize Marthe Villalonga, one of the favorite comedy actresses, the mother of Coluche in “Banzai”, in the lady for whose sake the journey was undertaken. Although the world is floating and life is but short, there she is (at least in long shots) just as before sipping the good old pastis in her eternal costume of the provincial sitting duck of the 1950s.

Alexey Vasiliev

Dir. Charlotte Silvera

In 2008 after a prolonged interval French cinema won back the Palme d’Or in Cannes with the movie “Klass”. The event was followed by an avalanche of movies about discontent at school, which – just to be objective – reflected the real importance of the problems in French education. Last year Isabelle Adjani got a “Cesar” for “La journée de la jupe” where she defended herself with Moliere and Racine against a whole class of partially armed with the guns of the multicolored ignoramuses tribe. In contrast to the above mentioned movies, in “Escalade” a more exquisite group of schoolchildren will ring the doorbell of Alice Naba (played by Karmen Maura) on the day of her birthday. Their parents are fathers of the city, just one call from them is sufficient to save the life of the teacher’s mother who urgently needs a kidney transplant. In return they want answers to the forthcoming final tests. Their reasoning is rational, each has selected a path in life where he won’t need this or that subject. Their examples will put to shame Adjani’s teacher: “De Gaulle was unable to put two and two together, Kafka would have become Kafka even without mathematics”. They have at their disposal the latest gadgets, the super-phones which will let them, in case of a refusal – which they get, – instantly simulate an orgy with the participation of the teacher and circulate it over the Internet.

If to the Russian viewer it sounds familiar, he is right: we are dealing with a foreign interpretation of Lyudmila Razumovskaya’s play “Dear Elena Sergeevna”. The screen version by Eldar Ryazanov appeared at the height of Perestroika. It was rough and inappropriate (a disappointing miscalculation by our favorite director) like a dressing-down of pupils at a komsomol meeting for going to watch “Kabaret” instead of sitting at a lesson and aroused an uproar in the newspaper “Ucnitelskaya gazeta”. At the same time the debut work of the director of “Escalade” Charlotte Silvera called “Louise... l'insoumise” was released in our theatres. It remined almost unnoticed, but was full of compassion for the schoolchildren. Very well, mademoiselle Silvera and her schoolchildren have grown up and noticed that a new generation has succeeded them and it is full of shit. With all their gadgets they are shallow, have no life experience, have not lived through the dramas of life which provide the key to survival. In this sense it seems interesting to compare “Escalade” to the recent “Scream 4” which contains similar observations about the generation gap.

In the beginning of “Escalade” Karmen Maura dressed in a wrap-over dress (which, as Elisabeth Taylor used to say, beautifies the woman of any age and built) opens a bottle of port wine with a savoury “pop” to pour herself a morning glass and we immediately understand that unlike Razumovskaya’s play, the battle will not be fought against the background of the teacher mumbling about the classics and morality. With the inimitable possessed expression with which Maura added sleeping pills to gazpacho in “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”, the teacher stuffs mineral water with laxatives and emetics. Now one of the pupils can no longer leave the toilet and in the doorway he sees that the woman, who only a minute ago was unable to get up because of the leg trauma, is sneaking in the darkness with a knife. Her tormentors realize that with their idiotic phones they were unlucky enough to find themselves in the wrong cinema. The old cinema. With which the new cinema can never compare, in no epoch, ever. And their teacher is an actress from Almodovar’s movies of the time when he was still bursting with energy and could defend his eternally drunken characters with a leather lash.

Alexey Vasiliev

Dir. Ivan Vladimirov, Valeri Yordanov

Six people escape from Sofia. Their flight is depicted humorously, dashingly and briefly: for example, the camera is watching trough the shop window how the 50-year-old drunkard slaps his woman across the face. The next moment a girl in working clothes runs into the café, he pushes her outside, but she immediately reappears to pour his beer on his head. Almost a silent comedy. Running their separate ways they utter lines of dialogue from which we learn unbearably tragic stories which were wisely left out by the authors so as not to insult the film medium with their prints. One of them was writing a script and meticulously repaired furniture in his rented flat. The landlady knew about his plight and constantly raised the rent so that he was forced to take more and more orders which seriously interfered with his script. Another was speeding to the village to see his father and almost bumped into his coffin. The third one, still very young, started out as a successful boxer, but earned five haematomas in his head which now cause him to lose his temper at the wrong moment and beat up policemen whom his drunken mind mistakes for hoodlums.

All together they will end up on the sea shore. Here the compulsive race of the stories stops, giving way to a different rhythm. Jackets and working clothes are shed. Their bodies suddenly become agile and their arms which were created to embrace someone, are open to the sun and the sea, the honest eyes and the lips hungry for a kiss are open to the camera which one of them is carrying and with which they share their intimacies. Their stories are strikingly different from those we heard in the beginning like the ones about the greedy landlady, alcoholic mother and wanderings about Sofia night clubs. “I am going back to the village and I am taking my brother with me. If need be, I’ll cut this city from his brain with a chainsaw”, says one of them. “In the East when a warrior dies, they say he went West. I’ll head the other way. I’ll shine on you from the East. With no fear and shame. Free and proud”, - promises the other. “What do I hate? People. No, not that. I hate the people, who force me to be ashamed of myself” - muses the third, drawing deeply on his cigarette and looking straight into the camera.

I heard one Indian astrologist say: “The unhappy man is the one who is out of his mind”. “Sneakers” is a movie about six people who have broken loose from someone else’s mind and are beginning to live by their own brains. What turns this film into a masterpiece – ad this is undoubtedly the long awaited masterpiece – is the acting among other things. Six impeccable acting accomplishments: from the ones by acknowledged stars like the sad clown Ivan Barnev (“I Served the King of England”) who is booked for years ahead in Bulgaria and “Sneakers” co-director Valeri Yordanov (“Stolen Eyes”, “Crayfish”) to the debutant Ivo Arykov whose work in Javor Gardev’s theatrical production of “The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?” was blessed by the author himself – Edward Albee – just like Tennessee Williams once blessed the young Pierce Brosnan. The comparison is justified. The guy is incredibly handsome and taking into account that his interests spread from Strindberg to animated films like “Just You Wait!”, there is just one way to describe the feeling when you listen to his monologue about becoming a simple manual laborer – heart attack. Orson Wells used to say: “If I had two lives, I would have devoted one of them entirely to the cocaine”. Arykov plays his boxer as though he were living his second life to the fullest, the one for which he would have had to forget Strindberg and would have never know Albee, but which would have been so sweet to live: the simple life of a handsome guy, whose existence is so easy up to a certain point but whom the state and society use as cannon fodder with sadistic pleasure and consistency worthy of a better application.

Skillfully using the wide screen the authors switch to amateur camera now and then, the one that accompanies the characters. The smoke from the fire still lingers, the same bagpipe of a stray Zambian is heard off-screen, but the morning mist clears already on the screen of the amateur camera. Only the tune is constant. The melting clouds and the earthly images, which time and again turn into cinema, remind us of the uneven light of Maya. Messiah from Richard Bach’s story of the sane mane took the protagonist to the movies to explain to him the meaning of earthly life: “When Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were dying you cried, you would have given up your life for them, but you did not die. Watch your own life like you watched this movie”. The time will come to remember these words when “Sneakers” take you to the closing scene.

Alexey Vasiliev

Dir. Judit Elek

All happy families are happy in the same way, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. That is the case in Judit Elek’s movie. The Romanian and the Swedish families have very little in common. What could a Transylvanian forester and a respectable West-European lady have in common? Nothing. And still at some point they start the inexorable movement towards each other from points “A” and “B”, traversing the frontiers… Do they want this meeting? No. But… It depends… Will they meet? No. Though…

Judit Elek is one of the most experienced Hungarian directors (she began filming in the 50s and is considered a representative of the “first generation” of the founders of Hungarian cinema). She ventured to experiment on a large scale, juxtaposing three epochs, three worlds on the screen – Hitler occupation, the West and developed socialism. The latter is taken in its most flagrant form familiar from the usual first-hand stories: when Perestroika was under way in the USSR, Soviet people, who came to Bucharest and tried to talk to the “aborigines” in the way they had already got used to on TV, they met with horrified glances and fingers pointing at the ceilings in the hotels, which meant that everything was bugged.

The movie is set long before the Soviet Perestroika, in 1980. Katherine, a Jew of Hungarian-Romanian origin living in Sweden ventures to come to Transylvania, which she had left at the age of 7. She was taken to the death camp and miraculously survived: her relatives dismantled the floor in the freight car, but only a child could squeeze through the opening…

Almost everything in this country reminds Katherine of a Holocaust, it might even seem that the director indulges in flashbacks. The border guard turns into a Gestapo soldier (while the curt, barking noises in the background prove to be a football broadcast and not the Führer’s speech); people lying along the walls in the dark bring back a lot of memories, but it is a usual socialist hotel: no more rooms and the lights are out. When after all the dramatic events on the Romanian soil the car with the Swedish number plates crosses the roadway barrier, Katherine’s little daughter asks: “Is it OK to sing now?” and hears the answer: “Yes, now everything is OK”.

Meanwhile the forester Teletski does not yield to his wife’s entreaties and refuses to beget a child: “I don’t want to make babies for them, I don’t want my son to become a murderer”. At the same time it is for “them” that he himself prepares the hunting ground, for Ceausescu who is due to shoot bears here. And the moment you think about the paradoxical notion of “murder” in the context (in a few years the opponents of the regime will themselves finish off the Ceausescus), the forester’s rifle fires and soon Teletski is wanted for double murder. Evidently paradoxes of the 20th century cannot be understood without Shakespearean plot twists.

Igor Saveliev

For the first time in Russia, a retrospective of Béla Tarr’s full body of work will take part at Pioneer and October venues as part of the 33rd MIFF.
Tarr’s latest feature, The Turin Horse, based on an apocryphal story of Friedrich Nietzsche, was entered into the main competition at this year’s Berlin Film Festival and won Silver Bear for best directing and FIPRESCI prize. The director claims it’s his last film, a farewell of sorts to filmmaking.
Béla Tarr debuted in 1979 with Family Nest, which, along with Outsider, Prefab People, and Autumn Almanac, composes his realistic chamber drama cycle, a series of vignettes from Hungarian everyday life that are in their ruthless precision very much alike to John Cassavetes’ masterpieces. Damnation (1988) marked a watershed in Tarr’s oeuvre. The monumental Satantango and sophisticated Werkmeister Harmonies are both stately metaphysical parables with distinctive visuals galore. Susan Sontag wrote about Sátántangó, "Devastating, enthralling for every minute of its seven hours. I'd be glad to see it every year for the rest of my life."
László Krasznahorkai, a prominent Hungarian writer, has collaborated with Tarr on more than one occasion. However, the director is also known for his adaptations of other famous books, including his masterful rendition of Macbeth and The Man from London, which is loosely based on Georges Simenon’s novel (starring Tilda Swinton, the film vied for the coveted Palme D’or at Cannes).

Day two of 33rd MIFF was full of events. First jury members of the three competitions – Main, Perspectives and Documentary – were introduced. On Friday first competing films were demonstrated.

The main event of Friday was a meeting with 33rd MIFF jury which took place in the lobby of Khudozhestvenny Cinema Hall. Photographers would not let go those who will shape destiny of festival films. It should come as no surprise that the most photographers’ attention was drawn to the Chairman of the jury, actress Geraldine Chaplin. Hardly had the improvised photo session ended, questions to the daughter of the outstanding Charles came like a flood. Despite her surname, Geraldine Chaplin made her own way in cinema with some dozens of characters – starting from Tonya Gromeko in Doctor Zhivago by David Lean and up to Catherine Bilova in Talk to Her by Pedro Almodóvar.

The press conference announcer Peter Shepotinnik opened the press conference with his traditional question, “What have you had to forgo to come to Moscow?” Geraldine Chaplin simply answered she had nothing to give up, but her family. “I had a lot of film projects in my life, last year I participated in five pictures simultaneously. And one film has been shot this year. So, it is enough for me.” Israeli stage director Amos Gitai also turned his attention to his colleague from Main competition jury. “My mother wrote me how she had met my father. It was in Haifa, my native city. At their first date they came to the cinema to watch a film with Charles Chaplin. So I owe my life to your great father”, Amos Gitai shared his personal story.

Another start person from 33rd MIFF jury – Hungarian classic Károly MAKK did not share his plans for film staging and also preferred to dive into recollections. “My first time at Moscow Film Festival was 45 years ago. I was a member of the jury in far 1977. Hungarian film-makers have always had tight bounds with Soviet, Russian colleagues. Now it is high time to see what has changed and to meet those whom I remember from that far period”. Javier Martín-Domínguez, the director of the Seville European Film festival and a member of 33rd MIFF jury, has also been to Moscow before, but not as a film-maker, he came here as a journalist. “It was late-1980s, I covered the meeting of Gorbachev and Reagan. This time I’ll combine business with pleasure: I’m preparing a Russian program for my festival in Spain, so this is the best opportunity to watch your films.”

The only representative of Russia in the Main competition jury is stage director Nikolay Dostal. Two years ago he won MIFF with his film Petya po doroge v Tsarstvie Nebesnoe / Pete on the Way to Heaven. “What do you not like in modern cinema?” the audience asked. “Dominance of entertainment over art, and it is our tragic future”, said the stage director hoping that MIFF’s films will make the future more bright. But probably the main question was addressed to the Chairman of the jury. “What are the criteria for Geraldine Chaplin to judge a film?” The answer was straight. “I hate the very word “judge”. Art does not tolerate judges. I can name one hundred reasons when I dislike a film. But there are none, if I think a picture is magnificent – you are just short of words. We watch films not with our mind, but with eyes, consciousness, our body. That is why it is very hard to understand who the best is when we talk about arts.”

On June 24 Moscow Film Festival saw some other contesting films. The first film demonstrated was Montevideo, Taste of a Dream / Montevideo, Bog te video (Serbia). It was presented by Director Dragan Bjelogrlić, Producer Dejan Petrović, actors Miloš Biković and Milutin Karadžić as well as Nina Jankovi. All the events taking place in the Former Yugoslavia in 1930s are about football. It is worth mentioning that this very game was the central topic of Hermano / Brother, last MMIF Main Prize winner. The press conference announcer Program Director Kirill Razlogov wished to the film crew that this year the tradition went on. “I wanted to shoot a film free of the spirit of nihilism and seamy side. I am interested in real human values”, described his aim Dragan Bjelogrlić. At the same time he mourned that in his country and in Europe in general such films are not staged any more. It turned out that he is an actor with 30-year experience. Montevideo,

Taste of a Dream is Dragan Bjelogrlić’s debut as a stage director. He decided to shoot this picture because of soreness, “There are a lot of stage directors who intentionally draw their countries in dark colours thus making their way to the global market. I wanted to make a good-natured picture with a note of nostalgia for the Former Yugoslavia.” And Producer Dejan Petrović added that before the shooting started they had known that they would like that the first night of their film was at Moscow International Film Festival. “MIFF is the best place for the first night of our film, it is a real honour for us”, director added. The story depicted in the film is real: protagonists’ prototypes are known Serbian football players. The featured actors are young Balkan actors, they are still students. “To shoot them was a bold and wise decision”, summed up Dragan Bjelogrlić.

In the Name of the Devil / W imieniu diabła is another Eastern European film from the Main competition which was demonstrated on Friday. A Polish picture about strange events in a nunnery was presented by Director Barbara Sass and actress Katarzyna Zawadzka. At the press conference it turned out that initially the author had intended to shoot a film on another topic. 20 years ago she read in a newspaper a catching story about an American sect and got interested in the phenomenon of people manipulation. “I was really affected by the topic”, says Barbara Sass. “But when I started to dig dipper I realized that this American story is alien for our Eastern European environment, so we had to change the story.” The only thing the director was interested in was people manipulation. The reason for film shooting was a scandal about one Polish nunnery where the Mother Superior drawn nuns into a sect. But being a real artist, Barbara Sass wanted to imbed only her own feeling and emotions in this story, therefore she had not talked to participants of that conflict; she made her own story instead which turned out to be more close to the reality.

The Friday at MMIF started from a press conference with authors of the Undercurrent / Brim. Films from Iceland is an event in their nature, not often amateurs in Moscow get a chance to watch a film from the native country of Bjork and Eyjafjallajökull volcano. All the better that the Undercurrent / Brim is a kind of cubed Iceland. Cinema verité about everyday life of fishermen, nature subdual fleshed out with suicides and betrayals. The first question asked by journalists was not a surprise: why for his film Árni Ólafur Ásgeirsson chose such a stereotype Icelandic topic as fishing? “Yes, it is an important part of our culture. Nevertheless, for modern Icelanders, especially for town dwellers, fishing in the sea is rather exotic. There is certainly the memory of generations: our fathers, grandfathers, they all were fishermen. Even I, though not a professional fisherman, sail on the seas and fished. But the conflict of generations is nowhere to hide”, explained Árni Ólafur Ásgeirsson his decision. It is not by chance that the Undercurrent / Brim reminds you a performance. By the way, the director drew on the idea from the theatre when he saw the performance staged. After that he decided to shoot as true a story about Icelandic fishermen’s life as possible, “You may not shoot a film about fishermen in my country telling fibs – it will be noticed at once.”

True cinema uncensored – such films are expected from the participants of MIFF by members of Perspectives competition jury. They also had their conference on Friday. But not all of them had a talk with journalists in Khudozhestvenny Cinema Hall – Aleksandr Kott will join his colleagues only tomorrow. Nevertheless, there were no problems with the conversation – by chance, 33rd MIFF jury member all speak Russian. These are a Serbian film critic Miroljub Vučković and Kazakh stage director Ermek Shinarbayev. These were them who answered journalists’ questions. Miroljub Vučković, the Program Director of Film festival in Belgrade and Head of the Film Centre Serbia, knows he expects from the films participating in MIFF, “Fresh mountain air or sea breeze. The main task of the film festival is to discover new trends which in the near future will become a dominant in the world cinema art. They say that at the moment auteur cinematography is having a bad time, but believe me such words would be appropriate any time. In the Perspectives competition I will search for a film which will stir me up.” It turns out in all appearances that his colleague from the jury Ermek Shinarbayev is prompted by the very Moscow atmosphere, “It has a kind of energy in it which you want to share. It is very familiar to me as we are brought up by Russian cinematographers and make our films in Russian.” According to the stage director from Kazakhstan, perspective film does not necessarily mean negation of all cinema cannons. “For me, expectation of a miracle in the cinema hall is very important and, you know, miracles usually happen and when we were to talk about modern cinema, young stage directors say that classics in out-of-date. Then you see: their films are directly associated with classic cinematography.”

The Abendland, a film from the Documentary competition which is held within MIFF first time for 22 years, is presented by Nikolaus Geyrhalter. He is the leading documentalist of Austria, his home country. And this status was officially confirmed as early as in 2003 with the state award, some local award similar to the State Prize. Apart from this award Geyrhalter won film festivals in Vienna, Amsterdam and Berlin for his film Das Jahr Nach Dayto, a shrilling documentary film about the war in Bosnia. His latest work which the author brought to Moscow is called Abendland.

During the press conference in Khudozhestvenny Cinema Hall Nikolaus Geyrhalter said that he had crossed half Europe in order to understand what the Old World is if the lights are out. It is a series of stories about life of European megalopolis – from Rome to Berlin, from the Pope on the St. Peter's Square in Vatican to whores in the red light quarter of Amsterdam. Scrambling through night club raves and criminal shoot-outs in city suburbs, the stage director came to a surprising conclusion which he wants to share with Moscow audience, “Only homes for elderly people are similar all over Europe. Elderly people and the romanticism they keep in Europe are the things worth seeing and thinking of.” Watching the film, the viewer is not always aware of where Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s camera is. “For the most curious audience we placed the list of all cities where we were shooting the film in the closing credits”, promised the Austrian stage director.
Also the documentary film program presents the Czech Peace by Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda. Te film is about citizens of a small Czech town the mayor of which decided to lead a matchless fight again the USA planning to place their air defence missile systems in the town. It is a very topical story which will undoubtedly draw viewers’ attention.

On that very day members of the Documentary competition jury were introduced, among them were the Chairman of the Jury director Michael Apted, director and cinematographer Alexander Gutman and film expert Tue Steen Müller. Films selected by them, like in the Main and Perspectives competitions, will be awarded with St. George for the first time during 22 years of MIFF.

Grigory Libergal, one of the competition supervisors, who announced the press conference open, said that “disappearance of documentary films from the competition was due to the hard economic situation in the country and in the cinema art in particular.” But he thinks that now documentaries are coming back. Danish film expert Steen Müller agreed with this statement, “as nowadays documentary cinematography may afford practically anything up to using game history episodes.” And director Michael Apted confessed that h loves documentary for its unexpectedness as “at the beginning of the film-making process it is impossible to predict what the end of the film will be.”

‘Being John Malkovich’ – what does it mean? Who knows. Anyhow the actor himself affirms that in the noted Spike Jonze’s picture, where his head was being turned into a virtual portal, he just played an odd role of the character with such a name, no way related to him.

Malkovich played over 70 various parts in cinema, including the noblest Athos in The Man in the Iron Mask, but gained great recognition after vicious Vicomte de Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons, and for the psychotic political assassin from In the Line of Fire he was nominated for the Academy Award and the Golden Globe. It might be said that his range stretches between judicial Dr. Jekyll and ominous Mr. Hyde from thriller Mary Reilly, but Malkovich confesses: "I'm drawn to a character with a lack of humanity. People give reasons for being cruel or sadistic but I think it is just a lack of humanity and concern for others. I think I'm good at them because I don't like them”. Paradoxically enough - audiences are attracted to those roles played by Malkovich which he deeply hates. Maybe this makes him agree to participate in the projects where he can parody his dramatic type.
The actor indulges portraying a burlesque of those villains and rogues which made him public’s favourite, with special delight picturing his character’s abasement.

As Malkovich recalls, his first teacher in acting taught, that the worst sin was to be boring. With this lesson in mind he daringly takes up inconceivable tasks always presenting something an audience won't have seen. Nowadays public at large not only in Italy, Germany, Australia or Austria, but also in St. Petersburg and Moscow came to know his operatic talent as he toured with the opera The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a Serial Killer. His performance of Jack Unterweger, who strangled 11 women, arose a controversial reception; some spectators reproached him of glorifying the monster. But this impression is deceitful: charming as usual in this part, Malkovich just shows that moral monsters often have human face and that the evil may appear very attractive. But his own sympathy wins another charming operatic personage – famous womanizer Casanova in The Giacomo Variations where he plays against Ingeborga Dapkunaite.

Nina Tsyrkun

The winner of the 2011 Golden Bear in Berlin, Nader And Simin, A Separation by Asghar Farhadi will open the Wrocław-based event on the 21st July. The second opening film will be Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. The closing film on the 31st July will be Pedro Almodovar’s latest movie The skin I live In.

Among the confirmed guests are Terry Gilliam, Kim Ki-Duk and Bruno Dumont.

All three competitions of the festival are looking strong this year with titles such as Urszula Antoniak’s Code Blue, Paula Markovitch’s El Premio and Nanouk Leopold’s Brownian Movement in the main, New Horizons International Competition and Kim Ki-Duk’s Arirang and Marie Losier’s The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, among others, in the Films on Art International Competition.

The New Polish Films competition will see the world premiere of Wilhelm Sasnal’s It Looks Pretty from a Distance. Sasnal is a world-famous contemporary artist, whose works are in collections of the Saatchi Gallery and Tate Modern in London.

Jury highlights include Frédéric Boyer (Directors’ Fortnight Director in 2009-2011), Anocha Suwichakornpong (Mundande History), Denis Côté (Curling), Dimitris Eipides (Director of the Thessaloniki IFF) and György Pálfi (Taxidermia).

The Juries will award 65.000 EUR in cash prizes. The winners of the Grand Prix, Audience Award, FIPRESCI Prize and the Films on Art International Competition are guaranteed distribution in Poland.

The festival will host a big presentation of Norwegian cinema and films from the phenomena of pinku eiga, red westerns and midnight movies, as well as retrospectives of Terry Gilliam, Bruno Dumont, Andrzej Munk and Mariusz Wilczyński.

The main music star of the 11. New Horizons International Film Festival will be Nick Cave and Grinderman, who will stage a concert on 29th July.

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