This year’s program is revolves around several key themes related to Russian culture in the world context – literature, arts, the Soviet past which did not merely unite different countries but had a tremendous influence on their development and on stereotypes about our country.

Allusions to Russian and Soviet literature are found in three movies. In “Let Me Fly” Upali Gamlath from Sri-Lanka offers another screen version of Chinghiz Aitmatov’s novel “First Teacher” about the introduction of the Soviet system of education in the far-off villages in Kirghizia. He relocated the settings to the high-mountain settlements of Tibet. The main parts in the movie are played by the locals, which helped to preserve the authentic feeling and the affinity with the original work of the Soviet writer. Dongqiang Zhuang, the director of the Chinese movie “The Grass” looks at the representatives of modern younger generation. One of the characters enchanted by Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” tried to impersonate the heroic Nikolay Rostov. Spiritual pursuit typical of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s works, resonates with the debut of the Indian director Sunny Joseph “Salt of the Earth”. The setting is a Christian monastery in Kerala, perhaps the most Christianized state in India, where an uncompromising battle of angels and devils is taking place in the souls of the inhabitants.

Stereotypical “bad Russians” feature prominently in Charles Gu?rin Surville’s “Madness”. Daniil Vorobyov plays the main troublemaker and the Lebanese actress Manal Issa, already familiar to the Russian audience, is his quick-tempered girlfriend.

“Tug of War” by Amil Shivji from the far-away Tanzania reveals the deep-rooted relations between this African country and the Soviet Union. The protagonist, who was educated in the Soviet Union, forfeits everything for the cause of transforming the social and political life in his country.

The gem of the program is the Palestinian movie “Alam” by Firas Khoury co-produced by France, Tunis, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The film, inspired by the Soviet revolutionary avant-garde cinema, exudes youth, freedom and love.

Nina Kochelyaeva

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