The 35th Moscow International Film Festival kicked off on Thursday, June 20, 2013 with the opening gala premiere of Marc Forster’s WORLD WAR Z starring Brad Pitt. The film revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop a pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.
The complete lineup of feature films in competition include:
MATTERHORN dir. Diederik Ebbinge, Netherlands, 2013, 87’
In a small religious village leads Fred a lonely existence. His wife has died and he has lost contact with his son. The only thing he does is go to church and talk with the neighbors. When a stranger suddenly pops up in the village, Fred is getting the color back in his life.
DROGÓWKA (TRAFFIC DEPARTMENT) , dir. Wojtek Smarzowski, Poland, 2013, 118′
The story of seven policemen who are colleagues as well as friends, sharing a fondness for parties, sports cars, and business. Their enclosed world seems to be running smoothly. Everything changes after one of them dies under mysterious circumstances. Sergeant Ryszard Królis accused of murder. Trying to clear his name, he discovers the truth about criminalties in the top ranks of government.
SPAGHETTI STORY dir. Ciro de Caro, Italy, 83’, 2013
Nowadays, four Italian young adults longing to change their lives, yet stuck upon the shelf: Valerio and Kookie, dreaming of their big break, yet still not being independent; Giovanna and Serena, pretending to be adult, yet never having dared to live. Then, the encounter with Mei Mei, a young Chinese prostitute, shines a light on the truth: the gain of one’s freedom is, above all, an inside job.
ROL’ (The Role), dir. Konstantin Lopushansky, Russia, 2013, 132’
The Role is about a brilliant actor in revolutionary Russia who takes on the greatest role of his life – the role of another man. Influenced by the ideas of symbolism and the Silver Age, he decides to slip into the life of his doppelganger – a revolutionary leader in the new Soviet Russia. First intrigued, then obsessed, he flings himself into the role and lives it to the hilt… even when the play of the life he is writing heads towards a tragic finale. Based on true incidents in the lives of Russia’s symbolists, this gripping film explores how far one man will go for the role of a lifetime.
LOS CHICOS DEL PUERTO dir. Alberto Morais, Spain, 78’, 2013
Miguel makes the journey that his grandfather cannot make because he is locked up by his own family. The mission is very simple, go to a funeral and leave an army jacket on the grave of an old man, a friend of his grandfather. Miguel, accompanied by Lola and Guillermo, leaves that island of cement that is the Nazareth neighborhood. He wanders the outskirts of Valencia, looking for a cemetery and faces a deserted city.
ZERRE (PARTICLE), dir., Erdem Tepegöz , Turkey, 2012, 80
How much space does Zeynep take up in this vast universe? This is a city brimming with the struggling and the unemployed; aren’t their lives a bit like the infinite, tiny particles flying through the air? Zeynep is already trying hard to make ends meet when she gets fired from her job at a textile mill. The Particle follows her as she searches for a job. We follow her in and out of workspaces. Zeynep’s world – the streets and homes in Tarlabaşı – are dark and suffocating.
ROSIE dir. Marsel Gisler, Switzerland, 106’, 2013
Lorenz Meran, a successful gay author suffering acute writers’ block, has to leave Berlin and return to eastern Switzerland to provide care for his aged mother, Rosie. When he finds himself confronted with the fact that fun-loving Rosie refuses both outside assistance and a care home, he discovers that he is stuck fast in his small home town of Altstätten. But it is not only his mother’s battle against being dictated to and losing her dignity that he is struggling with. It’s also his own midlife crisis. And when long-kept secrets are suddenly revealed under the tensions of family dynamics, Lorenz almost fails to notice that love is knocking on the front door of his parent’s house…
SAYONARA KEIKOKU (THE RAVINE OF GOODBYE), dir. Tatsushi Ômori Japan,2013, 117’
In a valley, with a dense growth of trees, a baby is killed. The baby’s mother Satomi is arrested as the prime suspect. The police also learn that Satomi is involved in a romantic relationship with her next door neighbor Ozaki. The information was provided by the neighbor’s lover Kanako. Meanwhile, magazine reporter Watanabe, who is covering the story, discovers the shocking fact that Ozaki was involved in a rape case 15 years ago. Even more shocking, the victim in the rape case is Kanako.
KOMA (DISORDER), dir.Archil Kavtaradze, Georgia , 2013, 90’
A young man is arrested and put into prison for a car accident. His two victims in a coma get into a hospital. The director from his own tragic experience shows us the reverse side of Georgia. Where is the edge to cruelty and sadism, how much can a person bear in a world of absurd injustice and total ridicule? What can you do when you confront the system?
SKOLZHENIYE (SLIDE), dir. Anton Rozenberg, Russia, 2013, 117
The main characters of “Slide” are above the law. They are a group of police investigators wallowed in criminal activities. But the up-and-running criminal scheme worked out by the experienced team begins to fail. There appears to be a mole reporting directly to the FSB. When Pepel finds himself in a life-threatening situation he starts thinking about his existence for the first time ever. Once he begins to think he can’t go back to his former self. The team begin to suspect that he is the mole. The former co-workers turn into mortal enemies.
L’AUTRE VIE DE RICHARD KEMP (Back in Crime), director: Germinal Alvarez, 2013, 102’
When Police Captain Richard Kemp investigates a murder, strange similarities to the case bring to mind Pierced Ear, a serial killer who he hunted in vain at the beginning of his career. His only witness is Hélène Batistelli. But a mysterious event sends Kemp back twenty years into the past, to May 1989, the day before the first murder was carried out by Pierced Ear. Kemp tries once again to stop murders from taking place, but a young cop complicates things for him: this ambitious detective is none other but himself, twenty years younger… Hélène, who knows nothing about him, will cross his path…
MAMAROŠ dir. Momčilo Moma Mrdaković , Serbia, Germany, France, Hungary 105′, 2013
Middle-aged cinephile and film projectionist Pera still lives with his mother – and best friend – Mara, in Belgrade. It’s 1999 and when NATO bombs start raining down on Serbia, the two of them become refugees. After a surreal journey, they end up in New York, where Pera realizes that he can no longer do the old job he loved so much. While he and Mara were struggling to survive, the new age of digital projection was born. Then Pera stumbles upon some discarded projectors and his new mission in life becomes clear: he will travel around and show people the magic of Real Cinema – the magic that can only be created by celluoid, mechanical projectors, the silver screen and flickering light.
LEBANON EMOTION director Young-heun Jung, 106′, 2013
A man chases a woman. She runs by and then meets another man. The film shows desolate sights. The director’s intention to show indescribable emotions comes up in the frames.
IUDA (JUDAS) director: Andrey Bogatyryov, 108’, 2013
Judas, a seasoned thief, finds himself in the market square where Christ is giving a sermon and his apostles are collecting alms. He follows them and steals their money, only to be caught red-handed. Nevertheless, the Teacher forgives him. What is more, He invites the thief to become one of His followers and offers him a position as the group’s treasurer. Shocked by Christ’s unexpected offer, Judas decides to join the apostles, if only to figure out what is going on. He gradually starts to comprehend Christ’s message, but feels that the apostles are blindly following their teacher. Judas argues with them, and tries to defend his right to divine the truth of God. But when he fails to make them understand, he realizes that Christ’s teachings may sink into oblivion without benefiting humanity. His solution is to betray Christ. “By killing a man, have I not saved a God?”
A MEMÓRIA QUE ME CONTAM (Memories they told me) Director Lúcia Murat Brasil, 100’, 2012
An ironic drama about defeated utopias, terrorism, sexual behavior and the creation of a myth. A group of friends, who resisted the military dictatorship, and their children will face the conflict between the daily life of today and the past when one of them is dying.
DELIGHT Director Gareth Jones , UK, 101’, 2013
Echo goes looking for her one-time lover and comrade-in-arms, only to fall into a passionate relationship with his son. But sexual abandon triggers the unravelling of a trauma she has long buried for the sake of her children, which now threatens to tear their lives apart. Can eros bring a healing of trauma, or merely its repetition?
The complete lineup of documentary films in competition include:
AND WHO TAUGHT YOU TO DRIVE Director: Andrea Thiele Germany, 84’, 2012
Driving through traffic at home is already stressful enough. Now imagine driving a car in a completely foreign country. Mirela, moving from Germany to India, Jake moving from the USA to Japan and South Korean Hye-Won living in Germany are facing the same problem: they are all forced to obtain a new local driver’s license. Driving lessons soon become lessons in life when our protagonists discover that getting through the day will involve much more than just obeying the rules of the road in their host country.
HOLOCAUST – IS IT A WALLPAPER PASTE? Director: Mumin Shakirov Russia, 56’, 2013
The Karatygin sisters received what many young people dream about – to become famous. This is why they came to participate in a MUZ-TV programme “The Utterly Stunning”. This quiz show usually does not cover topics one would have during exams and unexpectedly the girls were asked what the word “Holocaust” meant. The girls replied that it was some paste for wall paper. This episode of the show received an enormous number of clicks on YouTube and raised a lot of questions about the education in Russia and about the girls themselves. After meeting the girls the author of the film got an idea to arrange a trip for them to Auschwitz in Poland.
THE GENIUS OF MARIAN Director: Banker White Co-director Anna Fritch USA, 84’, 2013
The Genius of Marian follows Pam White in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Her son, the filmmaker, works with her as she attempts to write a book that tributes her mother, the renowned artist Marian Steele. As Pam’s family comes together to support her, they must also prepare for the new reality that Alzheimer’s disease brings.
OJCIEC I SYN Father and son Director: Paweł Łoziński Poland, 58’, 2013
My father and I get into an old camper and head for Paris where, 23 years ago, he dispersed his mother’s ashes in the Luxembourg Garden. Our trip will take two weeks. We’re both documentary filmmakers so we’ve decided to make a film recording the journey. We stop at camper parks or gas stations for the night. We each have a camera to keep the conditions fair and so we’re both the directors and protagonists at the same time. My father is 70, I am 44. We discuss various things – family history, difficult past, my father’s divorces. Any question is allowed. The journey is a pretext to get to know each other a little better. A cinematic-psychological experiment about the father-son relationship. Once in the editing room, will we be able to create a single version that would be acceptable to both?
THE CONDEMNED Director Nick Read Producer Mark Franchetti UK, Russia, 80’, 2013
The film takes viewers into the hidden world of one of Russia’s most impenetrable and remote institutions: Penal Colony 56, a maximum security prison exclusively for murderers. Its 260 inmates have collectively killed nearly 800 people. The documentary delves into the mind and soul of six main characters: The contract killer whose family believed he worked in the oil business. The hard man who has spent more than forty years behind bars. The murderer of six who, by his own admission, is too vicious to ever be let out again. The “downcast” – a killer whose hand even other murderers will not shake. The inmate who, after 20 years in jail, now fears freedom. In charge of the mad and the bad is the prison’s hard line governor, who after 26 years, has been at the penal colony longer than any inmate.
THE CRASH REEL Director: Lucy Walker USA, 109′, 2013
U.S. champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce was at the top of his sport in 2009 when he suffered massive head trauma while training for the 2010 Winter Olympics. What begins as a documentary of a daring and tireless athlete working to become the new face of a growing sport, quickly becomes a chronicle of a young man’s brave journey towards rehabilitation and the understanding of his own limits.
THE DARK MATTER OF LOVE Director: Sarah McCarthy UK, 93’, 2013
Eleven year old Masha Kulabokhova is about to be adopted into fourteen year old Cami Diaz’s family. Masha grew up in a Russian orphanage; Cami was born and raised in Wisconsin and has been the exclusive focus of her parents’ love her whole life. The Dark Matter of Love follows Masha as she leaves Russia to the spend her first year as part of the Diaz family, who have also adopted five year old twin boys Marcel and Vadim. When the reality of bonding with children who have grown up in institutions turns out to be more difficult than they ever imagined, the Diaz’s hire two of the world’s best developmental psychologists to help them build their new family – through science.