On Wednesday, April 18, at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, the premiere of Tchaikovsky's Wife directed by Kirill Serebrennikov took place, which is included in the main competition along with 20 other films. In total, more than 50 films participate in the festival programs.
Serebrennikov himself, before the traditional climbing the stairs of the Palais des Festivals, told reporters: “I am very pleased to have the opportunity to present my work in Cannes, since this is the best platform for such viewing. This film is about creative freedom and the fragility of human life".
The appearance of the director and crew before the screening was met with a standing ovation. There were no empty seats in the hall, TASS reports.
Meanwhile, the debut of Serebrennikov's film at the prestigious festival was under threat due to the position of the Ukrainian Goskino, which sent a letter to the president of the Cannes Film Festival, Pierre Lescure, stating that the participation of a film from Russia during the Ukrainian conflict was inadmissible. However, the festival management upheld its decision to invite Serebrennikov to the competition program.
Many Russian critics were denied accreditation at the same time. Due to difficulties with moving around the world and financial blocking, many journalists would not have been able to get to the festival anyway, but most of the Russian media received a direct refusal from the directorate anyway. Overboard, for example, was a veteran of Cannes, the most authoritative critic Andrei Plakhov, a native of Lviv.
Tchaikovsky's Wife is Serebrennikov's fourth film presented at Cannes. In 2016, his film "The Apprentice" received the prestigious François Chalet award here, and in 2018, the soundtrack to Serebrennikov's film "Summer" was recognized as the best soundtrack for a feature film. Last year, the director's film "Petrovs in the flu" also participated in the main competition.
A new film that is two and a half hours long. “This is a film about several episodes from the life of the composer and his wife Antonina Milyukova, who was obsessed with him. Our film shows her version of events, which is interesting because she is a completely forgotten character,” said the director himself. The action takes place in Russia in the second half of the 19th century. The main character is the wife of the composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, who cannot come to terms with her husband's homosexuality and because of this gradually falls into madness. The film starred Odin Byron (Tchaikovsky), Alena Mikhailova (Milyukova), as well as Yulia Aug, rapper Oxxxymiron and others.
Serebrennikov's new film has already generated mixed responses in the media and social networks.
The well-known film critic Zinaida Pronchenko is clearly not happy with the picture:
“I looked at Tchaikovsky's Wife. I probably forgot how to resent something other than a special operation in three months, but I can say one thing for sure - Ukrainian activists who tried to protest Serebrennikov's participation in the Cannes competition should sleep peacefully. This is an outstanding kitsch even by the standards of Kirill Semyonovich. The first concert played on "instruments" - the size matters. The main party here is with my friend Vladimir Mishukov, whom I will never be able to look into the eyes without laughing now. He portrays the lover of the wife of Peter Ilyich Antonina, closer to the long-awaited finale, his Shlykov masturbates, choking picturesquely from consumption. There are whispers and screams. And then a cough and sobs of the foreskin, drowning in the divine sfumato from Opelyants).
Neither about Tchaikovsky, nor about Russia, this picture says nothing (neither new, nor in general) and does not even pull on a video on the fight against homophobia (yesterday was an official day). Unless Serebrennikov made a cameo of the entire Moscow LGBT community, it walks naked and upside down between Antonina and a genius, and they, in sadness, sort out the keys of an old piano. Oksimiron, contrary to the teaser, does not rap, but simply plays badly. It’s hard to root for Russia now, but I believe in a bright future, so I rejoiced and laughed in the credits ... "
And here is another film critic, Stas Tyrkin, called the film "the most disciplined" by Serebrennikov:
“For now, I just have to say that Tchaikovsky’s Wife, Kirill Serebrennikov’s dream project, which arose from the wreckage of his (yet) failed biopic about the great Russian composer and was composed while under house arrest, is one of his best films, opening wide director of the door to a large, real international film industry.
Despite the fact that in the current circumstances the film is hardly in danger of being released in Russia, this director did not allow himself a greater “mainstream”, which is especially evident in contrast to the anarchist “Petrovs in the flu”. Imbued with genuine sympathy for the main character, this is Kirill Serebrennikov's most collected, focused, "disciplined" film, whose neoclassical coherence is internally undermined by the director's punk radicalism.