In the case of our Festival we can often predict the winners. This year is no exception. The film which won the main Spanish film award Goya was seen by our viewers a year earlier. It was “The Silence of Others” by Robert Bahar and Almudena Carracedo. It was the same with the main French-language film award. This year the Cesar went to “So Help Me God”, which was screened at the previous MIFF, so this year the audience will see its main competitor for the Cesar, the film “De chaque instant” by the outstanding French documentary filmmaker Nicolas Philibert, a thrilling story about a school of medical nurses full of unexpected discoveries.
Most certainly we will be screening the film “Meeting Gorbachev” by two classics Werner Herzog and Andre Singer. It was the opening film in Leipzig and was one of the main events of the festival in Toronto. The Moscow audience will finally get to know the work of another documentary classic, the Indian Anand Patwardhan. It is incredible, but it seems his films have not yet been shown in this country. This time we will screen his “Reason”, made at the level of his best films like “In Memory of Friends” or "In the Name of God". “Reason” is a large-scale epic which runs for almost four hours. It won the main prize in Amsterdam at one of the IDFA chief documentary festivals.
Many viewers remember the provocative satiric comedy “The Ambassador” by Mads Brügger. It was screened in the “Free Thought” program in 2011 and was a huge success. For the last six years Brügger has been trying to solve the greatest crime of the 20th century – the death of the UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld in Congo, which remained a mystery for almost six decades. In “Cold Case Hammarskjöld” he has managed to solve the mystery, at least his conclusions look rather convincing. His virtuoso directing won Brügger a prize at Sundance.
We could not possibly overlook another sensation of the Sundance IFF, the Macedonian “Honeyland” by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov. They took almost all the prizes in the main competition including the Grand-Prix, the Special Jury Prize, the prize for the best camerawork.
The past year saw a rise in Scandinavian documentary filmmaking. Most certainly we took it into consideration. Consequently there are a number of Scandinavian films in the Documentary competition including the Swedish “The Raft” and the Danish “False Confessions”.
Two Israeli films “Advocate” and “Wild-Life, Death and Love in a Wildlife Hospital” are sure to stir a lot of interest and controversy, as well as the American Oscar nominee “RBG” and “Quicksilver Chronicles” shot in the best traditions of “direct cinema”. We should single out the Chinese “One Child Nation”, the Australian “Island of Hungry Ghosts” and the Afghan “Midnight Traveller”
And finally we offer several special screenings of documentaries. In addition to “Women of GULAG” and Sergei Yastrzhembsky’s new work we will introduce to the audience the project by Nikolay Izvolov who devoted several years to the restoration of Dziga Vertov’s first feature “The Anniversary of the Revolution”. No more than 12 minutes of the 2-hour film survived. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of this event because it introduces our country into the mainstream of the world festival movement in this sphere which is in high demand today.
Grigory Libergal