When the Russians Festival: a moving program

For its seventh edition, this film week highlights great Soviet classics and successful Russian films. A cocktail of emotions to discover until Tuesday July 6 in Paris.

Rarely has a film festival been so aptly named: the seventh edition of this independent Russian film festival sponsored by Macha Méril and Jean-Pierre Chevènement is a cocktail of strong emotions, where the gusts of history mingle with magic. of love, the tragedy of life, humor, grandeur as well as human pettiness.

Founder of the festival of regional minorities in Douarnenez in 1978, the art and cinema meetings in Quimper in 1983 and the British film festival in Dinard in 1989, Marc Ruscart was one of the pioneers of French cinema in Moscow at the end of perestroika, where he established the UGC rooms. In 2015, he decided to launch the cinematographic adventure of When the Russians … with only one idea in mind: to show the French public that Russian cinema is not limited to often black auteur films, against a backdrop of sordid reality. “We were at the bottom of the mine, and we still are a little bit, because a lot of people hate Russia and equate politics with art and culture. But the politicians and the systems pass, while the films remain, with their gaze on reality, which speaks much more!

The first edition of the festival will be called When the Russians laugh, and will take up the challenge of showing only Russian and Soviet comedies, for a week, in three independent Parisian theaters: the Balzac, the Christine studio (current Christine cinema Club) and the Max Linder. The success is such that it is necessary to duplicate the sessions, and that the public begs, at the exit, to be able to buy the DVD of certain films, such as Carnival night, by Eldar Ryazanov, a cult comedy from 1956.
Watching the films of the 2021 edition, we predict the same phenomenon: alongside great classics such as the 1957 Palme d’Or in Cannes, When the storks pass, or the cult films of the Soviet era Moscow does not believe in tears (1979) and I’m twenty years old (1964), the best films released in Russia over the past three years are in competition.

Launched on June 30 at Balzac, with a special day dedicated to Russian emigration in the 1920s, the festival When the Russians upset us managed the miracle of captivating an entire room with the screening of a silent film from 1923, The Burning Blaze, in cinema concert. It must be said that this unique film by Yvan Mosjoukine and Alexandre Volkoff, which revealed to Jean Renoir his vocation as a filmmaker, is hallucinating of creativity, humor, inventiveness, emotion, all served by an aesthetic and virtuosity truly astounding. A kind of‘Alice in Wonderland modern, with the allure of thriller and romantic comedy, magnified by music. Introduced by Franck Ferrand, who with his usual storytelling talent resuscitated the time of the Albatross studios in Montreuil, named after the cargo ship on which arrived from Russia to France in the 1920s, film producers, directors, technicians, this film illustrates the excellence of Russian cinema at a time when French cinema was purring.

It is here, in the studios of the Albatross, that everything was born. There was a desire for excellence and surpassing, to seduce the public on the part of these Russian filmmakers which has deeply marked French cinema. “, Explained Franck Ferrand, while Macha Méril added that”just as Diaghilev gave birth to ballet in Paris, French cinema was born under this Russian influence. “.

Konchalovsky and Balabanov retrospectives

Fact, The Burning Blaze (1923) inaugurates for the 2021 edition a high-level selection, meticulously prepared by Françoise Navailh, “cinephage»Since the age of twelve, historian of Russian and Soviet cinema, president of the Kinoglaz news site. “We want to show the extreme diversity of Russian and Soviet cinema, the real one. Often people reduce Russia to two clichés, snow and corruption. It’s like saying “America? Ah, yes, it’s the great outdoors and westerns! ”.

So there is something for everyone in the festival selection:

  • A self-portrait by Andrei Kontchalovsky in six films (programmed and deprogrammed twice at the film library last year, the Kontchalovsky retrospective has still not taken place). The filmmaker has his very own definition of the Russian temperament: “ The reality is that the Russians don’t know the brakes! No other solution than to rush without brakes and we’ll see where we end up… This is why the Russians are upsetting the French! ” A must see, Romance of lovers (1974), a romantic comedy which embodies with originality the return of the soldier to his former life which is no longer the same as before (with this excellent line: “ It is better to live lying and in love under the war memorial than living with you! “); Dear friends (2020), film inspired by the repression of a strike in Novocherkassk, in June 1962, under Krushchev, classified as a state secret, which shakes the Soviet certainties of Ludmilla, the heroine, and her blind faith. Beautifully filmed, this film shows with finesse and without Manichaeism the dictatorship of fear on all levels of society, and the disillusionment of senior party officials (“ Here, socialism is also a state secret “).
  • An Alexei Balabanov retrospective, in the category Black is black : special mention for Brother (1997), a bandit film that depicts the resilience of the generation of soldiers traumatized by the wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya.
  • In competition, five feature films of the year 2020, whose Blockade Journal of the very talented Andrei Zaïtsev, on the ordeal endured by the inhabitants of besieged Leningrad, from September 8, 1941 to January 27, 1944, and Conference, of the no less talented Ivan Tverdovski, in his thirties inspired by the relentless reality of life, which he had masterfully revealed in Class apart (2014) on the fate of a young disabled girl, and which he shows here with the evocation of the hostage-taking of the Doubrovka theater in Moscow, from 23 to 26 October 2002, evoked seventeen years more late by one of the survivors.
  • A tribute to actor Vladimir Vyssotsky, heroes in particular of Two comrades in the army, by Yevgeny Karelov (1968), the story of an improbable tandem of soldiers tasked with photographing enemy lines from an airplane, at the end of the Russian civil war, in 1920.
  • A selection of short films from the new Russian animated cinema, from 2016 to 2020, which make us travel, among other things, Russian cyber-punk farm, by Sergei Vassiliev, in the Great North of Siberia with In the midst of black waves by Anna Budanova, through an epic game of chess where the characters come to life and fight, allegory of war by Alexei Potchivalov.
  • Classics of Soviet cinema : the incredible When the storks pass, (1957) by Mikhail Kalatozov, (5 million spectators in France when it was released), which tells with virtuosity, emotion and humor, in the midst of the drama, the story of a young woman during the Second World War; Moscow does not believe in tears (1979) by Vladimir Menshov, cult film seen by 84.4 million Russians, Oscar for best foreign film in 1981, on the adventures, dreams and tribulations of three provincials who decided to conquer Moscow at the end of the 1950s, and who found twenty years later. Ivan’s childhood, (1962) first feature film by Andrei Tarkovski, about a young orphan from a stolen childhood war, who is eager to avenge his family.
  • Some bonuses : a meeting with Nadejda Vassilieva, decorator and costume designer of great talent, wife of Alexei Balabanov, at the Russian Orthodox spiritual and cultural center, with the projection of The Little Hunchbacked Horse, by Oleg Pogodin, for which she made the costumes. And a signature meeting at the Globe Bookstore with the novelist Dimitri Gloukhovski, author of the novels Metro 2033, Metro 2034, Sumerki, and Text.
  • Finally, for the closing night of Monday July 5, the highly anticipated film by Klim Chipenko, Text (2019), from the screenplay of Dimitri Gloukhovsky’s best-selling novel: an injustice trap closes on an innocent person and drives him to revenge. A modern tragedy, carried on at a breathless pace, with a cell phone as an instrument of fatality. “ A story inspired by real events that happened two years later …, with the affair of journalist Ivan Golunov wrongly accused of drug possession, and finally exonerated by justice », Confided Dimitri Gloukhovski.

When the Russians upset us , Russian film festival, until July 6, 2021 at Parisian cinemas Le Balzac, Max Linder and Christine Cinéma Club. Program and information: Quandlesrusses.com

The choice of Figaro in video:

Dear friends by Andrei Kontchalovsky

Moscow does not believe in tears by Vladimir Menshov

When the Russians upset us », Russian film festival, until July 6, 2021 at Le Balzac, Max Linder and Christine Cinéma Club cinemas.
Program and Information: http://quandlesrusses.com/


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