"Euphoria": Always Young Orange Molodist and Russian Euphoria By Sasa Jankovic

in 36th Kiev Molodist-International Film Festival

by Sasa Jankovic

What is the difference between the Cannes film festival and the Molodist film festival in Kiev? The Cannes film festival is more expensive and that’s all. However, one festival with a small budget like Molodist can have a lot of good movies but can’t bring any of the big Hollywood stars. Sean Connery and Liv Ullmann were expected but, instead of their arrival, one of the main sensations this year was the decision by general director Andriy Khalpakhchi to retire from his position after the festival. However, in the East things are pretty much like in the West: a high level of organization, a high quality multiplex and much more. Kiev and Ukraine after the Orange Revolution look more like the West. Molodist in the Ukrainian language means youth and the program was focusing on young filmmakers. In its good mood and friendly atmosphere, the 36th festival edition will be in the fond memory of many young directors, students and critics from all over the world. The participants were very straightforward about cinema and life and they made contacts for the next festivals and projects. Actually, Molodist looked like the bridge between East and West, and was not confined to Europe. Many guests agree on one thing, it’s a special festival with soul, the typical Slavic soul which is sometimes enough.

Traditionally, the festival’s competition program consists of three categories: student film, first short and first full-feature film. The idea of creating a competition program is to collect the best debut films of the year, including those awarded at other festivals. Three of the thirteen films from the competition program in the feature films category were nominated for the European Film Awards 2006 in the category European Discovery. We could say that all the films were, but the competition was quite close. Apart from the competition, we also had a high quality non-competition program: the Panorama of Ukrainian films, Kinotavr presenting New Russian Cinema, the Festival of Festivals, special programs of French and German cinema, Long nights of Short Films and retrospectives of world cinema classics (Centenary of Luchino Visconti, Igor Savchenko and his students). A rich program with a myriad of movies for the average spectator became like a labyrinth for every film connoisseur — a real holiday!

Russian cinema is probably not such a discovery for people who like films but it is really wonderful and sometimes it does create a shock. Such is the case with Euphoria (Eyforiya) by Ivan Virypayev. It’s shocking and indescribable, wonderful and magic. The first impressions are so strange, but this is really something special and completely new. Euphoria is an emotional situation. In the medical dictionary it is a situation when a patient feels good, unusually pleasant and satisfied with himself. That situation is typical for mental patients and people who take drugs and enjoy alcohol. And finally it is the situation before death. This explains the idea of director Ivan Vyrpaev, a symbolic representation of the situation in Russian society. It is a film about the love between a man and a woman but an unexpected, true and ruthless love. They saw each other only once at the drunken wedding. Their eyes met, and that was it. The instincts and the feeling, which Ivan Virypayev explores so bravely and even impudently, live in each man and each woman. The film powerfully affects the spectator. It narrates about the life of common Russian people with nameable dialogues which all have a very good chance to become quotes one day. Euphoria is an attempt to solve the mystery of an unsolved soul. Long and majestic frames on the River Don are complimented by the beautiful landscape with the intimidating spirit of the steppe. Ivan Vyrpaev is a well-known Russian theatre director and Euphoria is his first venture into films. He is a truly different director, promising, and he’ll probably have a lot to show us in the future.

A special event of the 36th Molodist was an interesting retrospective dedicated to Igor Savchenko and his great students. Soviet films of the Stalin era were not always propagandistic as we expected them to be. Soviet filmmaker (Now Ukrainian) Igor Savchenko is one real example for this. Savchenko was a Ukrainian director but his students Viktor Pavlovsky, Vladimir Naumov, Marlen Khutsiev etc. lived and still live in the former Soviet republics. One of his students was Sergei Paradjanov who was probably the greatest Soviet director. Savchenko and Paradjanov left this world long ago, but their spirits are still alive like the wide Russian steppe. In our hearts they will always stay young, like the Molodist in Orange Kiev.