KIRILL RAZLOGOV. MOVIES OF MY LIFE.

(borrowed from Francois Truffaut). I am grateful to my colleagues that on the occasion of my 75th anniversary (60 years of enthusiasm for cinema and 55 years of my professional work in this sphere) they have given me an opportunity to do a mini-version of my project (which in all probability will never see the light of day, if only posthumously) as part of the festival.
Every film of the proposed program spanning the period from 1913 to 2020 is related to some special event or person whose memory I cherish. Besides the filmmakers whom I had the chance to meet, they are interested observers of the cinematic process like Vera Dmitrievna Khanzhonkova, Valentin Ivanovich Ezhov or Vladimir Yurievich Dmitriev. I’ll try to keep the actual stories brief while presenting the movies. I’ll outline the structure of the program which has taken shape spontaneously. 
It opens with thoughts on women’s destinies in the early cinema – Twilight of the Female Soul (1913) by Evgeny Bauer and Häxan (Witches) (1915) by Benjamin Christensen. Then comes the eternal “love triangle” in Third Meschansky Street (1927) by Abram Room,  Design for Living (1933) by Ernst Lubitsch and finally Francois Truffaut’s classical film Jules et Jim (1962), where the action is set at the beginning of the past century. In our national culture the interrelation of times is symbolized for me by two Outskirts – by Boris Barnet (1933) and by Peter Lutsik and Alexei Samoriadov (1998).

 

Touch of Evil (1958) is the last of classical noirs.  It opened with the longest shot (at the time) which combined virtuoso camera movement with in-the-frame action. The portrait of the world where everything is relative was created by the protagonist of my first book Orson Welles. The moral choices facing the characters of the movie echo the modern crisis on the Mexican-US border (where the action is set) and the “difficult areas of memory” in the newest Bulgarian movies by Dimitar Radev’s  Raya Dante linking Italian classics with political repressions of “real socialism”.
Alexei Balabanov’s River (2002) is at another crossroads of cultures, human destinies, reality and mysticism. The tragedy of the actress who died during the shooting and the story of the rebirth of this intentionally unfinished movie resulted in a unique work of art. And finally the paradoxes of passion and sexual relations are at the epicenter of the famous Japanese-French Empire of Passion (1976, originally known as Corrida of Love) directed by Nagisa Oshima and produced by Anatole Dauman, and of Catherine Breillat’s feminist manifesto Romance (1999) .
I happened to see the Argentinian film Volver by the Jewish director David Lipszyc (there are reasons for mentioning this national identity) with the brilliant music by Astor Piazzolla in Cuba in the company of Valentin Ezhov and we both felt like we were back at home in the hall of the House of Cinema. I wish the festival audience to feel the same way.
Kirill Razlogov
Program Director of the MIFF