We Got Russians for Company

The Ayala Center Cebu is hosting the First Russian Film Festival on Onstage, Cinema One. Please refer to the following screening schedule:

March 26
7:30 PM – Screening: “The Star”
9:15 PM – Film Discussion

March 27
12:00 NOON – Mirror
2:30 PM – Vanished Empire
5:00 PM – Ward No. 6
7:30 PM – Agony

First Russian Film Festival

THE STAR

Director: Nikolai Lebedev
Writer: Evgeniy Grigoriev and Alexander Borodyansky
Producer: Karen Shakhnazarov
Cast: Igor Petrenko, Artem Semakin, Alexei Panin, Alexei Kravchenko, Anatoly Guschin, Amadu Mamadakov, Yuri Laguta, Andrei Yegorov, Ekaterina Vulichenko

The film is a screen version of a novelette by Emmanuel Kazakevich.

The Star takes place in the summer of 1944, when Red Army troops were fighting on the Polish border in hopes of halting Hitler’s advancing forces. In a desperate attempt to gain intelligence on a massive tank attack the Germans are allegedly orchestrating, a team of scouts with the radio code name “Star” is haphazardly put together from the ranks of the surviving soldiers. Though a series of encounters with the enemy quickly follows, the rag-tag group of men are able to broadcast the details of future army tactics and troop movements even as they are annihilated in a brutal battle with the German troops. The Russian soldiers are given posthumous medals for bravery in 1964.

THE MIRROR

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Writer: Alexander Misharin and Andrei Tarkovsky
Cast: Margarita Terekhova, Ignat Daniltsev, Larissa Tarkovskaya, Alla Demidova, Anatoly Solonintsin, Nikolai Grinko, Tamara Ogorodnikova, Yuri Nazarov, Oleg Yankovsky

The film is a non-narrative, stream of consciousness autobiographical film-poem that blends scenes of childhood memory with newsreel footage and contemporary scenes examining the narrator’s relationships with his mother, his ex-wife and his son. The oneiric intensity of the childhood scenes in particular is so hypnotic that questions of the film’s alleged impenetrability dissolve under the impact of moment after moment of the most visually stunning, rhythmically captivating filmmaking imaginable. Tarkovsky’s evocative use of nature is at its most elaborate and accomplished in creating the dreams and memories that we are asked to share with him here. The archive footage of big events that have occurred within the narrator’s lifetime is presented with the contemplative detachment of events considered but not participated in, a contract to the extreme intimacy of the memories. This is mainly due to the extraordinary music and poetry that Tarkovsky use to accompany these ghostly, distant newsreel images.

VANISHED EMPIRE

Director: Karen Shakhnazarov
Writer: Sergey Rokotov with the assistance of Evgeny Nikishov
Producer: Karen Shakhnazarov
Cast: Alexander Lyapin, Lida Milyuzina, Egor Baranovsky, Ivan Jupreenko, Olga Tumaikina, Armen Jigarkhanyan, Vladimir Ilyin

The Vanished Empire depicts the heyday of the Soviet State at the peak of its power, which marks the staring point of its collapse as well.

The film’s story takes place in Moscow in the 1970’s. Its plot unfolds around the love triangle between two young men and a girl who study at the same university. They argue, make up, and face their first disappointments and victories. While busy with their personal lives and loves, they miss foreseeing that the country in which they were born and live will soon disappear from the map.

Karen Shakhnazarov’s new and rather personal film is a delicate study of this imminent and irrevocably passing era.

WARD NO. 6

Director: Karen Shakhnazarov and Alexander Gornovsky
Writer: Karen Shakhnazarov and Alexander Gornovsky
Producer: Karen Shakhnazarov
Cast: Vladimir Ilyin, Aleksei Vertkov, Alexandr Panlratov-Chyorny, Yevgeni Stychkin, Viktor Soloyov, Aleksei Zharkov

The story is based on a real life incident and centers around the head doctor of an asylum who winds up as the asylum patient. Lonely, estranged, reflecting Doctor Andrey Ragin is one of the focal characters in the work of Chekhov and the entire world literature of the 20th century. The screenplay is an adaptation of Chekhov’s story. Preserving the storyline, the authors deliberately moved the scene into the present. Shooting of the film was done in a real asylum, in a novel semi-documentary manner.

AGONY

Director: Elim Klimov
Writer: Semyon Lungin and Iliya Nusinov
Cast: Velta Line, Alisa Freyndlikh, Anatoly Romashin, Alexey Petrenko, Alexander Romatsov, Sergey Muchenikov, Yury Katin-Yartsev, Boris Ivanov, Mikhail Danilov, Leonid Bronevoy, Bayten Omarov

The film went unshown until 1981 when it was screened at the Venice Film Festival and attracted very favorable reviews. Released in Western Europe in 1982 it was hailed as one of the most original Soviet films of the 1970’s. In Soviet Russia it was screened only in 1985, at the dawn of the Glasnost era.

The storyline of the film follows the final months of 1916 up to the murder of Rasputin; some events that have been telescoped into this time though they really happened earlier during the war. Rasputin’s effect on the people around him is shown almost as hypnotic, and the film avoids taking a moral stance towards him – breaking not only with Soviet history but also with how he was regarded by people near the court at the time, some of whom regarded him as a debilitating figure who disgraced the monarchy and hampered the war effort.

So, is it a date tonight and/or tomorrow? See you then! ;)

TRIVIA: My most favorite fictional Russian character is Alexander Solarin, a sexy and astute chess grandmaster from the book The Eight by Katherine Neville. My second most favorite is his brother, [Ladislaus] Nim, an equally compelling and enigmatic man. Why they don’t go by the same family names is what you have to find out for yourself by reading the book. (I just re-read it and going to read it again. *wink*) :)
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Thanks to Ms. Wilma Entera of the Ayala Mall Group for sharing the screening schedule. Tanjew, Naynay. ^_^

Image depicts the turrets of some Russian castles. © Pachuvachuva, 2010. Some brushes used are native from Adobe Photoshop® and the rest were downloaded from various internet sources.