I vividly remember the letter that my old buddy Yuri Arabov, who is now an acknowledged master, sent to me when I served in the army. In it he described his feelings about the recently completed movie The Lonely Voice of Man.  In it everything was hopelessly “unlike” Soviet cinema of the time. Bathed in photogenie, it intentionally ignored any narrative, either in terms of words or plot or even meaning, but it helped to ensure its inner affinity with Andrei Platonov’s original work “The Potudan River”. Alexandr Sokurov is a  rare example of an artist who has always defended his own world view beginning with that student film. He is even more unique in the way he cultivates in his students what he had so much difficulty with in his own remarkable career, i.e. defending your own personality in very shot of the movie. There is no doubt that it means hard, relentless work and being merciless to oneself. There is no doubt that sometimes it brings amazing results. The examples of Kantemir Balagov, Vladimir Bitokov, Kira Kovalenko are self-explanatory. Sokurov’s studio is called “Inverted Perspective”. In paining it is a device which permits to see remote objects as if they were bigger than those close to the viewer. Instead of the horizon the lines converge in the viewer’s eye. This is the essential feature of this school: the Master teaches his students to expose and bring closer things which are not readily evident. The audience of the 43rd MIFF will have a rare chance to see the outstanding Master and teacher at work and to appreciate movies made within his workshop. So remember all the names of filmmakers of these short movies from 10 to 20-odd minutes long. These gifted debutants are the future of Russian cinema. And perhaps not only Russian.
Peter Shepotinnik
The Festival Daily