The weekly marathon of the 42nd MIFF of the COVID-19 era has ended. On the evening of October 8, the jury delivered its verdict. And this happened after the signing of the “MK” issue to print. However, the first results were announced a little earlier. The Audience Award went to Andrei Zaitsev’s Blockade Diary, who was hunted down by ardent activists, as usual, who had not seen the film, but who immediately supported their protest with the views of the blockade. Thus, the festival will cool hot heads.
The pandemic has contributed to some qualitative shifts. The festival program includes pictures that, in a different scenario, we might not have seen. As the producer Alexander Rodnyansky said, presenting “The Fisherman’s Daughter”, giving the film at the Moscow International Film Festival, he proceeded from the fact that this is a live festival and it would be wrong to postpone the life of the film for a long time. Festivals go online one after another. Gur Bentvich spoke about how to properly promote cinema in the Israeli competition film Like Cheese in Oil. His hero was a director on the verge of a nervous breakdown, whose film had a mediocre advertising campaign, in fact, like the films of Bentwich himself, which he was not afraid to admit. Everything was in his life: heart attacks and creative failures, like the hero of the film, whom he himself played. “He’s stuck in the past like a dinosaur. My films are also difficult to sell, because they are comic and tragic, it is not clear what genre they belong to, ”he said.
One of the best films – the Romanian “Election Campaign” by Marian Crisana – was awarded by the Federation of Cinema Clubs, and these are the best viewers who promote cinema. The FIPRESCI jury preferred the British film Hilda by Rishi Palam.
There was no wide world spectrum in the competition, but two films from Kazakhstan took part at once, and one of them was shot by the South Korean director Kim Ki Duk. Kazakhstan was also represented by Zhanna Isabayeva’s Fate, created in the tradition of South Korean cinema, and sometimes referring to the aesthetics of Aleksey Balabanov. A 19-year-old boy comes from the village to work in the capital. Like a fairytale hero, he stands at a fork in three roads. If you walk along two of them, you will find misfortune, and only the third can lead to a wedding. Scrolls through three plot twists. Life in a big city without loved ones, lodging for the night, with an empty wallet becomes a bitter experience for the hero. Zhanna Isabaeva herself is tempting fate: from Alma-Ata she moved to California, believing that it is better to work as a waitress in Los Angeles than to make an independent film in Kazakhstan. She never received any support there, she worked at her own peril and risk.
The Barren Bride has expanded the geography, but it is not a familiar sight from Bollywood, with songs and dances, although director Jadab Manant writes songs. The film tells about the tradition of the patriarchal state of India, where the director is from, – a holiday in honor of the onset of menstruation. The heroine has a problem with this, and the whole village is aware of this. And some heroes illustrated by their own example all the secrets of physical love, captured on the walls of ancient temples.
As never before, in the competition, which consisted of 13 films, there were many Russian films – five, two of which were joint productions. This is due to the epidemic.
In the out-of-competition program, they showed a lot of excellent pictures, sometimes unexpected, like “SPA” by Guillaume Niklou. Writer Michel Houellebecq and Gerard Depardieu starred in this extremely witty French comedy, and played themselves in the proposed circumstances. They are undergoing treatment at a thalassotherapy center in the seaside Cabourg, as they can follow a diet, while drinking a lot, despite the prohibitions. In the “SPA” vacationers do not give a passage to the writer and the actor, they confess their love, and only one nervous patient will throw in their face: “You are the disgrace of France.” How Depardieu played it! Brilliant, witty work that once again testifies to what a powerful artist he is. An 80-year-old lady who ran away from her husband with a young dark-skinned lover, having met Depardieu, will say words of support to him: “I also love Putin, Gerard.” We heard these words on the birthday of our president.
In the “Prague Orgy” by the director of the Czechoslovak cinema, Irena Pavlazkova, who was sent back in 1976, Brezhnev is constantly remembered, who turned into a world evil. Viewers of even the older generation are confused: is this a comedy or is it all serious? The events of the Cold War period and the ranks associated with it only now look comical. American writer Nathan Zuckerman is trying to find valuable manuscripts in socialist Czechoslovakia. Under the watchful eye of the secret police, in Prague he meets the writer Olga, known in bohemian circles as the lady showing the crotch. This bold role was elegantly and funny played by the Russian actress Ksenia Rappoport. Irena Pavlazkova managed to tell gracefully and with humor about a terrible, in fact, time in which people knew how to enjoy life, despite continuous obstacles.