XXXII Message to Man International Film Festival Announced Competition Programmes

The jury and the audience will have an opportunity to see 50 films on the competition programme, including 19 Russian movies and 11 world premieres.

ХХХII Message to Man International Film Festival that will be held on October 21–29 in St. Petersburg has finalized its competition programmes. The jury and the audience will watch 50 films presented in three programmes: International Competition, National Competition and In Silico Experimental Competition. The screenings will take place in city’s major cinema theatres: Avrora, Rodina, Velikan, Dom Kino, Lendoc, as well as at «Word order» bookstore.

24 films have been selected for the International Competition programme this year. These are full-length documentaries as well as short films in various genres (documentary, animation, and feature).  Speaking of the International Competition, Message to Man Creative Producer Andrey Vasilenko notes:

As in previous years, this year’s Festival’s International Competition programme consists of films that showcase a wide range of themes and expressive means that directors use to create bold artistic statements      . This year we realize more than ever that our most important value is the search for mutual understanding. The characters of the competition films are very different people whose lives are full of memorable events and difficult situations in which they remain true to their convictions, yet are always ready for a dialogue.

Cinematographers choose a wide range of narrative methods and look at their characters in different ways: they observe from a distance, trying to create a collective portrait of the country, like in Ruslan Fedotov’s “Where are We Headed”, or they start a bold experiment which turns into a new round of fierce disputes about a bygone era, like in the “Nicolae” by Mihai Grecu.

From the gripping story of two teenage moviegoers in Yugoslavia right before its collapse  (“The Eagle’s Nest”) to a rigorous analysis of the dark nature of totalitarianism in the form of an essay film (“Tyranny”), or contemplating about life and death, through an elegant formalist experiment (“Tiger Stabs Tiger”). Cinema continues to be a language that can describe the world in which we live.”

The full-length documentary films on the International Competition Programme:

  • Where are We Headed, dir. Ruslan Fedotov, Belarus, Russia, 2021
  • Nicolae, dir. Mihai Grecu, France, 2022
  • Turn Your Body to the Sun, dir. Aliona van der Horst, Netherlands, 2022
  • Holidays, dir. Antoine Cattin, Switzerland, 2022
  • Things I Could Never Tell My Mother, Humaira Bilkis, Bangladesh, 2022

Short feature films:

  • Affect, Timofey Anisimov, Russia, 2022
  • Visiting Time, Vahid Sedaghat, Iran, 2022
  • Manta Ray, dir. Anton Bialas, France, 2022
  • Chicken, Mikaël Gaudin, France, 2021
  • The Inspection, dir. Caroline Brami, Frédéric Bas, France, 2021
  • The Eagle’s Nest, dir. MIlija Šćepanović, Montenegro, 2022

Animation short films:

  • Oneluv, dir. Varya Yakovleva, Russia, 2022
  • Miracasas, dir. Raphaëlle Stolz, Switzerland, 2022
  • Tiger Stabs Tiger, dir. Jie Shen, China, 2022
  • No Name Cat, dir. Ghenadie Popescu, Moldova, 2022
  • Night Train, dir. Sofia Gutman, France, 2021
  • One Last Wish, dir. Galia Osmo, Israel, 2021

Short documentaries:

  • Tyranny, dir. David Adamko, Hungary, 2022
  • Vertical Shadow, dir. Felipe Elgueta, Ananké Pereira, Chile, 2022
  • Intermede, dir. Maria Kourkouta,  Greece, 2022
  • Character, dir. Paul Heintz, France, 2021
  • Jaime, dir. Francisco Javier Rodriguez, Belgium, 2022
  • What Do I Look Like, dir. Adèle Shaykhulova, France, 2022
  • Love in Galilee, dir. Nader Chalhoub, Layla Menhem, France, 2021

The National Competition continues to introduce the sophisticated audience to the most striking works of Russian documentary directors. Full-length, medium- and short-length films are represented in the programme on equal terms; among them 9 world premieres. In 2022, screenings of the National Competition will be held at Lendoc.

The job of a documentarian is to make the invisible visible. Thehe challenge that the directors of the Message to Man documentary competition set for themselves this year is not just to show closed communities or the life of the outlying suburbs, but mainly to sdemonstrate what is hidden within us. The central conflict of the National Competition films is focused on the collision of recognizable reality with the absolute one.

Similar themes and motives, including the repetition of individual words in the film titles, but with totally different stylistic approaches is one of the most striking characteristics of this year’s National Competition. The programme features three films with the word “island” in the title, as well as the films “Subtle World” and “Subtle Fields”. “The Orphans” is the first ever documentary series in the National Competition. A documentary saga with a multi-figure composition of characters) and a quite traditional documentary film (“Temporary Limitation”, “Carmen, Or an Unfortunate Love Story of Hanspeter from Oberkassel, That Made my Children Happy in a Foreign Country”, “Follow the Sea”) alongside with experimental films (“Your Room, Volchok”) and even documentary animation (“Some of the Things That Remind Me of Him”),” explain the curators of the National Competition programme Konstantin Shavlovsky and Natalia Pylaeva.

15 films were selected out of 500 applications for the National Competition Programme:

  • Temporary Limitation, dir. Ksenia Gapchenko, 80 min., Russia, 2022
  • Haulout, dir. Maxim Arbugaev, Evgenia Arbugaeva, 25 min., UK, Russia, 2022
  • Carmen, or an Unfortunate Love Story of Hanspeter from Oberkassel, that Made my Children Happy in a Foreign Country, dir. Yulia Vishnevets, 79 min., Germany, Georgia, 2022
  • Tip-Off, dir. Slava Fedorov, 76 min., Russia, 2021
  • Follow the Sea, dir. Denis Shabaev, 81 min., Russia, 2022
  • Some of the Things that Remind Me of Him, dir. Sabrina Karabaeva, 5 min., Russia, 2021
  • No Man is an Island, dir. Lena Ritter, 78 min., Russia, 2022
  • Lost Island, dir. Svetlana Rodina, Laurent Stoop, 92 min., Switzerland, 2021
  • Orphans (series, 5 episodes), dir. Alexey Sukhovey, 185 min., Russia, 2022
  • Your Room, Volchok, dir. Dasha Likhaia, 41 min., Russia, 2022
  • Subtle Fields, dir. Dmitry Lookianov, 78 min., Russia, 2022
  • Subtle World, dir. Alexandra Pustynnova, 64 min., Russia, 2022
  • Triptych, dir. Yana Osman, 8 min., Russia, 2022
  • Deep into the Island, dir. Yana Chizh, 62 min., Russia, 2022
  • To Kill What Lives Inside Me, dir. Masha Chernaya, 36 min., Russia, 2022

In Silico Experimental Short Film Competition is made up of 11 films representing 5 countries.

“The 12th In Silico Experimental Film Competition, for obvious reasons, has become smaller this year: the programme includes 11 films from 5 countries. The list of participants includes several familiar names: Patrick Buhr, who presents a media study of his personal diary; Alexey Dmitriev, who ironically describes the degeneration of the montage film genre; Alexey Yevstigneev, who animates architectural elements into an abstract cardiogram of post-Soviet reality; Nikita Spiridonov, who combines cinema and physics; and Mikhail Basov, who extracts beauty and music from falling raindrops. This small programme covers a wide range of topics, from totalitarianism and the language of architecture to media archeology and unified field theory. As always, each film works separately, and together they add up to today’s controversial image,” said Mikhail Zheleznikov, curator of the programme.

The films on the In Silico Experimental Competition Programme:

  • Why the F…?, Vera Pirogova, Russia, 2021
  • My Vegetable Garden in Kolyma, Yevgenia Korchagina, Russia
  • Post-Soviet Symphony, Аlexey Yevstigneyev, Russia
  • Tears Will Remain, Leri Matehha, Germany
  • In Ictu Oculi, Jorge Moneo Quintana, Spain
  • The Song of Bosphorus, Fedor Maximshin, Russia
  • Substance, Pablo-Martín Córdoba, France
  • Stock, Alexey Dmitriev, Germany, Russia
  • Dots, Lines and Zigzags, dir. Nikita Spiridonov, Russia
  • 16 years, dir. Patrick Buhr, Germany
  • La Bagatelle, dir. Mikhail Basov, Russia

In 2022, Message to Man received 1,435 applications from 76 countries to participate in the competition programmes. Most applications were submitted from Russia, France, China, Germany, USA and Spain. There were also films from Iran, Colombia, Venezuela, Kenya, Lebanon, Japan, Brazil, Ethiopia, Switzerland, Canada, Cuba, and many other countries.