The quarantine, with its sanitary measures, unwittingly strains both the participants and spectators of the festival. But at the same time, the competition program is surprisingly strong and serious. According to the law of meanness "at the most inopportune time", if not masterpieces, then worthy works are born. Therefore, to the question: "To hold or not to hold the MIFF this year?" many film critics answer: "Yes. Otherwise the films would be on the shelf". Due to the coronavirus, there were not as many spectators at the MIFF, as always, but each of them, with his assessment and opinion, is of particular value. People who risk their lives do not go to watch blockbusters, but festival films, which means that "cinema is not fun". It is striking that the huge first hall of the Oktyabr cinema, where Andrey Zaitsev's film The Blockade Diary (or the Siege diary) was shown, was filled to capacity (seating in one). Blockade Diary won the Audience Award at the Moscow International Film Festival.
The film about the most difficult months of the Leningrad blockade - February is extremely difficult to watch. At the physiological level, you feel hunger, cold, grief of each person. The director achieves this effect with the help of cinema language and visual effects (a lot of computer graphics), while the primary sources: the book by Olga Berggolts Stars of the Day and The Blockade Book by Daniil Granin do not have such a strong emotional impact on the psyche. Day stars - a good book, but not a masterpiece of world literature, as, for example, "Hunger" by Knut Hamsun, from reading which one wants to climb on the wall and howl. And the Blockade Book is a historical document of the era, collected from the evidence of the blockade. The Blockade Diary is not an adaptation of the works of famous Leningraders, but an independent author's statement about blockade through the prism of time. We see how the city, created by Peter the Great on a foreign model, becomes ominous for the Soviet people during the blockade. The thought involuntarily arises that our ancestors themselves created a trap for themselves, building a city on the swamps. In the first part of the film, the combination of icy Leningrad with the evil faces of people frightens. It seems that never before have we seen such embittered Soviet people who triumphed over fascism. With rare exceptions, all the characters in the film Blockade Diary are evil. Some spectators covered their faces, turned away so as not to see these awful faces of the blockade. But Olga Berggolts herself wrote in the poem The February Diary:
- No, we do not cry: they say the truth,
that the tears were frozen out of Leningraders;
For us, hate has become a guarantee of life,
It unites, warms and leads.
In the film Blockade Diary not all blockade people are shown as saints. The woman refuses to feed her baby, condemning him to certain death in order for other children to survive. Moreover, this woman is a real Russian woman who "will stop a horse at a gallop, and will enter a burning hut." Looting and vandalism are common. Shoes and clothes are removed from the corpses. The worst thing is that the corpses are not treated with due respect. The viewer has no reason to doubt that "during the blockade they did not stand on ceremony with either the living or the dead", because we have read about this from Daniil Granin and from other writers. But they read it as a historical reference. And in the film by Andrey Zaitsev, everyone saw this with their own eyes. On the big screen. Our misfortunes, in comparison with the darkness of the blockade, on the one hand, seem to be nonsense, and on the other hand, we understand that "death is death, and today it is a part of our reality". People do not die of hunger, cold and bombs, but because of an invisible enemy - the coronavirus, which is spreading at a wild speed throughout the world, and no one knows how to neutralize it. But in any case, people deserve to receive honest and objective information about everything that concerns their present, past and, if possible, future. Even the worst truth is better than a lie, and this is evidenced by the film Blockade Diary by Andrey Zaitsev, to whom the audience voted. They gave it up for striving to convey to us the truth about the blockade, no matter how hard-hitting it was. Andrei Zaitsev explained to Novye Izvestia the purpose of his film Blockade Diary: "The most important reason why this film was shot is to remember and not forget. I have nothing more to say".