38th Moscow International Film Festival
Russia, June 23 - June 30 2016
Our descent on Moscow yielded surprises. We flew over immense forests, then pretty houses with perfect roofs, which when seen from above resemble Lego. The beauty of Moscow is held in check, not unlike its people, I guess. Our approach was made all the more difficult by the fact that the entire city seems to be under construction and its traffic is heavily congested. The magnificent Standart hotel, where the Moscow International Film Festival accommodated us, is large, modern and beautiful. I discovered the first night that it is not a far walk from the hotel to the Kremlin and Red Square. The Standart would make an excellent base if you go one day to Moscow. As for the festival and its reception, it is still more courteous and of infinite delicacy. My flight arrived 24 hours late, unfortunately, thus I did not attend the opening ceremony, but if it was as successful as the closing night, it must have been exciting.
The opening night film, screening out of competition, was Sneakers (Dy-Ke) from Russia’s Sergey Solovyov, and the closing film was Woody Allen’s latest, Café Society, which had already screened out of competition at Cannes, though it’s always good to see a good Allen. Remarkably well organized and so very reasonable, different juries could attend all thirteen films in competition with considerable comfort, especially if seen in the October Cinema. My colleagues will no doubt comment on these films, and in particular the one we unanimously decided to award the FIPRESCI prize to, the Korean film Worst Woman.
This festival was remarkable not only for the courtesy and availability of our hosts, among them Ekaterina Gorlova, but also for the wide variety of films. For my part, I will remember with pleasure the Serbian film Train Driver’s Diary (Dnevnik masinovodje), by Milos Radovic, the Russian film, with its absurd humor in the Monty Python’s style, The Monk and the Demon, by Nikolai Dostal, and Iranian director Reza Mirkarimi’s The Daughter, while deploring the choice of the French film by Sébastien Betbeder, Marie and the Misfits (Marie et les naufragés), which does not give a good overview of the Hexagon theater. As for the Italian film by David Grieco, La Macchinazione, on the death of Pier Paolo Pasolini, it is interesting for one who does not know Italian history of the ’70s, but it has a lot of blunders. The balance of the selections were interesting, such as much as Pericle il nero, from Stefano Mordini, or Ma Loute, by Bruno Dumont, two films seen in Cannes but which were a sensation in Moscow.
The beautiful and very hot weather, as well as our schedule, also prompted visits to various parts of the city, such as the Tetriakov Gallery. Many thanks to MIFF and its entire staff. (Jean-Max Mejean, edited by José Teodoro)
Moscow International Film Festival: www.moscowfilmfestival.ru