TRIBUTE TO RUSSIAN CINEMA
For its 16th edition, the Marrakech International Film Festival is delighted to pay tribute to Russian cinema, one of Europe’s richest and most prolific film industries. The Marrakech International Film Festival has always strived to put the spotlight on different territories’ film output, and in previous years has honored the United Kingdom, Japan, Scandinavia, and last year, Canada. This year, the honor falls to Russia, whose cinema – whether pre-Revolutionary, Soviet-era, or post-Perestroika – has been a pivotal force in world cinema since its very beginning. Over the past quarter-century, Russian cinema has not enjoyed quite the same notoriety and popularity that it knew before, but has nonetheless produced some great works, and new filmmakers have emerged as the successors to the creators of the classics. Major festivals are always on the lookout for those who will pick up the baton of the directors to whom Marrakech will pay tribute. From Sergei Eisenstein and his Battleship Potemkin to Leviathan by Andrey Zvyagintsev, the festival will take in 90 years of filmmaking covering a wide range of genres: the historical epic (Ivan the Terrible by Sergei Eisenstein, Andrei Rublev by Andrei Tarkovsky, Siberiade by Andrei Konchalovsky, Russian Ark by Alexander Sokurov), war and its consequences (The Cranes Are Flying by Mikhail Kalatozov, The Forty-First by Grigory Chukhray, Brother by Aleksey Balabanov, Prisoner of the Mountains by Sergey Bodrov), comedies (La Voie radieuse by Grigori Aleksandrov, Hipsters by Valery Todorovsky), social problems (I Am Twenty by Marlen Khutsiev, Little Vera by Vasili Pichul, Freeze, Die, Come to Life by Vitali Kanevsky, Taxi Blues by Pavel Lounguine, The Fool by Yuri Bykov), inner doubt (The Theme by Gleb Ponfilov, The Sacrifice by Andrei Tarkovsky), and, of course, love (About Love by Anna Melikian).
The Marrakech Festival has twice awarded its Grand Prix to Russian films: Wild Field by Mikheil Kalatozishvili in 2008, and Corrections Class by Ivan Tverdovsky in 2014. The festival has also paid tribute to Andrei Konchalovsky, welcomed Pavel Lounguine on its jury, and frequently included Russian works in the event’s various selections. So it is only natural that a tribute be paid to Russian cinema as a whole: 30 films, accompanied by a delegation of 30 guests, including directors, actors, cinematographers, screenwriters, and producers, led by the director and President of Mosfilm, Russia’s largest movie studio, Karen Shakhnazarov.