Main Out-of-Competition Programmes

The audience will see 7 Russian premières in Panorama.DOC programme, 8 films in Superreal Cinema programme, a retrospective of Federico Fellini’s films and the Russian première of a documentary about the life of the great classic.

XXX IFF Message to Man that will take place on November 3–8 in St. Petersburg, announced its main out-of-competition programmes. First of all, these are the two programmes that have already become a traditional part of the Festival: Panorama.Doc (curators Alexey Medvedev and Natalia Pylaeva) that presents the most prominent documentary films of the season from recognized masters and innovators, and Superreal Cinema (curator Andrei Plakhov) that assembles the most anticipated feature films. These two programmes act as a kind of frame for what is the main thing at any film festival: the competition programmes. There are three of them at Message to Man: International Competition, National Competition and In Silico Experimental Competition. The out-of-competition programmes Panorama.Doc and Superreal Cinema give a rather accurate idea of the state of modern auteur cinema in all its genre diversity and various gradations of feature and non-fiction. This is the environment of the festival competitions.

The third key non-competition programme of Message to Man is dedicated to the great master Federico Fellini in the year of the 100th anniversary of his birthday. For many today’s authors – both feature and documentary filmmakers – Fellini’s works are the right reference point, the benchmark. Retrospective programme called Gender without Borders (curator Alexander Markov) is not just a tribute to the classic, but also an attempt to take a fresh look at his masterpieces. It is a timeless and at the same time relevant context for talking about modern cinema.

Curators Alexey Medvedev and Natalia Pylaeva tell about the Panorama.DOC programme:

“What do we love documentary films for? Often, for exactly opposite reasons. Sometimes, for the opportunity to visit places where we are unlikely to ever find ourselves in (not that we wanted to). Whether it is the war in Syria (The Cave by Feras Fayyad), the Iranian colony for juvenile criminals (Sunless Shadows by Mehrdad Oskouei) or the top-secret world of North Korean security services (Assassins by Ryan White). And sometimes, for the opportunity to discover something unexpected in the familiar, close and long known (for example, how Viktor Kosakovsky’s Gunda shows the universe of pets). And if we summarize this experience, we can say that we love documentary films for the possibility of another view, which frees us from our own limitations. And it may be not only the view of another person from another culture, but even the view of a pig or a chicken. The programme includes hits of major international film festivals, winners of various awards and prizes, from Oscars to IDFA (all films will be shown in Russia for the first time). Almost all genres of modern documentary films are presented: observation (The Cave, Gunda), investigation (Assassins), active experiment and provocation (Caught in the Net by Barbora Chalupová and Vít Klusák), paradocumentary and re-enactment (in Winter Journey by Anders Østergaard the leading role was played by the great Bruno Ganz, this is his last role) combined with masterful work with archives.

Panorama.DOC programme presents:

  • Caught in The Net, directed by Barbora Chalupová and Vít Klusák, 100 min., Czechia, 2020, 18+
  • Assassins, directed by Ryan White, 105 min., USA, 2020, 18+
  • The Cave, directed by Feras Fayyad, 107 min., Denmark, Syria, USA, 2019, 18+
  • The Kingmaker, directed by Lauren Greenfield, 102 min., USA, 2019, 18+
  • Gunda, directed by Viktor Kosakovsky 93 min., Norway, USA, 2020, 18+
  • Winter Journey, directed by Anders Østergaard, 90 min., Denmark, 2019, 18+
  • Sunless Shadows, directed by Mehrdad Oskouei, 74 min., Iran, Norway, 2019, 18+

SUPERREAL Cinema programme by Andrei Plahov, Message to Man Art Director and Honorary President of the Federation Internationale de la Presse Cinematographique (FIPRESSI) presents the most anticipated hits of the major festivals of the year. In spite of the crisis, which in some way affected all major film festivals all over the world and had a crushing effect on cinema distribution, several films by living film classics were released in the festival distribution, and Message to Man presents to the audience their St. Petersburg premières.

“The situation that the world faced in 2020 surpassed anything fantasy authors could imagine. However, cinema, both documentary and fiction, has almost erased the line that separates reality from what we call ‘super-reality’’’. This year’s programme is a reflection of this process, which seems to have reached its climax today,” says curator Andrei Plakhov about the programme’s films.

This year, two major directors of the Romanian “New Wave” decided to release their full-length works. These are Uppercase Print by an old friend of the festival, Radu Jude, whose works often première at Message to Man, and Malmkrog by Cristi Puiu, whose costume drama is a screen adaptation of Three Conversations by the philosopher of the Silver Age Vladimir Solovyov. A drama without dialogue, Days by Tsai Ming-liang, explores the art of mutual understanding between strangers. For the first time, the programme includes a documentary film: the festival will present another work of French-Chile film artist Alejandro Jodorowsky, Psychomagic, a Healing Art. Also, Superreal Cinema will show the Russian première of Beginning by a Georgian director Dea Kulumbegashvili that was very well received at recent festivals in Venice and San Sebastian, the pre-première screening of Vadim Perelman’s comedy Persian Lessons about the will to live, and other films.

Superreal Cinema programme includes:

  • Uppercase Print, directed by Radu Jude,128 min., Romania, Serbia, Switzerland, 2020, 18+
  • Malmkrog, directed by Cristi Puiu, 200 min., Romania, Serbia, Switzerland, 2019, 18+
  • Days, directed by Tsai Ming-liang, 127 min., Тайвань, 2020, 18+
  • Conference, directed by Ivan I. Tverdovsky, 129 min.., Russia, 2020, 18+
  • Beginning, directed by Dea Kulumbegashvili, 125 min., Georgia, 2020, 18+
  • Persian Lessons, directed by Vadim Perelman, 120 min., Russia, Germany, Belarus, 2020, 18+
  • Psychomagic, a Healing Art, directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky,100 min., France, 2019, 18+
  • The Salt of Tears, directed by Philippe Garrel, 100 min., France, 2020, 18+

Special programme Gender without Borders for the 100th anniversary of the birth of director Federico Fellini.

The programme is held in cooperation with the Italian Institute of Culture in St Petersburg with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy as part of the year of celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the main classics of Italian cinema, director Federico Fellini. Curator: film director, film expert and teacher Alexander Markov (St. Petersburg).

The programme focuses on the relevant issue of women’s rights and the struggle for equal opportunities as seen by one of the greatest classics of world cinema.

“His genius is the bastion of freedom. The maestro gave us a chance to love ourselves for who we are. Various forms and types of attraction, as well as their social perturbations, are in the open discourse of the films we have selected. Federico Fellini’s images and stories incredibly subtly mock what is still a taboo. His films need to be seen on a big screen in order to immerse yourself in the subconsciousness of a master who looked at the world with his eyes wide open,” says programme curator Alexander Markov.

The programme includes the following films by the Maestro:

  • City of Women, 149 min., 1980, 18+
  • Satyricon, 129 min., 1969, 18+
  • Nights of Cabiria, 118 min., 1957, 18+
  • Casanova, 170 min., 1976, 18+

The festival will present restored versions of the films, prepared by order of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy specifically for the large-scale celebration of the anniversary.

The programme will also present the Russian première of the documentary film dedicated to the classic, Fellini of the Spirits (directed by Anselma Del’Olio, Italy, 2020, 18+).

Ilim Group is the general sponsor of the XXX International Film Festival Message to Man.

Ilim Group is the largest producer of pulp and paper products in Russia. Ilim Group comprises three pulp and paper mills in Arkhangelsk (Koryazhma) and Irkutsk regions (Bratsk, Ust-Ilimsk), two modern corrugated board mills in Leningrad and Moscow regions, and Sibgiprobum Design Institute (Irkutsk). Ilim Group annually produces over 3 million tonnes of cellulose and paper products. The Group supplies its products to over 70 countries. The key market is China (over 1.4 million tonnes of products). The company employs over 17,000 people.


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