The Message to Man International Film Festival is closing with the Russian premiere of Gunda. This new film by the famous documentary filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky is a black-and-white silent portrait of Norwegian farm animals: a breeding pig, a one-legged chicken and two cows. Much like in his Oscar-nominated Aquarela, the author presents a radically non-human view of the world around us. In addition, the programme includes reruns of the animated films and two feature installments, four films in the Superreal Cinema section (Days, Beginning, The Salt of Tears, and Psychomagic, a Healing Art), as well as three films of the Panorama.doc programme (Assassins, Winter Journey, and The Kingmaker).
“BELLA”, directed by Thelyia Petraki (2020)
The first installment of the International Competition features the Russian premiere of Bella, one of the year’s best short films by the Greek directress Thelyia Petraki. Film critic Mikhail Zakharov notes: “Petraki masterly combines archive footage with a fictional story, creating a portrait of a middle-aged Greek woman, separated from her diplomat husband. She lives in Athens in the late 1980s, single-handedly raising two children and sending him home videos on tapes; he works in the Soviet Union and is growing increasingly detached from her. A personal story placed in the context of major geopolitical changes gradually attains a truly global scale.”
“UMBILICAL”, directed by Danski Tang (2019)
Dom Kino hosts the Animation competition, which, like no other, reflects one of the festival’s major trends: nearly all of the nine animated films presented in the programme were made by women; most of them are vivid feminist works. Two documentaries about female sexuality stand out: Just a Guy by Shoko Hara is a gothic plasticine animated short in the true crime genre about the serial killer and rapist Richard Ramirez and the many women who corresponded with him by mail, including the filmmaker herself; Umbilical by Danski Tang is an extremely personal short animated film about the abusive relationship between the filmmaker’s parents that shaped her personality.
“THE KINGMAKER”, directed by Lauren Greenfield (2020)
Panorama.doc programme presents a selection of films. Assassins by Emmy-nominated Ryan White is a detective documentary about how two women convinced that they are participating in a comedy show kill the brother of the North Korean dictator in broad daylight. The Kingmaker tells the story of Imelda Marcos, the widow of another famous dictator, who rewrites history of the Philippines after the death of her husband Ferdinand. Winter Journey by Anders Østergaard reveals a little-known page from the history of German Jews.
“PSYCHOMAGIC, A HEALING ART”, directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky (2019)
Superreal Cinema programme features a black-and-white aesthetic melodrama about the love quadrangle (The Salt of Tears by the French classic Philippe Garrel); a promising debut film about a sectarian in search of freedom (Beginning by the Georgian filmmaker Déa Kulumbegashvili); a meditative story about an aging man meeting a young masseur (Days by the Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang); a therapy session from the legendary Chilean avant-garde artist Alejandro Jodorowsky (Psychomagic, a Healing Art).