XXXII Message to Man International Film Festival Announced Out-of-Competition Programmes

XXXII Message to Man International Film Festival will be held on October 21-29 in St. Petersburg. Apart from the 50 films presented in three competition programmes – International, National and In Silico Experimental Competition – the Festival will feature 92 films on the out-of-competition programme.

The Message to Man Film Festival has gone through two difficult years of the pandemic, and it seemed that we could finally return back to normal life. Under today’s circumstances, the Festival sees its mission as a platform for a cultural dialogue between the Russian and international film scene, between art and the audience. An international jury, thousands of applications from all over the world, a wide range of feature films and documentaries all indicate that the Festival remains a dynamic cultural institution, primarily ensuring wide access to modern cinema.

The two traditional out-of-competition programmes are Panorama.doc (curated by Alexey Medvedev and Natalia Pylaeva), which includes the season’s essential documentaries from renowned masters and innovative filmmakers, and Superreal Cinema (curated by Andrey Plakhov), which is a collection of this year’s most anticipated feature films. This year the Festival will also feature a number of special programmes: New Voices by Mikhail Ratgauz, Red Africa ​​by Alexander Markov, Flexible Past by Andrey Vasilenko, as well as a series of special screenings.

The screenings will take place at city’s major venues: Dom Kino film centre, LenDoc film studio, such cinema theatres as Avrora, Rodina, Velikan, as well as Dom Radio and Poryadok Slov (“Word Order”).


This year the Message to Man Film Festival has two opening films.

On Friday, October 21, the audience of Dom Kino will see the directorial debut of actress Dinara Drukarova (Compartment No. 6, Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life, Of Freaks and Men), in which she played the main role. To avoid going crazy and drowning in the routine of a small town, the female protagonist escapes to the ocean. She believes that something good can happen there. Grand Marin is brought to St. Petersburg after its September screening in at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain.

  • Grand Marin, dir. Dinara Drukarova, France, Iceland, Belgium, Russia, 2022, 84 min.



The Message to Man Festival will open on October 22 with the second film, Big Snakes of Ulli-Kale by Alexey Fedorchenko, at the Avrora Cinema Centre. The director invites you on an exciting ethnographic journey, which combines the history of relations between the peoples of Russia and the Caucasus and the aesthetics of silent cinema. Fedorchenko’s career started at the Sverdlovsk film studio, where he went all the way from senior economist at the newsreel-documentary film association to director. The range of almost twenty years of Fedorchenko’s film career is impressive; it includes feature and documentary films, short and full-length, as well as awards from Russian and foreign festivals from Venice Film Festival to Nika.

  • Big Snakes of Ulli-Kale, dir. Alexey Fedorchenko, Russia, 2022, 122 min.


The Festival will close with the world premiere of Lyubov Arkus’s documentary Balabanov. Belltower. Requiem about director Alexey Balabanov. The work on this film began two years before Balabanov’s death as a story of the production of his film Me Too. Filming continued after his death, even when the Bell Tower collapsed, without taking the hero of his last film into Happiness. “Almost ten years after Balabanov’s death, this film serves as a tragic testimony to the life and death of an uncompromising author and film director, who remains essential for modern Russia,” says Lyubov Arkus.

  • Belltower. Requiem, dir. Lyubov Arkus, Russia, 2022, 115 min.


Every year, in his programme Superreal Cinema, Andrey Plakhov presents the most anticipated hits from the main festivals. “The line between documentary and feature films is becoming increasingly blurred. Reality and imagination are racing: what yesterday seemed more like a bold fantasy, today looks like a trivial fact. Films by well-known and new directors from France, the USA and Russia, included in the Superreal Cinema programme, reflect these echoes and paradoxes,” says Andrey Plakhov.

  • 8 Day, dir. Evgeny Krylov, Russia, 2022, 105 min.
  • Forever Young, dir. Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, France, 2022, 126 min.
  • Grand Marin, dir. Dinara Drukarova, France, Russia, 2022, 84 min.
  • Don Juan, dir. Serge Bozon, France, 2022, 72 min.
  • Duel, dir. Vlad Kozlov, USA, 2022, 19 min.
  • Please, Baby, Please, dir. Amanda Kramer, USA, 2022, 95 min.


The curators of Panorama.doc Alexey Medvedev and Natalia Pylaeva talk about their programme:In Panorama.doc, we look into the corners with a life of its own. This could be favelas of a Brazilian city (Skin), a kids’ kingdom of Amazon rainorest (Waters of Pastaza by Inês T. Alves); or the world of Shukshin’s weirdos who director Alexey Fedorchenko had a chance to make friends with (The Coin of Malawi). This could be the world of animals who do not care about our problems since theirs are much tougher (Cow by Andrea Arnold). And even in the virtual reality there is life (Girl Gang by Susanne Regina Meures) that can be really interesting to observe.”

  • Waters of Pastaza, dir. Inês T. Alves, Portugal, 2022, 61 min.
  • Girl Gang, dir. Susanne Regina Meures, Switzerland, 2022, 98 min.
  • Skin, dir. Marcos Pimentel, Brazil, 2021, 75 min.
  • Cow, dir. Andrea Arnold, UK, 2021, 94 min.
  • The Coin of Malawi, dir. Alexey Fedorchenko, Russia, 2022, 60 min.


Alexander Markov’s Red Africa programme will show the viewers a unique landscape of the African continent, combining both Soviet propaganda and anti-colonial reflections of African directors, VGIK students of the 1960s, as well as modern films by famous African authors who went through the Soviet school of directing and cinematography. Directors Souleymane Cissé and Abderrahmane Sissako, students of Boris Volchek, Grigory Chukhrai and Marlen Khutsiev, absorbed the skill of cinema rather than ideology. Also, the programme will feature the documentary A Daughter Tribute to Her Father about Souleymane Cissé.

  • Sixth Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Guinea, dir. Sylla Himi, USSR, 1964, 10 min.
  • Postgrad, dir. Souleymane Cissé, USSR, 1969, 14 min.
  • Africa, Rainforest, a Drum and… a Revolution, dir. Suleiman Muhamed Ibraghim El Nur, USSR, 1976, 11 min.
  • A Woman, dir. Costades Diagne, 1966, USSR, 20 min.
  • The Game, dir. Abderrahmane Sissako, USSR, 1988, 23 min.
  • Red Africa, dir. Alexander Markov, 2022, Russia, Portugal, 65 min.
  • Men of the Dance, dir. Costades Diagne, 1965, USSR, 20 min.
  • A Daughter Tribute to Her Father, dir. Fatou Cissé, 2022, Mali, 73 min.
  • Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, dir. Costades Diagne, 1968, Guinea, 40 min.
  • Talking about Trees, dir. Suhaib Gasmelbari, France, Sudan, 2019, 93 min.
  • Brightness, dir. Souleymane Cissé, Mali, Burkina Faso, France, 1987, 105 min.
  • Timbuktu, dir. Abderrahmane Sissako, Mauritania, France, 2014, 100 min.
  • A City Morning, dir. Omonym Mondiu Touré, USSR, 1965, 9 min.
  • Black Sun, dir. Alexey Speshnev, with the participation of Kuzma Kiselev, 1970, USSR, 97 min.
  • Poison, dir. Tamatso Kawasaki, Yevgeny Fridman, USSR, 1966, 19 min.


Mikhail Ratgauz’s New Voices programme is dedicated to “cinema in between” – in between the familiar forms of arthouse, mainstream and avant-garde. It’s all about shifts. The cinema of young people in search of new story telling forms, new intensity, new ways of talking about us.

  • Super Natural, dir. Jorge Jácome, Portugal, 2022, 85 min.
  • The Good Woman of Sichuan, dir. Sabrina Zhao, Canada, 2021, 87 min.
  • Pebbles, dir. P.S. Vinothraj, India, 2021, 74 min.
  • All Eyes Off Me, dir. Hadas ben Aroya, Israel, 2020, 88 min.
  • Madalena, dir. Marcos Pimentel, Brazil, 2021, 85 min.
  • Window Boy Would Also Like to Have a Submarine, dir. Alex Piperno, Uruguay, 2020, 85 min.
  • There Will Be No More Night, dir. Éléonore Weber, France, 2020, 75 min.
  • The Tale of King Crab, dir. Alessio Rigo de Righi, Matteo Zoppis, Italy, 2021, 106 min.


Spleen and Ideal. Three Short Films

  • Homage to the Work of Philip Henry Gosse, dir. Pablo Martín Weber, Argentina, 2020, 22 min.
  • Mourning, dir. Pablo Martín Weber, Argentina, 2021, 27 min.
  • Past Perfect, dir. Jorge Jácome, Portugal, 2019, 23 min.

Andrey Vasilenko, curator of the Flexible Past, talks about his programme: “This selection of documentaries and experimental films demonstrates a wide repertoire of artistic strategies for creating non-traditional narratives related to historical events and phenomena. The programme’s aim is to show how the past becomes a space for formal experimentation, demonstrating the specific potential of cinema as a critical and at the same time poetic tool for the development of historical narratives”.

  • SADA, dir. Sajjad Abbas,Bassim Al Shaker, Layth Kareem, Ali Eyal, Raed Mutar, Sarah Munaf, Rijin Sahakian, Iraq, Germany, 55 min.
  • Albanian Trilogy:

It Wears as It Grows, dir. Armando Lulaj, Albania, 18 min.

Never, dir. Armando Lulaj, Albania, 22 min.

Recapitulation, dir. Armando Lulaj, Albania, 10 min.

  • The Year of Discovery, dir. Luis López Carrasco, Spain, Switzerland, 200 min.
  • What about China?, dir. Trinh Minh-ha, USA, China, 135 min.
  • Dragoneed, Sandy Amerio, France, 45 min.


As part of the Message to Man Festival, a series of special screenings will take place at various venues.

The Festival will host the premiere of a new film by Adilkhan Yerzhanov, a director from Kazakhstan, whose works are currently in the spotlight both in Russia and abroad. This is a story of Ademoka, a little illegal migrant who lives in Kazakhstan and is forced to beg to survive. The St. Petersburg premiere of Ademoka’s Education will take place after the screening of Adilkhan’s film Goliath at the Venice Film Festival, where the film won a special prize. Furthermore, in 2022, Yerzhanov’s film Assault was presented at the festival in Rotterdam.

  • Ademoka’s Education, dir. Adilkhan Yerzhanov, Kazakhstan, France, 2022, 90 min.


The first screening of Larisa Sadilova’s new film Vegetable Garden was held at the 44th Moscow International Film Festival in August 2022 as part of the competition programme, rather than at the Cannes Film Festival. The director decided to choose Russia for the world premiere of her film. The main role in this new Sadilova’s work was played by the famous Russian actress Valentina Telichkina, known to the audience from the films of Sergei Gerasimov, Gleb Panfilov, Nikita Mikhalkov, Peter and Valery Todorovsky. “Vegetable Garden is about people over 70. The state provided them with a small pension and gave up on them. They are supposed to live out their lives. But those who are “over” do not see themselves as old people. They want to live the life to its fullest, dream of love, be happy.” Vegetable Garden is a declaration of love for the older generation, an attempt to draw the attention to them.

  • Vegetable Garden, dir. Larisa Sadilova, Russia, 2022, 93 min.

The documentary about Tonio Delli Colli, a legendary cinematographer who over the years collaborated with such directors as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone, Jean-Jacques Annaud, and Roman Polanski, as well as Louis Malle and Yves Boisset. The audience will also see short sketches about the traditions and interpretations of the native culture of Armenia, about the emergence of famous break dancers, a romantic love story of an elderly couple, learn about the life of the inhabitants of Crimea and the story of the Soviet boxer Andrey Borzenko.

  • Once Upon a Time: Tonino Delli Colli Cinematographer, dir. Paolo Mancini, Claver Salizzato, 2019, Italy, 65 min.


A series of short stories about people who represent their national culture and traditions with sincerity and warmth. Viewers will be able to assemble a bigger picture, which will reveal the past and future of Armenia in the unity of generations, as well as in the unshakable spirit of its people.

  • Armenian Sketches, dir. Ashot Dzhazoyan, Russia, 2015, 20 min.


A story about ordinary inhabitants of the Russian peninsula, whose activities are essential, yet invisible to others.

  • Crimeans, dir. Ashot Dzhazoyan, Russia, 2018, 55 min.


The Russian Top 9 team is one of the most famous breakdancing teams in the world. Over the 20 years of its existence, Top 9 have won many international competitions, including the largest Battle of the Year championship, created several theatrical productions, brought up several generations of students, became a style icon and an example of what a team should be. From student steps to mastery, from small jams to world victories, from street shows to the big stage, this is the story of the Top 9 team.

  • Top Nine, dir. Manas Sirakanyan, Russia, 2022, 89 min.


The story of the Soviet boxer Andrey Borzenko, who went through the Buchenwald concentration camp, took part in 80 fights and never lost.

  • Borzenko: Ring Behind Barb Wire, dir. Elena Moshtal, Andrey Degtyarev, Russia, 2022, 54 min.


Selected by film critic Dmitry Komm, these two films explore how successful and famous women are treated in contemporary Chinese cinema. In the rapidly developing Chinese society, the role and status of women has changed radically over the past decades. Responding to these changes, Chinese cinema today offers many bright and stellar female characters. The films can be of different genres, dedicated to real or fictional stars, not necessarily directed by women, but telling about a female star and how her status is perceived in modern Chinese society.

The film is based on the novel Love by the West Lake by Wang Xufeng. A story about the complex relationship between a fan painter and two female Yue opera performers, Chuitiao and Yinxin.

  • The Chanting Willows, dir. Dai Wei, China, 2021, 106 min.

95-year-old Chinese-American actress Lisa Lu talks about her life, career and introduces the viewers to iconic Chinese filmmakers.

  • In Pursuit of Light, dir. Zhang Tongdao, China, 2022, 86 min.


Rodina will host screening of the School of Documentary Animation

“The School of Documentary Animation at the Rudnik Debut Documentary Film Festival in Sviyazhsk appeared along with the festival itself on the initiative of Marina Razbezhkina in 2017.

Over the years, young documentary filmmakers and game developers, journalists, writers and screenwriters, artists and designers, theatre people, teachers and, of course, animators from all over the country have taken the course. They enriched each other’s experience and expanding the general understanding of animation. The breadth of topics chosen by the participants of the school is also impressive: from the most intimate, personal, related to family, illness, the search for identity, to those that speak of great historical cataclysms and social problems.

From the very beginning, the school’s teachers were animation and theatre critic Dina Goder, screenwriter Alexander Rodionov, artist and animation director Evgenia Zhirkova; later the teachers were Sonya Gorya and Maria Kogan-Lerner, who had previously taken the course themselves, as well as Mikhail Soloshenko. In total, since 2017, there have been six courses: not in 2020 due to the pandemic, but two in 2021 – the second one as part of the Kinoproba festival in Yekaterinburg. In 2022, it was decided not to hold the Rudnik festival, but the School of Documentary Animation was organized, with more participants than ever before,” says Dina Goder.

  • Save as…, Masha Semina, 2022, 2 min.
  • Bless you!, Evgenia Zhirkova, 2018, 3 min.
  • Grandpa’s Dictionary, dir. Ashot Mefodin, 2021, 3 min.
  • I Have Nothing to Add, dir. Tatiana Stefanenko, 2020, 11 min.
  • The Fence, dir. Maria Kogan-Lerner, 2021, 8 min.
  • When You Doubt, dir. Elena Murganova, 2019, 3 min.
  • Mama, Give Me a Hug, dir. Masha Rumyantseva, 2022, 4 min.
  • Mashenka, Jellyfish, dir. Konstantin Shavlovsky, 2022, 8 min.
  • My Kolyma Vegetable Garden, dir. Evgenia Korchagina, Russia, 2021, 3 min.
  • We’ll Be Together, dir. Serafima Truevtseva, 2021, 4 min.
  • In a Small House, dir. Anna-Maria Chernigovskaya, 2021, 4 min.
  • One Pasha Boguslavsky, dir. Yura Boguslavsky, 2019, 5 min.
  • Some of the Things That Remind Me of Him, dir. Sabrina Karabaeva, 2021, 5 min.
  • Ghosts in Altufyevo, dir. Yana Isaenko, 2019, 4 min.
  • The Noodle Soup, dir. Guzel Garipova, 2018, 3 min.
  • Difficult to Pronounce, dir. Nadezhda Shcherbakova, 2022, 8 min.
  • You Are Girl, dir. Evgenia Zhirkova, 2019, 4 min.
  • Good, Bad, Bipolar, dir. Sonya Gorya, 2018, 4 min.
  • I Rented an Apartment, dir. Polina Kampioni, 2019, 2 min.


Young directors from VGIK and St. Petersburg State Institute of Cinematography will present their work in the student film programme.

“The emergence of the director must be accompanied by the emergence of the hero. The search for the “hero of our time” is not an easy task for both fiction and non-fiction cinema. And above all, it dictates the need for the director to look closely both at themselves and at those around them,” notes A. Geleyn, director, professor at VGIK.

  • In Touch, dir. Sofia Osipova, SPUFT, Russia, 2022, 3 min.
  • Shutter, dir. Egor Bolozdynya, Russia, 2022, 20 min.
  • Gennady at the Phone, dir. Ilya Ponomarev, Russia, 2022, 17 min.
  • Beyond the Zero, dir. Ivan Baturin, Russia, 2022, 20 min.
  • My Sun, dir. Maria Odintsova, Russia, 2021, 2 min.
  • My French Movie, dir. Darya Iskrenko, 2022, Russia, 18 min.
  • Quiet Light, dir. Sveta Gabdrakhimova, Russia, 2022, 13 min.
  • Talk to Me, dir. Diana Ogneva, Russia, 2022, 6 min.
  • After Us, dir. Darya Kovaleva, Russia, 2022, 5 min.
  • Look at Her, dir. Ilya Pochkaev, Russia, 2022, 28 min.
  • Cohabitance, dir. David Pozdyrka, Russia, 2022, 28 min.
  • Departed, dir. Alexander Patrunov, SPUFT, Russia, 2022, 15 min.
  • Restless Nastya, dir. Sofya Meledina, VGIK, Russia, 2019, 21 min.
  • The Stones, dir. Arman Ayvazyan, VGIK, Armenia, 2022, 17 min.
  • Boys My Boys, dir. Margarita Chachkhaliya, VGIK, Russia, 2022, 14 min.
  • Maybe It’s Scary, dir. Ilya Voroshilov, Russia, 2022, 13 min.
  • To the Lighthouse, dir. Anna Bondar, VGIK, Russia, 2022, 23 min.
  • Paradigma, dir. Adelina Bozhevski, VGIK, Russia, 2022, 15 min.
  • Fair Korolev, dir. Ivan Dikunov, VGIK, Russia, 2022, 15 min.