Movies

Alexander Galich

Director / producer: Elena Yakovich
Russia. 2018. 125 min
Original Language: Russian

The film is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Alexander Galich’s birth. Why did a known playwright and screenwriter challenge authorities and choose the fate of a disgraced poet and emigrant? He tragically died in Paris, but his songs are still alive. The film uses never-before-seen footage from his personal archives in Russia and France. Starring Leonid Zorin, Yuliy Kim, Vladimir Voinovich, Pavel Lungin, Galina Volchek, Yuriy Kublanovsky, Alena Arkhangelskaya (Galich’s daughter), and others.

The Distant Barking of Dogs Director: Simon Lereng Wilmont
Producers: Monica Hellstrøm, Anders Bruus, Heidi Elise Christensen
Danmark / Ukraine. 2017. 90 min
Original Language: Ukranian

10 year-old Oleg lives in Eastern Ukraine, in a war-zone. Many have already fled this dangerous area, but Oleg is still there. He lives with his grandmother; his mother has passed away. There is nowhere else for the boy and his grandmother to go.

Awards, festivals: Robert Award for Best Documenrtary Feature, Bodil Award for Best Documentary, Denmark; Artdocfest – Grand Prix (2018, Russia)

SIMON VERSUS FEAR. THE VARSANO CASE

Director: Georgi Tenev
Producer: Martichka Bozhilova
AGITPROP Company, With the support of Bulgarian National Film Center
Bulgaria, 2018, 79 min

He is a medical photographer, a water polo competitor, a romantic, and a favorite of women. Overnight, he becomes a prisoner with his legs shot, an enemy of the regime, and a victim of political police. This nightmare remained in the 1980’s before the Berlin Wall’s collapse. Now for Simon Varsano everything will re-erupt, along with a video from the Communist State Security archives. A meeting with the past and a clash again: Simon versus Fear.

Awards, festivals: Golden Rhyton Bulgarian Documentary and Animated Film Festival — Special Mention.

To the Success of Our Hopeless Cause

Directors: Eugeny Golynkin, Nicola Miletich
Producer: Helena Polyakoskaya
Russia. 2018. 80 min
Original language: Russian

This film is about Soviet dissidents, who within a totalitarian regime fought to defend their basic human rights. Their relentlessness led to jail sentences and sometimes even cost them their lives. Today few remember them, and their favorite toast “to the success of our hopeless cause!” has almost been forgotten. But if it weren’t for them, there would have been no historic changes in the Soviet Union in the 80s, and there would have been no hope for a rebirth and freedom.

Awards, festivals: IFF Stalker – The Best Nonfiction Film; Special Jury Award, Prize for Human Rights named after Felix Svetov, Russia.

Oscar

Directors:geny Tsymbal, Alexander Smolyansky
Producer: Alexander Smolyansky
Russia, 2018, 90 min
Original language: Russian

This is the story of the most famous living Russian artist, Oscar Rabin, who challenged the Soviet communist system and managed to prevail. He showed how powerful a weapon of nonviolent resistance can be. It is a refugee success story: a story of love, art, and human dignity. The film shows a lot of archival footage for the first time. Among the narrators are writers Boris Akunin, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Vladimir Sorokin, and Alexander Gorodnitsky; historians Vyach. Ivanov, and Adam Michnik; artists Eric Bulatov, Ilya Kabakov, Oleg Tselkov and Vitaly Komar; and pianist Evgeny Kissin.

Awards, festivals: International Warsaw Film Festival – the Best Documentary; Honfleur IFF — Best Documentary, France; STALKER IFF — Special Jury Prize, Critics Guild Award, Moscow; Message to Man IFF– Official Selection, St. Petersburg; ARTDOCFEST — Official Selection, Moscow; LAVR National Award — Official Nomination, Moscow, and others.

ROMAS, THOMAS AND JOSEPH

Director: Lilia Vyugina
Producer: Teresa Rozanovska
Lithuania. 2018. 57 min
Original languages: Lithuanian, Russian

Poet Joseph Brodsky began to visit Lithuania frequently, where he not only wrote outstanding poems, but also healed spiritual wounds. In Vilnius, for the first time, Brodsky learned from his friend Thomas Venclova about an exiled Polish poet named Czeslaw Milosz, whom Venclova had met previously. Subsequently they helped Tomas Venclova leave the USSR. This trio of “sons of the century” bore destiny traits that were amazingly similar. All of them had left the Soviet Union, lived in the U.S., and were professors at American universities. Two have earned the Nobel Prize for Literature. All of the three poets are bound not only by the fate of emigration, but also by their love for Lithuania. Vilnius has provided a “chance of normality” for all these poets.

Awards, festivals: Literature on the Screen IFF, Gatchina, Russia, – The Best Nonfiction Film, 2018.

Insomnia

Director: Lera Latypova
Producers: Marusya Syroechkovskaya, Juliette Kazanave
Russia / Kazakhstan / France. 2018. 43 min.
Original Languages: Russian, English, French

Life in god-forsaken Kalachi village, Kazakhstan, changed dramatically after it was hit by an epidemic of mysterious sleeping sickness. Villagers were all of a sudden falling asleep on the streets and were sleeping for several days in a row. Now, after the sickness has quieted down, the village remains dreamlike. The last villagers cannot tell anymore whether they are asleep or not.

Awards, festivals: Artdocfest, 2018.

THE BOTTOM

Directors: Sergei Miroshnichenko, Angelina Golikova
Producer: Sergei Miroshnichenko
Russia. 2017. 90 min Part 2
Original Language: Russian

The docudrama “Dno” (The Bottom) is an investigation. What happened from February to October in 1917? How did the brilliant minds of Russia come to the idea of destroying monarchy? How did the military elite decide to change their leader on the background of military operations? How did the Church and people so quickly abandon the Tsar? The main characters of the film are historical personalities who were active participants in those events. Among the narrators are Sergei Batalov, Maxim Konovalov, Vladimit Grammatikov, and others.

Awards, festivals: International Award named after Vladimir the Great (2017, Russia)

Landscape of Music

Directors / producers: Petr Kelehtrishvili, Artem Ozhogov
Russia / Great Britain. 2019. 85 min.
Original languages: English, Russian

Four guys from Russia went on a 30-day biking trip from Liverpool to London looking for new world music stars. Concert halls and recording studios, rehearsal spaces and record labels, festivals, clubs, and streets. The result is the unique stories from the talented musicians and their live playing against the background of the most musical landscape in the world.

“Novaya Gazeta”

Director / producer: Askold Kurov
Russia. 2018. 80 min
Original language: Russian

“The New Newspaper” (Novaya Gazeta) was founded in 1993. This is one of the first independent publications in post-Soviet Russia. And one of the last. “Novaya Gazeta” often publishes high-profile investigations. It has won over 600 prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer prize, ECHO award, and three nominations for the Nobel Prize. The film “Novaya” is about the life of the publication in a time of limited free speech for the liberal opposition.

Awards, festivals: Special Mention at IFF “One World”, Brussels, 2019.

Parajanov, Tarkovsky, Antipenko. Light and Shadow

Director: Andrey Osipov
Producer; Ivan Ternovsky
Russia. 2018. 60 min
Original language: Russian

Poetic movie-essay on the verses of Arseniy Tarkovskiy solves the mystery of destiny and art of three remarkable film artists: Sergey Parajanov, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Alexander Antipenko.

Awards, festivals: NIKA, National Cinemas Prize, – The Best Nonfiction Film (Russia); Stalker, Artdocfest, etc.

Shamanic Lessons for Beginners

Director: Svetlana Stasenko
Producers: Lisa Antonova, Vlad Ketkovich
Russia / USA. 2018. 74 min
Original language: Russian

A Tuvan shaman is waiting for his apprentice, an American psychologist, who wants to open his “Third Eye”. Tuvans believe that all people have the “third eye”. If a shaman helps you to wake it up, you can become clairvoyant. But the psychologist has been immersed in a very complicated relationship with shamans.

White Mama

Directors: Zosya Rodkevich, Eugeniya Ostanina
Producer: Alexander Rastorguev, Ilya Malkin
Russia, 2018, 97 min
Original language: Russian

This screening is dedicated to a memory of Alexander Rastodguev (1971-2018)

Alina Makarova is a mother of six. Her former husband, the father of her biological children, is from Ethiopia. With her new husband Sergei she has adopted a white boy Daniel, who is psychologically unstable. The new addition puts a strain on the family, but they are convinced it is the right thing. The film takes the viewer directly through the family drama and their patience and fight for love.

Awards, festivals: Narional Prize LAVR 2018 (Russia), Award of The International Federation of Film Critics – IFF ‘Massage to Man’, Russia.

YOU BE THE JUDGE

Director, producer: Semyon Pinkhasov
USA. 2018. 50 min
Original language: English

Located between England and France, the Channel Islands are part of Great Britain, and the only British territory Nazi Germany occupied in 1940. Most of the Jewish people of the islands evacuated prior to invasion, but some remained. Germans asked the local authorities to identify Jews and to provide them with names for deportation. Were the British authorities complicit in assisting German demands? You be the judge.

#IAMAVOLUNTEER. THE STORIES OF EMPATHIC PEOPLE

Director: Olga Arlauskas
Producer: Nikita Tikhonov-Rau
Russia. 2018. 87 min
Original language: Russian

“The Stories of Empathic People” is the central film of the year about volunteers, the real heroes of our time, who usually stay unnoticed. This is the film about the people who find the time and strength to look for lost people, fight a fire, rebuild churches, save animals, and help people around the world. The film is made within the #Iamavolunteer media project.

Awards, festivals: Silver Mercury-2019.

Witnesses of Love

Director, producer: Natalya Gugueva
Russia. 2018. 65 min
Original language: Russian

“To settle for martyrdom and death for faith, a man must feel the reality of God and the reality of the other world.” The film is about the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia who martyred for the Orthodox faith during Stalin’s repressions.

Awards, festivals: National Prize LAVR (2018, Russia), Grand Prix – IFF «Pokrov», Kiev, Ukraine; Grand Prix – IFF “Snazhni Dukhom,” Serbia; Jury Special Mention – IFF “Radonezh”, Russia.

Let Me Live My Life

Director: Olga Averkieva
Russia, 2018, 44 min. Debut
Original language: Russian

The protagonists of the film grew up in an orphanage and live in a home for individuals with mental disabilities. For years they do not have the opportunity for independent life. Now they have a chance to become self-sufficient: if they receive a secondary education and undergo a medical examination, they can prove their capacity in court. On this life path Natasha, Guera, and Kolya meet.