The Resurrection Russian Film Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and commences in Brisbane on July 26, running until August 4. Housed at Palace Cinemas, the program spans 28 films across three major focuses—New Films, Valery Todorovsky Retrospective, and Comedies from our Childhood. It's a diverse selection showcasing the variety of approaches in contemporary Russian cinema, while also illuminating films from the past.
Here are my picks for what not to miss at the Russian Film Festival:
The Geographer - Alexander Veledinskiy
The Geographer is the opening night film and follows the trials and tribulations of Viktor Sluzhkin, a down-and-out biologist with a drinking problem, who takes on a position teaching high school students geography in his small home city of Perm. Covering everything from marital despair, parenting, teacher-student relationships, and bouts of addiction, this film still manages to be a charming and, at times, light-hearted tale.
When: Friday 26th of July, 6.45pm and Sunday 4th August, 6.45pm.
Comedies from our Childhood Retrospective
This suite of films from the 1960s and '70s celebrates Russian comedies from the past, including the original Gentlemen of Fortune (Alexander Seriy, 1971); time travel farce Back to the Future (Leonid Gaidai, 1973); and a twist on the Robin Hood story, Beware of the Automobile (Eldar Ryazanov, 1966). If you're keen on these humorous and whimsical films, or looking for a child-friendly option, you may also be interested in The Snow Queen (Vlad Barbe, Vadim Sveshnikov, 2012)—Russia's highest grossing animation.
When: The Snow Queen – Saturday 27th July, 1pm and Sunday 4th of August, 1pm.
Childhood comedies - various screening times, view the program here
Gentlemen of Fortune
A remake of the 1971 film (also showing in the program) this is a classic comedy that deals in mistaken identity, gangsters, clowns, international intrigue, prison time, and attempted escape, all of which leads to many amusing adventures. A Russian favourite remade for a contemporary audience.
When: Sunday 28th of July, 9.30pm and Saturday 3rd of August, 2.15pm
Valery Todorovsky Retrospective
Russian director Valery Todorovsky is a celebrated filmmaker, screenwriter, and television director. This body of six films gives an overview of his work to date. My picks are Hipsters (2008), The Lover (2002), and My Stepbrother Frankenstein (2004).
When: various screening times, view the program here
The Conductor - Pavel Lungin
The story of yes (you guessed it), a conductor, who takes his Russian orchestra to Jerusalem to perform. This seemingly straightforward journey proves instrumental (pun intended) for all concerned. An ambitious film with stellar performances and a powerful score.
When: Tuesday 30th of July, 7pm and Sunday 4th of August, 4.45pm
I Will Be Near - Pavel Ruminov
A drama about the intimate relationship between a young mother, Inna, and her six-year old son, the charming Mitia—Inna is diagnosed with a terminal illness and embarks on the heart-breaking journey to find new parents for Mitia. Despite the less than cheery subject matter, the film manages to be an uplifting experience due to the genuinely touching portrayal of the relationship between mother and son.
When: Wednesday 31st of July, 7pm
Nadia Buick co-directs The Fashion Archives, is a freelance curator and writer, and recently completed her doctorate in fashion, so it's no surprise that she knows a thing or two when it comes to art and style. Nadia is an avid wearer of vintage (just ask for her best spots about town), collects old paintings and postcards, and can always find the beauty in a little clutter.
Image Credit: The Molodist