Competitions and special programs

Superreal Cinema

This is the name we have given to our programme of films for which the good old understanding of realism is somehow no longer appropriate. And yet the majority of the films feature authentic events and real characters. Any fact, document or real object is material for interpretation. All film is built out of “rehabilitated” physical reality — and transforms it into artistic superreality.

Andrei Plakhov graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics of Lviv University and the Gerasimov State Institute of Cinematography. He holds a Candidate Degree in Art History and wrote his dissertation on “History and Myth in the Work of Luchino Visconti.” He is a columinst for Kommersant. He has served on and headed selection committees for the Moscow International Film Festival and other Russian festivals, and has served as a member of the jury for festivals in San Sebastian, Tokyo, Berlin, Karlovy Vary, and Venice. He was Secretary of the Board for the Union of Cinematographers and Chairman of the Conflict Commission, which removed more than 250 films from the “shelf” (1986-1990). He is a former president of FIPRESCI (2006-2010), and is currently the Honorary President of FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics). He is a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France and a laureate of the Nika Award and several other awards from the Film Critics’ Guild. He is the author of numerous articles and books.

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Curator of the program

Andrei Plakhov

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Panorama.doc

The Panorama.doc program traditionally offers viewers the most high-profile and significant documentary films of the year.

Alexei Medvedev was born in 1969 in Moscow. From 1989 to 1994 he studied film direction at the All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography (in the workshop of Arkady Sirenko). In the 90-s he pursued his career as journalist, film critic, translator. From 2000 to 2006 he was member of the selection committee of the Moscow International Film Festival. He worked as a director of programming for many film festivals including 2morrow (Moscow, 2007-2009), Zerkalo (Ivanovo, 2011), 2-in‑1 IFF of Contemporary Cinema, (Moscow, 2009-2012). From 2012, he has been one of the organizers of the Sakhalin IFF «On the Edge». He’s now curator of Yakutsk IFF.

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Curator of the program

Alexei Medvedev

Curator of the program

Natalia Pylaeva

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The Screen Touches Back

The program presents a collection of documentary / experimental films made over the past 10 years that explore the possibilities of cinema to convey tactile sensations.

Alena Koroleva graduated from the St. Petersburg State University of Cinema and Television, where she studied in the non-fiction workshop of M. Litvyakov and I. Kalinina. Author of several short documentaries. Co-founder and co-curator of experimental film festival Kinodot. Worked as an editor, video engineer and film director. Since 2012, she has been working as a member of selection committee and programme curator of Message to Man IFF.

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Curator of the program

Alena Korolyova

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Kazuo Hara Retrospective

Kazuo Hara is a legend of Japanese documentary film whose work remains relevant and acute today. Screenings of his films take place at cinemateques and film festivals around the world, from Hong Kong to New York. Our retrospective consists of the three films that most vividly reflect the particular characteristics of Hara’s directing style and vision, his most celebrated films. His debut, Goodbye CP (1972), is about an activist leading the fight against the prejudice surrounding those with cerebral palsy. Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974 (1974) is a masterpiece of autobiographical documentary filmmaking, the protagonist of which is Hara himself at the moment in his life where his wife leaves him and invites him to shoot her new life and new love. And his most famous film is The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987), which uncovers cannibalism in the Japanese army during World War II. His films touch on acute social questions, while also being extremely attentive to the personal. He selects uncomfortable, unpleasant material. His style, which is far from objective, could be called uncompromising, harsh, and a little wild, just like the people in his films. In Hara’s documentaries, there is a level of openness that is unprecedented for the time: a baby might be born on camera, or one subject might beat another half to death. It is possible that this level of openness and immediacy may have reached its maximum, which no one after him will be able to replicate. Hara has been able to combine his skill as a director/observer with a no-holds-barred sensibility, and this is why he will remain in the history of film.
The director will be there in person for the screenings as a part of the 29th Message to Man Film Festival.

Natalia Pylaeva is a festival organizer and curator. In 2017, she graduated from the Russian State University of Humanities with an MA in Film Studies. She used to work for int’l festivals as coordinator and director of translation dept (Moscow International Film Festival, 2-in‑1 IFF of Contemporary Cinema, Beat Film Festival, 360° Science and Technology Film Festival). Later became involved in programming (for 2-in‑1 IFF and The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art). Since 2012, Natalia has been curating the documentary program for Sakhalin IFF «On the Edge».

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Curator of the program

Natalia Pylaeva

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Chantal Akerman Retrospective

Chantal Akerman (1950—2015) was born in Belgium and worked mostly in New York and Paris; her primary influences were the French New Wave and American avant-garde cinema. Akerman started making films as early as late 1960s but it wasn’t until the 2000s and especially the 2010s that her work received recognition and was included into the art film canon. Her film Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, released when Akerman was just 25, is now a staple in film schools’ curricula all over the world.

Akerman’s films eschew labels and definitions, including national attribution: she remained a nomadic filmmaker throughout her life, her films being made in the US, France, Belgium, Mexico, Israel, Germany, Cambodia, Russia. This feeling of homelessness determines Akerman’s aesthetics, from the short Blow Up My Town and her first feature Je Tu Il Elle (in which the 24-year-old Akerman daringly gets in front of the camera) to the farewell documentary No Home Movie, dedicated to the director’s relationship with her dying mother.

The idea of “home” is contemplated at almost every film of the retrospective: Jeanne Dielman, in which the titular hero has grown so much into her apartment that its postal address has stuck to her name; Anna’s Meetings, in which a globetrotting director travels across Europe, from one hotel room to another; No Home Movie, a laconic experimental film on the experience of emigration. Even D’Est (From the East), an almost wordless travelogue set in the 1990s Russia.

Andrei Kartashov was born in Leningrad in 1991. He is a film critic, theorist, and curator. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philology (St. Petersburg State University, 2012) and a master’s degree in film and media studies (University of Kansas, 2018). He has been an editor of the journal Seans (2014-2016), and he has also published in Bumaga, Kommersant-Weekend, KinoPoisk, Kino TV¸ MUBI, and many other publications. He has been awarded the Mikhail Levitin Prize from the Guild of Russian Film Theorists and Film Critics (2015) and a Fulbright scholarship (2016). He is a member of FIPRESCI.

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Curator of the program

Andrei Kartashov

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The Collapse of Socialism: 30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall

The central link in the chain reaction of the collapse of the global system of socialism, preceding the dissolution of the USSR, was the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany: the symbolic culmination of the political history of the second half of the 20th century. This programme, which coincides with the 30th anniversary of this event, aims at examining the contradictions and causes that led to the defeat of the socialist regimes at the end of the 1980s and the early 1990s, as well as the ambiguous consequences of their ruin. The crisis of the planned economy and the transition to a free market, de-Sovietisation and the establishment of a new ideology, the rise of nationalism and nostalgia for the “Third Way” – these are the subjects of the selected films, which describe the aforementioned processes both from within and from a historical distance.

Alexei Artamonov is a curator of film programs and a film critic. He has written about music and film for Seans, Iskusstvo Kino, Afisha, Interview Russia, W-O-S, Look at Me, Colta.ru, Kommersant-Weekend, and other publications. He has worked as an editor for Seans, the film section of the site Teoriya i Praktika, and the site syg.ma. He is a curator of programs for the Moscow International Film Festival Media Forum, the Message to Man festival, and the Lisbon & Sintra Film Festival. He is a program director for the New Holland International Festival of Debut Cinema.

Katerina Beloglazova was born in Moscow in 1987. She is a film critic and a curator of film programs. She has written for Seans, Colta.ru, Iskusstvo Kino, Aroundart.ru, and Kino-TV. She curated the 2017 summer film program for the Garage Screen movie theater at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as the programs “East to West, West to East” and “Japanese B Movies,” which ran from December 2017 to January 2018 at the Garage Museum. Together with Alexei Artamonov, she curated the special film program “Resistance: 1968-2018” for the 28th Message to Man International Film Festival. Since 2013, she has worked as the permanent curator and head of the Film Club of the Moscow School of New Cinema.

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Curator of the program

Alexei Artamonov

Curator of the program

Katerina Beloglazova

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Nordic Avant-Garde

This five-part programme encompasses both classical and contemporary works by filmmakers and video artists from the Nordic countries. Instead of a futile striving for an account of the major currents or dominant trends of the times, these programmes aim to compare different temporalities, ways of seeing, reading, and hearing. We hope this will allow these works to resonate together in a different register and to appear in a new light.

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Curator of the program

Martin Grennberger

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Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography: 100 Years

As a part of the 29th Message to Man International Festival of Documentary, Short Narrative, and Animated Films, the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography presents a special program in honor of the 100th anniversary of the institute, which includes thesis and course work by maestros of Russian cinema, Fyodor Bondarchuk, Andrei Konchalovsky, Nikita Mikhalkov, and Karen Shakhnazarov, as well as thesis films by recent graduates.

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The Golden Unicorn

The Golden Unicorn, a cross-cultural prize, was created in 2016 to have contemporary Russian film evaluated and recognized by a respected international jury, while at the same time, a jury of Russian experts awards the best foreign films with Russian themes. The awards are given out during a charity dinner in London in the last quarter of every year. The Golden Unicorn is among the three most prestigious film awards in Russia, bringing together a majority of the people in the film industry and allowing Russian cinema to be recognized on an international level. Any filmmaker can submit their film, provided it fits the criteria. The nominating committee openingly and transparently selects the films that are nominated from films that have been officially submitted. The jury votes from among the films that were nominated. The categories of “Best Foreign Film with Russian Themes” and “Best Foreign Documentary Film About Russia” merit special attention. The organizing committee closely follow how Russia is being depicted on film abroad. 2018 was the first year that the festival was held in Russia and a retrospective was shown that consisted of films nominated in these two categories. The tradition will continue this year. The Golden Unicorn will be held in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Voronezh, and Tobolsk as a social and cultural program.

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