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Today’s guest…Russian cinema

Celebrating a bold and a great avant-garde cinema

The 16th Marrakech International Film Festival pays a tribute to Russian cinema through a selection of its masterpieces presented by a delegation of Russian artists led by eminent director, screenwriter and producer Karen Chakhnazarov, CEO of Mos lm Studio.

Russian cinema is no stranger to the Marrakech Festival. Two Russian lms have already been awarded the Festival’s Grand Prix: Mikhail Kalatozichvili’s Wild Field (2008) and Ivan Tverdovsky’s Corrections Class (2014). This year, another Tverdovsky's lm, Zoology is competing for the Etoile d'or. The Festival also programmed the screening in the out-of-competition category of The Duelist by Alexie Mizguirev, a recipient of 2007 jury’s prize.

In Russia, cinema has a time-honoured history that began in 1896 with the screening by the Lumière team of a French lm in Saint Petersburg. After 1908, the year Alexander Drankov made Russia’s rst lm, Stenka Razin, Russian cinema embarks on a proli c journey reaching a heyday during WWI. The ban on foreign lms in Russia pushes local lm production to spawn with the setting up of companies such as Mos lm that produced Eisenstein’s masterpiece, Battleship Potemkin in 1925, a lm that will later become the best ambassador of the Soviet lm. And in 1919, the world’s rst lm school, the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (aka VGIK), opens its doors in Moscow.

For a long time, Russian cinema was seldom distributed at the international stage. But everything changed in 1958, when The Cranes Are Flying by Mikhail Kalatozov was awarded the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Since then, Russian auteur lms draw rave reviews at foreign festivals, and two decades later, his countryman Andrei Konchalovsky is awarded the Grand Prix at Cannes for his epic lm Siberiade. For its part, the Marrakech Festival paid a career tribute to him in 2008.