The opening of the Message to Man International Film Festival will feature the Russian premiere of the Golden Lion winner at the recent Venice Film Festival, Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland. Aside from this high-profile event, many others are planned in the programme as well, including the first screenings in the International Documentary competition, as well as offline Q&As with filmmakers taking part in the National Competition and director Ivan Tverdovskiy (Conference).
“LA MAMI”, directed by Laura Herrero Garvín (2019)
Dom Kino is hosting screenings of the first two installments of the International Competition. Here is film critic Ksenia Rozhdestvenskaya on Laura Herrero Garvín’s film La Mami, which is included in the first installment: “La Mami shows the other side of cabaret: a world in which no men are present, and women want sleep, money and peace, in no particular order. In her second feature film, Laura Herrero Garvín (The Swirl) perfects the fly-on-the-wall technique to such a degree that La Mami sometimes seems like a play.” Both installments will be followed by online Q&As with the directors.
“THE GOLDEN BUTTONS”, directed by Alex Evstigneev (2020)
Out of the first two installments of the national competition, our recommendation is to take note of The Golden Buttons by VGIK graduate Alex Evstigneev. Film critic Mikhail Zakharov, who writes for the festival’s social networks, put this documentary on his Messages list of 15 films not to be missed. He comments: “Evstigneev makes the National Guard cadet school a starting point for a reflection on contemporary Russian society. The film, which is a series of portraits of young cadets with various background sounds—from religious Orthodox lessons to military drill—won the IDFA Talent Award at the Visions du Réel festival.” Post-screening offline Q&A with the director will be held.
“SUNLESS SHADOWS”, directed by Mehrdad Oskouei (2019)
Panorama.doc programme features two powerful documentaries on the situation of women in the Middle East: Sunless Shadows by Mehrdad Oskouei and The Cave by Feras Fayyad. The former tells a story of a correctional center in Iran, where young women are serving time for killing their male relatives for various reasons; the latter is about female doctors working in an underground hospital in Syria.
“UPPERCASE PRINT”, directed by Radu Jude (2020)
The Superreal Cinema programme includes two striking festival films: an inventive documentary by Romanian Radu Jude about the confrontation between a graffiti artist and the authorities during the reign of Ceaușescu (Uppercase Print) and a therapy session from the legendary Chilean avant-garde artist Alejandro Jodorowsky (Psychomagic, a Healing Art). Film critic Alexei Filippov notes in his review of Uppercase Print: “As he continues to explore the shift to the right in the Romanian society, Jude recovers this little national hero—the opposite of Pavlik Morozov—from the last decade of Ceaușescu’s reign.”
“CONFERENCE”, directed by Ivan Tverdovskiy (2020)
Rodina cinema is doing a special screening of Conference: a reenactment of the Nord-Ost events from Ivan Tverdovskiy, one of Russia’s leading young directors. Film critic Anton Dolin notes on the film: “In spite of its emotionality, overwhelming at times, Tverdovsky’s film, in a rather academic manner, tries to answer the question about the language which makes it possible and, moreover, appropriate to talk about such incurable traumas.” An offline Q&A will be held with the filmmaker after the screening.
“CITY OF WOMEN”, directed by Federico Fellini (1980)
In the evening, as part of the “Gender Without Borders” retrospective, which is dedicated to Federico Fellini’s 100th anniversary, his City of Women will be screened in the main room of Aurora cinema. It is an immersion in the mind of an aging womanizer Snàporaz (Marcello Mastroianni), a place inhabited only by women: carefree girls, former lovers and staunch feminists.