Cannes: From Russia With Films

PHOTO by Ekaterina Chesnokova / RIA Novosti
Russian movies screened at the 69th Cannes Film Festival

Movies you can’t miss, whether you’re visiting the Russian Pavilion or going to Un Certain Regard. Gazeta.Ru takes a closer look at what Russians have brought to the 69th Cannes Film Festival.

Kirill Serebrennikov – (M)Uchenik (The Student)

This director has produced a number of movies which have received great praise from both critics and viewers alike. His latest work, “The Student,” has been selected for the Un Certain Regard programme this year. Serebrennikov made a film adaptation of the play by Marius von Mayenburg, which he previously produced at Moscow’s Gogol-Centre Theatre.

In the adapted play which takes place in Russia instead of Germany, a school student Venya (Petr Skvortsov) suddenly becomes devoutly religious and preaches a “proper” life to everyone he knows, based on his interpretation of the Bible. His biology teacher is a particularly difficult convert, as she’s more at home with science than religion.

Throughout his years in theatre and film Kirill Serebrennikov has won many awards: in 2006, one of his most famous films, “Playing the Victim,” won the grand prize at Kinotavr and Rome International Film Festivals. His play “Otmorozki” (Scumbags) won the Golden Mask award in 2012, and his production of Gogol’s “Mertvye Dushi” (Dead Souls) was given the Crystal Turandot award for best stage direction in 2014.

Garri Bardine – Listening to Beethoven

An animated short about the triumph of liberty will be screened as part of the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (Directors' Fortnight) section.

The director ran a very successful crowdfunding campaign to produce this piece. The score (Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and 7th Symphony) was recorded by the National Philharmonic of Russia, conducted by Vladimir Spivakov.

Garri Bardine has already won the Palme d'Or once before, in 1988, for his animated short Vykrutasy (Frills).

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Garri Bardine

Elena Osipova – Mother's Day

We are very proud that Elena Osipova, a regular contributor to the Lifestyle section of Russian online newspaper Gazeta.Ru, is among those who were chosen for the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Her short is funny, brash and very touching. It’s about the life of a mother, whose daughter (an assassin) gives her the silent treatment, and whose husband (a gangster) dreams of to shooting her. It’s kind of a love story, although some people do get their necks broken along the way.

Elena Osipova graduated from London’s Central Film School. In 2015, her comedy short “Sister of Mercy” was screened at The Box festival. “Mother's Day” was also included in programs of other notable film festivals in Berlin, Melbourne, Chicago and Rhode Island.

What to Watch at the Russian Pavilion

The Russian Pavilion, located at the Cannes Festival, will screen Valery Todorovsky’s “Bolshoi” (a film dedicated to the Bolshoi Theatre), Alexey Mizgirev’s “The Duelist,” Fedor Bondarchuk’s “Prityazhenie” (Attraction), as well as other notable Russian films to be screened in theatres in 2017. In other words, if you miss it at the festival, you’ll be able to watch in on a big screen in any Russian city.

On top of all this, the Cannes Classics selection have Andrey Tarkovsky’s “Solaris,” which was remastered by Mosfilm for this event.

Five Fascinating Facts About Russians at Cannes

• France’s Minister of Education planned to hold the first Cannes Film Festival in 1939. Despite everything being in place and ready to go, it was postponed due to the commencement of World War II. Louis Lumière was due to be the chairman of the jury. At the festival, the Soviet Union was represented by the film “Lenin” in 1918.

• Only one Russian feature film has ever been awarded the Cannes Palme d’Or: Mikhail Kalatozov’s “Letyat Zhuravli” (The Cranes Are Flying) won this prestigious accolade in 1958.

• The festival’s gran prix, the second most prestigious award of the Cannes festival, has been won by Russian or Soviet filmmakers several times. Tengiz Abuladze took it home in 1987 for his “Pokayaniye” (Repentance), and it was also awarded to Andrey Tarkovsky’s “Solaris” in 1972, Andrey Konchalovsky’s “Sibiriad” in 1979, and Nikita Mikhalkov’s “Burnt by the Sun” in 1994.

• Sergei Vasiliev won the best director award in 1955 for his “Heroes of Shipka”; Sergei Yutkevich for his “Othello” in 1956 and “Lenin in Poland” in 1966. Yuliya Solntseva was recognised for her direction of The Story of the Flaming Years in 1961, Andrey Tarkovsky for Nostalgia in 1983 and Pavel Lungin for Taxi-Blues in 1990.

• The 16 actors who performed in the film A Big Family, directed by Iosif Kheifits, won the special prize for best acting ensemble at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival.

Author: Maxim Isaev