Saturday, 25 June 2011

Moscow film festival opens - but Russian film is confined to cyberspace

Moscow’s International Film Festival was chosen to stage the international premiere of summer blockbuster Transformers-3.
But not everyone was happy that one of the country’s biggest cinema events could not find a major Russian movie to kick-start the action.
Nikita Mikhalkov, the event’s president, could do little more than regret the way Hollywood blockbusters stifle even the best local productions.
And he admitted that simple finance was the key factor behind the choice.
“Any category ‘A’ event has to start with a significant picture, and this is pure commerce we can’t ignore,” he informed.

For lovers of Russian cinema, it seems, the best may already be in the past.
But if the Moscow festival is a disappointment for patriotic movie-lovers, an online project is taking the highlights of Soviet “kino” to a wider audience than ever.
YouTube’s movie project has launched a Russian section, bringing classics from Tarkovsky as well as popular comedies of the “Brillyantovaya Ruka” mould to computer screens all over the world – entirely legal and free of charge.
Some films have been uploaded with English subtitles so cinema fans can enjoy the service regardless of their Russian language skills.
Currently, there are about 400 films from renowned studios of the Soviet era – Mosfilm, Lenfilm and some others – as well as Star Media, a contemporary TV producer that promises to upload additional 90 films in near future, Moskovskiye Novosty reported.
The YouTube Movies project (‘Kinozal’ in Russian) was first introduced in the USA and the UK after the company signed a deal with a number of film studios, including Sony Pictures and MGM.

This year’s festival has entries from all over the world – but only two pictures directed by Russians are in the main competition programme.
However, some critics suspect that Nikolai Khomeriki’s “Heart’s Boomerang” and Sergei Loban’s “Chapiteau-show” might be two too many.
“Possibly, many people would share the view that it would be more appropriate to see [both films] in the Prespectivy (‘Prospects’) programme – a competition for debutants and people who created their second film,” Kirill Razgolov, programme director of the festival, told KP.
And this is neither an accident, nor an attempt to make up for the shortage of Russian films in the programme, according to Razgolov.
“But they are in the main competition, and this also helps us surprise and shock the critics,” he said.
This year’s “Perspektivy” programme has only one contestant from Russia – Andrei Bogatyryov with his film “BUGgY”.

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