OUR OWN KIN.CELEBRATING THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF MOSCOW INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL



On the occasion of its anniversary the festival stages a holiday for film lovers and for itself. Film lovers will be able to enjoy movies which few people had a chance to see on the big screen recently, despite their legendary status and a certain mythology associated with each of them. In this sense the selection offered at the 40th MIFF is unique, while the names of Asghar Farhadi, Jos Stelling, Jean Eustache, Joanna Hogg and many others need no further introduction. The holiday “for itself” is that very case when the Moscow Festival can be immodest and put on the decorations.
 
The anniversary program offers the list (far from exhaustive) of top-ranking discoveries made at the MIFF for the world cinema. The success in Moscow kick-started the rise to fame of such directorial stars as István Szabó (“Apa”), Wang Quanan (“Lunar Eclipse”), Javor Gardev (“Zift”), Claude Jutra (“Mon oncle Antoine”)… Simple-hearted film critics are a times surprised when they find out that Ruben Östlund walked along the red carpet of the “Pushkinsky” hall earlier than along Promenade de la Croisette (with his debut film “The Guitar Mongoloid”) or that Duncan Jones`s “Moon” was first appreciated in Moscow.
 
The Moscow Festival plays a special part in discovering new names in national cinema. It should not be surprising as it is a Russian festival. But merely looking through the titles of the films one understands that each of them is related to the search for a new film language and new aesthetics. There seems to be an entire epoch between “Roads to Koktebel” by Alexei Popogrebsky and Boris Khlebnikov and “Shapiteau show” by Sergei Loban, while a whole tradition and a whole school loom behind Marina Razbezhkina’s “Harvest Time”. Turning to the most recent past we discover that these brilliant moves which premiered in Moscow are joined by the no less striking cinematic events “Yes and Yes” by Valeria Gay Germanika, “Dear Hans” by Alexandr Mindadze, “The Bottomless Sack” by Rustam Khamdamov. It is worth remembering that the Moscow Festival was the venue for the world premieres of such epoch-making national movies as “Boomer” by Pyotr Buslov, “Night Watch” by Timur Bekmambetov, “Dukhless” by Roman Prygunov (whose debut work “Loneliness of the Blood” was first screened in Moscow).
 
The MIFF is not so much a festival of debuts as of special optics which allows the jury to see something which might not be readily evident. The story of each movie’s way to and from Moscow and into the big world could be turned into a separate plot like the story of “Amateur” and its victory in Moscow helping Krzysztof Kieslowski to hold out at the time of the impending martial law in Poland. Today the Moscow Film Festival invites the viewers to see those very famous films – not famous but legendary, not legendary but great. 
 
Igor Saveliev