The central part of the traditional MIFF program “Masters” constitutes a quartet of very different authors, distinguished by enviable directorial freedom. On top of this list among equals goes the oldest 62-year-old Edgar P?ra. The filmography of this tireless experimenter includes over a hundred titles; his newest feature film is called effectively and brazenly – “The Nothingness Club – N?o sou nada”. Surely, P?ra, one of the most original Portuguese directors of all time, can dare to give such a title. It will sound even more impudent if we mention that the protagonist Fernando Pessoa is not only a great writer, but a symbol and a synonym of Portuguese literature. However, among other things, Pessoa is famous for his literary diversity: his works were published under a huge number of pseudonyms. It allowed P?ra to make a playful noir, in which different incarnations of Pessoa (and cinema) enter into bright interaction.

Spaniard Jaime Rosales (born in 1970) has repeatedly participated in the Cannes competition Un Certain Regard. The attentive and non-fussy look at reality in its everyday manifestations distinguishes the modest, but long-lasting films of Rosales. The new drama “Wild Sunflowers” is just one of these, remaining in memory by convincing human relationships and the amazing light of the Catalan sun.

Levan Koguashvili (born in 1973) knows how to fill the most dramatic stories with branded – both warm and bitter humor. This gift is boundless. Neither genre – in Koguashvili’s filmography, the fiction romcom “Blind Dates” coexists with the documentary (!) romantic comedy (yes, such do happen!) “Gogita’s New Life”. Nor geographic bounds – protagonists of the new picture “Brighton 4th”, Georgia nominee for the Oscar, are residing in Brooklyn.

The youngest in the “Masters” company is a Spaniard Carlos Vermut (born in 1980). Vermut is a virtuoso storyteller, a director of the dizzying “Magical Girl”, which immediately brought him a cult status, a scriptwriter of Paco Plaza’s horror masterpiece “Grandmother”. In the new film “Manticore” (the main character is working on the image of this mythological monster) Vermut perfectly and stunningly incorporates elements of horror into the flesh of the chamber drama: suspense plus feelings!

In 2023 the program “Masters” will host two special events. The first is a retrospective dedicated to the memory of Nikolai Dostal. We will show his most striking film “Cloud-Paradise”, a gloomy comedy about dreams and partings.

The second, on the contrary, is a festive event, accompanied by a concert, broadening the meaning of the program’s title: not only masters of film directing are presented in it. The heroes of the documentary film by Alexander Bryntsev “Jazz 100” are the stars of the Russian jazz. Jazz and cinema are not twins, but no doubt brothers.

Vadim Rutkovsky

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