Yekaterina Barabash, Sochi
The critics, by the way, gave their prize to the same film. Novye Izvestia has already written about this undoubted cinematic miracle, created by a rural primary school teacher, who takes pictures in his free time from school and practically at his own expense. Film Pugalo (Scarecrow) costed its creators 1.5 million rubles. But there was nothing even close to the quality of the direction, the picture, the whole system of meanings in the competition of the current Kinotavr film competition.
The award for directing was taken away by debutant Philip Yuriyev, while his Kitoboy (Whaler) had already received one of the prestigious prizes of the Venice Festival a week ago. Kitoboy (Whaler) is the story of a Chukchi boy Alyoshka who falls in love with a girl from a porn chat and decides to swim across the Bering Strait, get to America, and then somehow get to Detroit, where his beloved lives.
Yuriyev, a debutant director, very boldly, in an adult way, combines this desire for new worlds with ancient local traditions. The Internet with its overseas beauties coexists with the main harsh occupation of the local residents - whale hunting, which is shown in the film in brutal, bloody, detailed, and it seems that even the Internet will die someday, and whale hunting will always exist. Kitoboy (Whaler) is a very simple and very thin film canvas that smells of the ocean, whale blood, permafrost and human warmth. Young debutant Vladimir Onokhov, an unprofessional 18-year-old actor from Anadyr, received an actor's prize for this role, and the Yakut singer, who played the Scarecrow, was named the best actress. This, however, caused some bewilderment in the hall, because there were a lot of good acting works of professionals. But both of these northern actors lead the plot so organically, so naturally they exist in a complex weaving of images, that the charm of natural talent, not honed by professional education, outweighs any reverence for already established famous artists.
The jury headed by Boris Khlebnikov chose Ivan Tverdovsky as the best screenwriter, who wrote the script for his film "Conference" (about this film Novye Izvestia also wrote during Kinotavr contest). The jury's special prize went to Mikhail Segal for the film Deeper, about a theater director who accidentally entered the porno cinema industry, a film in which behind a comedy plot the painful problem of the creative independence of a modern artist in the current Russian realities looms.
The final chord of this unusual Kinotavr - unusually quiet, "masked", with an endless temperature check and a chess-like seating arrangement, was a new work by Andrey Konchalovsky Dear Comrades. This film also came straight from Venice, where it won the jury's special prize.
The plot of this two-hour black-and-white drama centers on the shooting of a workers' demonstration in Novocherkassk in June 1962. The heroine of the film is party worker Lyudmila (Yulia Vysotskaya), a faithful Stalinist and sincere communist, front-line soldier, single mother, living with her old father (Sergei Erlish) and student daughter Sveta (Yulia Burova). In the midst of the tragic events, Sveta disappears, and Lyudmila, forgetting about her party duty, together with a KGB officer who arrived from Moscow (Andrei Gusev) rushes about the city and the surrounding area in search of a girl.
Almost 60 years have passed since the execution, and the "top secret" stamp hid the tragedy from human eyes and minds. A Soviet and then a Russian citizen should not have known about the disorder in a happy Soviet country, drowned in blood and crushed by armored personnel carriers. Concentrating on the story of Lyudmila, Konchalovsky painstakingly builds the background of this story. He deliberately does not give the scope of the tragedy, forcing us to look at events through the eyes of the heroine. There are not many mass scenes here - we mainly see how next to a frightened Lyudmila suddenly falls dead from a stray bullet from a hairdresser. Here, not having time to run around the corner of the house, a man falls to the ground and writhes in agony. Here, without even having time to shout, the wounded boy falls. Here they wash the blood from the asphalt with a hose stream - the detail, although not new for the cinema, works perfectly.
Interestingly, in the film, we practically do not see the rebels up close - literally a couple of times we will be shown close-ups of several faces from the crowd of indignant workers, and the camera will return to the local, and at the same time the Moscow chiefs who rushed to manage the execution. Their meetings are shown in detail, with monologues and dialogues, reasoning and emotions, faces - large. Say, look - here they are, the faces of the authorities, here they are - our "heroes", all as one who escaped punishment for the murder of those whom they should protect. Look at them and remember: sometimes they come back.
Probably the most terrible thing in this film is not the topic of the shooting itself, not the terrible facts - for example, the relatives of the killed did not know where their loved ones were buried (more precisely, they were buried in a hurry without coffins and crosses). The worst thing is that no tragedies teach anything, and history seems to pass through people, without touching anything inside, without catching, without blood. Party worker Lyudmila, having gone through hell, having recovered a little, begins to speak again about loyalty to communism, about longing for Stalin, about the need for sacrifice. “We will become better”, - she promises, as if believing in the cleansing power of blood.
It makes no sense to guess whether Konchalovsky was planning a roll call with today, whether he had in mind today's Russia with its embryos of protests. For some reason, I think not - he is not one of those directors who catches parallel meanings. Whoever wants - will see his own. In the ability to show everyone what he wants to see, Konchalovsky probably has no equal. someone will see a warning: today you shot the Russian revolt - tomorrow it may not work. Someone will see another warning: don't go to rebel - it usually ends badly. Someone will see the sad statement: our country has always been ruled by the Chekists (in the film, it is the Chekist who helps the heroine in search of her daughter and it is he who becomes her faithful companion in these terrible moments). Someone will see a joyful statement: what bastards were the Soviet Chekists, but we are completely different now, right?
Dear Comrades is a film made very carefully in every sense. Here and good drama, and clearly not weakened director's hand, and worthy acting work. But what is not there is a strong, lasting emotion. For some reason, the picture is difficult to perceive with the soul and the nerve, it responds in the brain with a sort of mechanical "well - it's good that they finally told about it".
Unlike some not ideal and not so masterful films with non-professional actors, shot for three kopecks by young directors somewhere in the Far North. This is probably the main result of the past Kinotavr competition.