Once again, we will host the most interesting Russian productions of the past season presented as part of the “Sputnik over Poland” Russian Film Festival. This is a great treat for lovers of the cinema of our eastern neighbors, because often the films presented as part of Sputnik do not reach wide distribution at all.
18.30 The Whaler Boy
18.15 A Frenchman
18.30 The Nose or Conspiracy of Mavericks
Suspicion can poison your relationship. When Lena, a young woman in a passionless, sexless marriage, reads one of her husband’s text messages, she is convinced he is cheating on her. To get even she actively seeks out affairs, which gets hopelessly out of control.
The Russian Fidelity, a daring, explicit psychological drama about a woman rediscovering her sexuality and subsequently not being able to stop, was directed by a woman, Nigina Sayfullaeva, and you can tell. She completely sides with Lena, while the men in the latter’s life seemingly don’t have a clue how to deal with her desires. Her irrational, impulsive actions and the underlying, complex psychology are made wonderfully tangible by actress Evgeniya Gromova. This drama shot in soft, muted colours, asks whispered questions about the role of sex, power and vulnerability in relationships.
The creator of the best virtual reality games is convinced that in reality everyone and everything is controlled, but a chance meeting with a young activist opens his eyes to the fact that the world is much wider and more complicated than anything that he knows and understands about it.
Leshka lives in an isolated village on the Bering Strait, like most men in his village, he is a whale hunter. As internet recently arrived in the village, he encounters a beautiful girl on a webcam site. He is now determined to find the camgirl in the real world, where a crazy journey awaits him.
By the end of the 1970s, Andrei Smirnov had had enough. One of the best and brightest auteurs to emerge from the Soviet 1960s couldn’t stand constant harassment from the authorities anymore, and quit cinema for good. At least as a director; he stuck around as a screenwriter and actor. But then, after 32 years, he returned with Žila-byla odna baba (2011). Now A Frenchman suggests he’s back to stay, and will continue directing.
A Frenchman, the story of a French exchange student’s adventures in late 1950s Moscow, makes us painfully aware what a formidable cinematic mind and soul Smirnov has: discrete, educated, good-humoured, politically poignant while never dogmatic – the kind of public intellectual we perhaps need these days more than ever. Watching this film is like looking at a lost world, in more ways than one.
Many years after a deadly terrorist siege in a Moscow theatre, survivor Natasha returns to the crime scene to hold a memorial evening, finally able to confront her survivor’s guilt and her estranged daughter and husband.
The 17-year-old Savva is getting ready to enrol at university. His parents go on vacation, conferring the responsibility for preparing the entrance exams onto the son. Savva finds a foreign literature teacher on the Internet site “Your Tutor”.
The Nose or Conspiracy of Mavericks