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Russian Film Days explore cinema magic with energy and innovation

russian movies
More and more, it has become clear that Russian cinema is an exceptional force to be reckoned with. (Photos: Handouts from the Royal Film Commission)
Russian cinematography has overwhelmed the international film scene with raw energy and innovative capacity. From art films and independent docu-films to traditional blockbusters, beautifully shot contemporary masterpieces offer a spectacular insight in the condition of the modern Russian state and the essence of its culture. More and more, it has become clear that Russian cinema is an exceptional force to be reckoned with.اضافة اعلان

Organized by the Royal Film Commission (RFC) in cooperation with the Russian Film Festival, the Russian Film Days start on Monday. The three movies to be shown, and which represent different cinematographic schools, will be screened at the RFC Outdoor Theater.


‘A Dog Named Palma’,
by Aleksandr Domogarov Jr

The beginning of the story echoes real events. A man with a dog is not allowed on board a plane, and business demands that he urgently get on a flight. As a result, the poor dog remains at the airport, and its unlucky owner flies to another country, deep down burning with shame.

The dog literally settles at the airport. No matter how much they drive her away, she returns to the runway the moment the next Il-18 lands, because it was on such a plane that her owner flew away

The poor animal would have hung around if Kolya, the son of one of the pilots, had not made friends with her. Kolya only recently met his father, having come to live with him after the death of his mother. Their relationship does not work out right away, so communication with the dog becomes a real outlet for the boy.

Over time, Palma becomes an outright legend, programs are filmed about it, bags of letters are sent to the airport, and Kolya carefully watches so that no one would offends this devoted animal. And so everything would have continued if the owner of the dog had not arrived on one of the planes.

It was a shock both for Palma and for Kolya, who risked losing the only close creature. The process of returning the dog became the catalyst that improved Kolya’s relationship with his father.


‘First Snow’,
by Natalia Konchalovskaya

This is the feature debut of director Konchalovskaya. First Snow is personal; it intertwines life experiences and observations of loved ones and acquaintances.

The director raises social questions about relationships with parents, the right not to depend on the opinions of others, and not try to fit into the fictional framework of society in career or personal life.

Lonely 24-year-old Kristina (Yulia Shulyeva) is a graduate of MGIMO. After receiving her diploma, she is invited to an internship at a large consulting company where she will have to promote carnivals and multi-cereal flakes. The job is not to Christina’s liking; she dreams of finishing her internship as soon as possible to look for a new place where she will be comfortable.

Christina’s mom, Marina (Elena Morozova) is a realtor, and she just loves her job, because there she can meet bachelors looking for luxurious housing. This is how she met Georgy (Ivan Agapov). In the evenings, Marina writes romance novels about wealthy foreign life, such as somewhere in Monaco. At the same time, she is sure that her daughter must marry a wealthy man, so she constantly gives advice to Christina on how she should behave with the opposite sex.

Unloved work and unsolicited advice bring Christina to burnout, and she so wants to breathe deeply and taste freedom.

The boss of the main character, Oksana (Marina Manych), is a businesswoman, a self-made woman. She has everything one can dream of, except for understanding in the family. She can only talk frankly, which she often does. Oksana’s 10-year-old daughter Alice (Anna Peresild) runs a video blog “Alice in the land of hamsters”. Oksana is concerned about her daughter’s behavior and talks to a psychologist, who, according to Oksana, will help form a healthy psyche in the girl and teach her to get along with others. Alice does not like it, but she is forced to attend the sessions. Only a video blog and a hamster make the girl happy.

In the end, it is this animal that will bind high school student Pavel (Mark Eidelstein), Alice, and Christina. Their meeting will turn the lives of the heroes upside down. Moreover, all of them will gain long-awaited freedom as soon as the first snow falls.


‘A Frenchman’
by Andrey Smirnov

A Frenchman as an archetype in Russian culture has an unenviable fate: he is always an exile, a hermit.

Andrei Smirnov’s black-and-white film happens at the end of the 1950s. Pierre Durand (Anton Rival), a graduate of Ecole Normale, goes to the Soviet Union for an internship. French students often came to Moscow universities during Khrushchev’s time. Among them were Jacques Catto, Geneviève Joannet-Kostandi, and Georges Niva, a friend of Andrei Smirnov. The Frenchman, in general, is very literary. Literature in film narration is the director’s favorite technique: in Angel (1967), he translates the complex syntax of Yuri Olesha into the language of cinema, in Autumn (1974) he refers to the poetics of Tsvetaeva and Pasternak, and in Once Upon a Time There Was a Woman (2011) he connects the chronicle with the Apocrypha and Christian eschatology.

In the film A Frenchman, sharp kitchen dialogues of the 1960s are played out: political questions and romantic irony, lyrical intonation and sarcastic pun, the love line is closely intertwined with political intrigue.

The film starts with a breakup and ends with separation. Farewell and return are two points of support, heaven, and earth, between which the balloon of human melancholy spins and spins. Three French friends — like Pierrot, Harlequin, and Columbine — argue about wine and politics. Pierrot-Durand, in the Algerian question, on the “imperial side”: Algeria must remain a French colony, otherwise why would five generations of soldiers have shed their blood? How will his worldview change in the country of space and ballet?

Although politics has nothing to do with it, Durand is simply for justice, or so he thinks, despite the French Communist Party, friends who stand up for the ideals of the proletariat, and other conventions. Harlequin-Jean-Marie (Jérémy Duval) hates everything bourgeois, but capriciously claims that the wine smells of cork and goes to Algeria for war. Colombina-Nicole (Lucy Aron) is left alone.

The film has real historical roots — in the 1950s, a delegation of French Slavists came to Moscow State University, including Georges Niva, who translated Solzhenitsyn, and Andrei Bely. “Frenchman” is dedicated to dissident Alexander Ginzburg, and his colleague Vera Lashkova played a small role in it. Smirnov seems to have no desire to determine the fate of an entire ethnic group, as in his previous epic. However, thanks to its focus, integrity, and confidence, The Frenchman becomes a reminder to him (and to those who have already forgotten, and those who never knew) what a fantastic feeling it is when the frost weakens, the temperature drops, and the air becomes softer.


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