Russian films get online festival boost

The Fourth Double Dv@ Online Festival of Russian Film gives quality Russian films that did not make it to general release another chance to reach a wider audience.

The Double Dv@ Festival will run from March 26 to April 12. It features two programs: "Unknown Russian Movies – Masterpieces on Show" and “Animation XXI." Films are available for 48 hours, and viewers can watch them online at any time they want during that period. The programs change over at 3 p.m. Moscow Time each day.

The program includes films from Andrey Zvyagintsev, Alla Surikova, Karen Shaknazarov and Valery Todorovsky, among others. The films will be shown in Russian, but "The Banishment" by Andrey Zvyagintsev and "Anna Karenina" by Sergei Solovyov will be shown with English subtitles.

The festival opens with Aleksandr Proshkin’s "Expiation" – a story about the first New Year’s celebrations after World War II, in a devastated Southern city. Enemies still at large are hunted down against a background of love and betrayal, in a world still coming to terms with peace.

"We’re not a showcase for new releases at this festival, although there are certainly some in the program," blogs Valery Kichin, the Festival’s curator, as well as a film critic and columnist for Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Video interview with Valery Kichin, the Festival’s curator. Source: RBTHvideo

"Instead, we’re giving a second premiere for movies that never got a proper release. A few of them might have had a couple of screenings in isolated Moscow cinemas, or perhaps in a tiny number of Russia’s major cities. But they’ve never reached the majority of potential viewers, those people who love great filmmaking.

We received tons of mail after the first three festivals, saying "We had no idea that they were making films like this in Russia!" And that is why Double Dv@ is needed", Kichin continues.

"We need Double Dv@ as an outlet to offer excellent Russian movies the chance to find their audience. Some of these films were made a few years ago, and you might have seen a few of them at an art-house cinema, or on late-night TV. But they’ve been all but invisible for most people. By distributing them on the internet, we hope we can make them accessible for everyone," Valery Kichin wrote.

Among the older movies to be screened at the festival will be Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “The Banishment,” which has proved to be a hit at international film festivals. It will be shown online April 10 and 11.

Source: Youtube

“Another major festival release will be Sergei Solovyov’s long-awaited “Anna Karenina,” (will be online April 1 and 2) which is particularly significant following the success that Joe Wright’s “Anna Karenina” had in Russian cinemas and the showing of Solovyov’s version on Russia’s Channel One.

We’re programming this film in conjunction with the release of Solovyov’s more recent masterpiece, “2-Assa-2.” These two films were made simultaneously, and with the same cast – the link between them is on both a formal and mystical level,” says Kichin.

Source: Youtube

Viewers will be able to vote for films they enjoy – the festival is set up to collect feedback and let directors know what viewers really think about their films when they finally have the chance to see them.


Main Competition

March 26–28

Expiation (Drama, 120 minutes. 2012). Director: Aleksandr Proshkin

It’s New Year’s Eve, 1946. War is over, the foreign enemy is beaten, but the enemy within manifests itself in everyone you meet – even your own mother. Expiation is a film about a man beyond the edge of salvation, about a love that is capable pulling him back from the depths of despair.

Expiation won the award for “Best Artistic Contribution” at the World Film Festival in Montreal in 2012.

March 27–28

Don’t Leave Me (Melodrama, 113 minutes. 2006). Writer and Director: Alla Surikova

Don’t Leave Me is an amusing and tearful tale of life in the big city, in a provincial theatre and in one particular family. After a trip to the South, a young wife receives a love letter. How does her jealous husband react?

The film was awarded “Best Director” at the Gatchina Festival; Film selected for Russian Film Weeks in Austria, Germany, India and China.

March 28–29

Innocent Saturday (Social Dram, 99 minutes. 2011). Writer and Director:Aleksandr Mindadze

The events of the film take place on April 26, 1986 – the day the Chernobyl disaster shook the world. The central character is one of the first to find out about the catastrophe, and he is faced with the dilemma of either warning the city’s residents, or following strict orders to keep “state secrets” under wraps.

The film was selected for the competition section of the Berlin International Film Festival.

March 29–30

The Target (Sci-fi Drama, based on a story by Vladimir Sorokin, 158 minutes. 2010). Director: Alexander Zeldovich

The scene is a prosperous Russia in the not-too-distant year 2020. The Chinese language has taken an equal footing alongside Russian. The main characters are what people call the elite – the rich and the famous. Yet they are still unhappy; they cannot escape time and the ageing process. In search of eternal youth, they are sent to Altai, where an abandoned space research center is still leaking miraculous fluids.

The film was selected for the panorama section of the Berlin International Film Festival.

Special Screening (not part of main competition)

March 28-29

Lost in Siberia (Drama, 140 minutes, 1991). Director: Alexander Mitta

A young British archaeologist is working on an excavation in Iran. Soviet secret agents mistake him for an American spy, seize him and take him back to the Soviet Union. After an interrogation using secret techniques, he confesses his guilt and is sent to a Gulag prison. The film is based on a real-life story.

Main Competition

 March 30–31

Dedicated to Alexander Ostrovsky (on the playwright's 190th birthday)

Dark Kingdom (90 minutes each. 2012). Writer and Director: Oleg Babitsky & Yuri Goldin

The entire project is comprised of four films: Talents and AdmirersThe ForestEasy Money; and It’s a Family Affair-We'll Settle It Ourselves. The attraction of the project is not only in its fresh presentation of these classic comedies (they may be modern, but they offer a fascinating glimpse of their era), but also the chance to see the work of amazing theatre actors whom few moviegoers would know.

March 31–April 1

Dedicated to Alexander Ostrovsky

Russian Money (110 minutes. 2006). Writer and Director: Igor Maslennikov

The film is a screen version of Alexander Ostrovsky’s classic comedyWolves and Sheep. The first part of the project is called Russian Money. The second part, Subtle Bribes, is based on the play A Profitable Position, while the third part, Gone Bust, is based on the play It’s a Family Affair-We'll Settle It Ourselves. The trilogy is conceived of by its director as a real-life story of the eternal Russian problem of bad debts, vicious creditors and tragic bankruptcy.

April 1–2

2-Assa-2Anna Karenina (72 + 120 minutes. 2008). Writer and Director:Sergei Solovyov

Sergei Solovyov’s movies are thought of as duologues. The author explains his ideas like this: “In my film 2-Assa-2, the main character is a film director, Pyotr Gorevoy, who is making a movie about Anna Karenina – and the credits of Anna Karenina are supposed to read ‘Written and directed by Pyotr Gorevoy.’ The main role is listed as Tatyana Drubich, with Alika Aldanova as Assa. So the cinema version of Anna Karenina is not a short version of a television series, but a different film entirely. The episodes are similar, the cast is the same, but it’s different...”

April 2–3

Once Upon a Time in the Provinces (Contemporary Drama, 112 minutes. 2008). Writer and Director: Yekaterina Shagalova

This film is a fascinating attempt to move the action of Tennessee Williams’ play, A Streetcar Named Desire, to modern-day Russia. A young actress goes home to her provincial town, with shattered dreams of making a hit in the capital. She is taken in by her sister, whose husband is a war veteran from the Chechnya campaign. The family’s skeletons are let out of the closet with humiliation, brutality and – in spite of everything – love.

April 3–4

Ward No. 6 (Dram, 107 minutes. 2009). Director: Karen Shakhnazorov

Chekhov’s short story is brought to the screen by Karen Shakhnazarov and Alexander Borodyansky. A doctor in a mental hospital falls under the spell of his patient’s intellect and begins to realize that real insanity is a life beyond the hospital walls. The film was devised over the course of 20 years, with the participation of Marcello Mastroianni; it was filmed in 2009 with the astonishing talents of Vladimir Ilyin and Aleksey Vertkov. The events of Chekhov’s play are moved to the present day, and the film opens with interviews with real psychiatric patients.

April 4–5

Vice (Thriller, 125 minutes. 2007). Director: Valery Todorovsky

Vice is the story of a man whose life becomes confused and derailed. Denis is a successful DJ, as well as a romantic with big plans and serious ambitions. One day, he succumbs to the temptation of making a quick buck – and it destroys his life. Drug trafficking is a bloody business, and competition is not tolerated...

April 5–6

The Man Who Knew Everything (Sci-fi Drama, 106 minutes. 2009). Director: Vladimir Mirzoyev

The film is based on Igor Sakhnovsky’s novel about an “old-timer young man” who, after an attempt to take his own life, discovers that he has acquired the uncanny ability to see the future. People begin to hunt him down. “In modern life, a person’s vulnerability and his tendency to be a victim become second-nature,” the director says of the underlying metaphor. “He even begins to derive a peculiar pleasure from it, and convinces himself that everyone lives like this.”


Special Screening (not part of main competition)

April 8–9

Magnetic Storms (Social Drama, 93 minutes. 2003). Director: Vadim Abdrashitov

The film acts as a cardiogram of unsatisfied society in Russia on the cusp of a new millennium. Workers begin another strike and people man the barricades once again, attempting to defend their honor and right to life. Fate and family are shattered, but the fragments of these lives are miraculously rewoven, in order to continue the passage of suffering, fighting and the preservation of love.

April 9–10

Soviet Park (Comed, 124 minutes. 2006). Director: Yuli Gusman

Someone decides to open a theme park in the South of the country. The park gives visitors the chance to revisit the days of the Soviet Union, with its optimistic songs, richly-decorated Friendship of the Peoples, self-service cafeterias, plaster models of Young Communist Pioneers, a mustached Chapayev, and a miniature model Gulag, where you can sit out your own choice of sentence.

April 10–11

The Banishment (Drama, based on the book by William Saroyan, 150 minutes. 2007). Director: Andrei Zvyagintsev

“You want to kill? Then kill. You want to forgive? Then forgive!” is the slogan of Andrei Zvyagintsev’s second film. It should be of little surprise that the theme of the family once again takes center stage in the director’s work. This time, he does it from an entirely new perspective, setting the film in a mythical, unidentified country where nothing – not even license plates on cars – has any relation to any actual place or time. It is a personal story, but, at the same time, it is a parable about love, betrayal, death, choice and understanding.

Konstantin Lavronenko was awarded “Best Actor” at the Cannes Film Festival for his performance.

Animation Parade Competition

April 6–8

The animation competition is a benefit for Dmitry Geller, creator of "I Saw Mice Burying a Cat", "Boy", "The Little Night Symphony" and "The Sparrow who Kept His Word"Dmitry Geller is one of Russia’s most original artists and a proud representative of the of the Yekaterinburg school of animation. Geller rarely leaves international festivals empty-handed. His work has been shown at art exhibitions in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Washington and Copenhagen.

Once Upon A Time There Was Zina. Film by Alexander Belobokov. Alexander Belobokov is a documentary filmmaker and a laureate of the second Double Dv@ Film Festival. This film is so unusual that it defies categorization or attribution to any kind of genre – it exists at the intersection between documentary and animation.

One More Time. Film by students of Oscar-winner Aleksandr Petrov’s workshop. Directors: Tatyana Okruzhnova, Alina Yakhyaeva, Ekaterina Ovchinnikova, Natalia Pavlycheva, Yelena Petrova, Maria Arkhipova and Svetlana Toporskaya.

PilotA Dog Called Rozka (Directed by Andrei Sokolov), A Nasty Boy(Directed by Oleg Uzhinov). Alexander Tatarsky Film studio.

Vezukha: Off to Work Instead of Dad and VezukhaThe Loch Ness Monster Flea. Films from Metronom Studios.

Lullabies Around The World. From Britain, Ireland and Tatarstan.

All Year RoundFinches & CatsA Cat in SpringLittle Nut Tree.

Chucha (parts 1, 2, & 3). Puss in BootsAdagio. Films by Garry Bardin.

Special Program – The Films and Roles You Will Never See

April 11

Featuring projects by Vladimir Menshov and Vladimir Khotinenko, the program presents clips of films that were never completed.

A Salon DramaA musical by Vladimir Menshov, based on Ferenc Molnar’s play Olympia and starring Vera Alentova in the central role. “A luxuriant plot – diverting and witty. The plot contains even more intrigue than Pygmalion, I would say.” Filming began in 2005, but was never completed due to budgetary difficulties.

The Third Rome. A film by Vladimir Khotinenko. Screenplay by Pavel Finn. The events of the film take place in 1948. It is the story of street kids and is presented as a film within a film. “Our consciousness oscillates between pride and simple human dignity. It’s the balance that we seek to find in the film. That’s why this approach was chosen – the courtyard and the people who live there. What we find there, we can find everywhere in our country.” The film stars Mikhail Filipchuk, Nina Usatova, Yevgeny Mironov, Yevgeny Steblov and Aleksandr Baluev. Filming began in 1999, but was abandoned due to financial difficulties.

I Am The Seagull. A film by Georgi Parajanov about the tragic life of actress Valentina Karaeva, who shot to stardom after her 1942 film,Mashenka; her face was horrifically disfigured in a car accident, bringing her career to an untimely end. Hundreds of meters of film were found in her apartment after her death – she had privately filmed herself in the role of Nina Zarechnaya in The Seagull and watched the footage alone – confident in the knowledge that no audience would ever see it. 2000.

April 12

 Screening of the prize-winning films

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