“Blockade Diary” won at the Moscow International Film Festival, for which the director was threatened

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The 42nd MIFF ended with the victory of the film “Blockade Diary” by Andrey Zaitsev. Presenting the award, the president of the jury Timur Bekmambetov explained what he and his colleagues were guided by in choosing the owner of the Golden George. His words stirred up those who, long before the festival, had already launched another campaign of “murder” around this picture.

The most famous filmmaker to enter the competition, South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki Duk, received nothing. The picture he shot in Kazakhstan was probably the worst.

What did Bekmambetov mean when presenting the main award of the film festival

As Timur Bekmambetov formulated the essence of the main award, it was not given for professional skill, not for the successful work of an actor or cameraman, it is a prize for the message with which the authors address the viewer. And they say the following: we live in difficult times, we spray antiseptics on the microphone, many trials still await us, but the biggest sin is despondency, and we will survive everything and become better. Bekmambetov quoted the words of one of the heroes of the “Blockade Diary” that there were times more terrible.

Touched Andrei Zaitsev, having a hard time going through the persecution unfolded around his not yet released film, read the poem “Great-great-great-grandchildren” by Korney Chukovsky. It was written in 1944 and dedicated to the Leningrad children, and there are the following lines: “Will rush over you / Year after year / And you will become old people …”

Visiting various international festivals, Andrei told his colleagues that he was going to shoot a film about the siege of Leningrad, and none of them understood what it was all about. Everyone remembers the Holocaust, but no one knows about our victims. “We do not remind, and it turns out that this did not happen, and the suffering of people went like water to sand. Everything can happen again. The film was shot so that we don’t forget anything, ”said Andrei Zaitsev.

For the male role, the Israeli actor and director Gur Bentwich was noted, who played practically himself in his own film “Like Cheese in Butter”. He dreamed of coming to Moscow with his wife, who also starred in the film, but in the end he had to appeal to those who gathered for the ceremony, from the screen, while on a deserted street in Tel Aviv. As if by chance, Bentwich walked past the historic building of the very first city cinema, located next to his house. But the director cannot have anything accidental. It turned out original.

For the best female role in absentia, the aspiring British actress Megan Purvis, who is still little known even in her country, was awarded. Some have compared her to Bjork in Dancing Darkness. Megan played the main role in the debut “Hilda” of the aspiring filmmaker Rishi Palam, awarded at the Moscow International Film Festival “Silver George” for directorial work. In order for the actress to be saturated with the sensations necessary for the role, he threw her into the hottest places of London. As the director himself said: “Megan plowed all year before filming.”

The jury is this humble family story in its unusual form. She is told through music and dance. Rishi Palam recalls: “I don’t know how we managed to make the film. There were so many obstacles on our three-year journey. The film crew of 16 people worked, performing 450 functions. We were told: “We need bright stars, otherwise nothing will work.” But I haven’t seen anyone starring other than Megan. I look at my generation and understand that dreams do not always come true. The festival is the place where you can bring up young people, give them the opportunity to feel the wings behind their backs. ”

Two awards for one film indicate that either everyone really liked it, which raises some doubts (there is nothing original in it), or it was difficult to come to an understanding on competing films, as is often the case in the jury. Timur Bekmambetov did not hide: the discussions were heated.

The special prize was awarded to the film “In the Shadows” by the Turkish director Erdem Tepegez, who seven years ago received the “Golden George” at the 35th Moscow International Film Festival for the film “Particle”. The wording of the new award says that the film challenges the humanity of our world, in which there is almost no humanity left. Even in the darkest times, according to the jury, you can see the light.

The director dedicated the picture to his uncle, whom he lost a month ago. His death was related to a work injury. “In the Shadows” just tells about a monster enterprise devouring human lives. The film was filmed somewhere in Georgia at an abandoned mining and processing enterprise of the Soviet era, and the “relics” of the recent past were captured by the Armenian cameraman Hayk Kirakosyan, who made a short speech from the stage in Russian.

For covid times, the presence of even a few laureates from the UK and Turkey is already a luxury. One of the jury members, British critic Brian Weiner, arrived in Moscow with his wife and children, and is completely happy. Eight days from the Russian capital were a revelation for him.

The competition for non-fiction films was won by the South Korean Nocturne by Gwangcha Chon – a delicate and tender film about a musician with an autistic disorder. The jury had plenty to choose from. The documentary program of the festival is traditionally strong.

In the short film competition, the best was the film with the symbolic title for the current masked times “I’m afraid to forget your face.” Even at the closing of the festival, many did not recognize each other. This small picture was shot by a native of Egypt Samekh Alad, who was educated in Europe.

Svetlana Druzhinina was awarded a special prize from the Moscow International Film Festival for many years of service to the art of cinema. She delegated Dmitry Kharatyan to receive the award. And from the stage they read her words of gratitude: “I cannot attend the award. Work work work….” As Dmitry Kharatyan explained to us, the restless Svetlana Druzhinina is shooting the fourth “Midshipmen” and is preparing to work on the next sequel, already the fifth. Moreover, she worked while in self-isolation at the height of the pandemic.

In the absence of Nikita Mikhalkov, who never appeared at the festival (they say that he is in quarantine), the traditional clapperboard ritual, symbolizing the closing of the 42nd Moscow International Film Festival, had to be performed by the Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova. She expressed the hope that at the next festival we will all be able to hug and kiss, as is customary in the cinematic environment. The 43rd Moscow International Film Festival is planned to be held in April.