Happy birthday for Russian Film Festival

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Vladas Bagdonas as the conductor
Vladas Bagdonas as the conductor
IT’S time for a big 10 year anniversary toast, with the gala opening tonight of the 2013 Russian Resurrection Film Festival at Palace Electric Cinemas.

The brainchild of a former Alexander Downer staffer, Nicholas Maksymow, the “resurrection” in the name is to the cultural renaissance that followed the collapse of Soviet Communism.

One of the most enjoyable film festivals on the calendar, it promises, as the organisers say, “ warm, proud and passionate Russian cinematic hospitality,” just what we need at this time of the year.

This year’s program features dramas, comedies, thrillers, animations, and a musical.

Tonight, audiences will see ‘The Conductor,’ by director Pavel Lungin, who depicts a life-changing experience when a leading Russian conductor takes his orchestra to Jerusalem to perform the St Matthew Passion.

Other highlights include the unusual romantic comedy ‘Love With An Accent,’ in which an unhappy Lithuanian woman on hearing of the extraordinary fertility of Georgian men flies to Georgia to find a husband.

Then in a world premiere for the festival – i.e. not yet released in Russia – there will be ‘The Geographer,’in which biologist Viktor Sluzhkin takes a job as a teacher of geography and battles with the schoolchildren, the principal, and his own life.

The Russian Resurrection Film Festival will never forget children so with what is estimated to be Russia’s highest grossing animated film of all time, we’ll get to see “The Snow Queen,” based on that scariest of all Hans Christian Andersen story where the little girl Gerda travels across the icy wastelands to save her brother/friend Kay from the evil Snow Queen.

Where adult audiences are concerned, the highest grossing Russian film ever at the Russian box office is ‘Legend No. 17’, from director Nikolai Lebedev and it is on show at the festival too.  The film tells of the victories and deprivation of ice hockey great Valery Harlamov

In an entirely different vein is ‘Hipsters’, a musical from director Valery Todorovsky. Set in Soviet Russia during the 1950s, it’s a song and dance extravaganza about a group of youths known as Hipsters, who stand out from the rest of their grey clothed comrades with their flashy colourful clothes, and love of Jazz and American culture.

The full Canberra program is as follows:

A Long and Happy Life; The Conductor; For Marx; The Geographer; Gentlemen of Fortune (2012); I Will Be Near; The Iron Butterfly; Legend No 17; Love with an Accent; Marathon; Me Too;Metro; Short Stories; The Snow Queen; SoulLess; This is What’s Happening to Me; Beware of the Automobile; Ivan Vasilievich – Back to the Future; and The Diamond Arm.

2013 Russian Resurrection Film Festival, at Palace Electric Cinemas, July 16 to 21, bookings to palacecinemas.com.au/cinemas/electric/

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