09 20 Oct '24

32nd Flanders Film Festival focuses on Russia

15 Jul 2005
This year the festival's theme is threefold. It concentrates by tradition on film music, leaving room for two other themes: Russian movies and social commitment in cinema. The latter themes are clearly illustrated by this year's visual: matryoshkas some of which have their eyes wide open while others are blindfolded or gagged.
As part of the Europalia 2005 festival, the Flanders International Film Festival-Ghent spotlights Russia and recent Russian cinema. Russia has always been a trendsetter in cinema. The leitmotiv in this year's edition will be "activism in cinema", a programme put together by the New York experimental film maker Jem Cohen. The matryoshkas in the 32nd edition's poster refer to both themes. Some of the dolls are blindfolded or gagged. Yet, those without gags or blindfolds are more important according to the Flanders Film Festival. These dolls symbolize all committed movie makers who dare show miserable conditions and refuse to close their eyes. However, movies do not only expose abuses or taboos. Sometimes they cover them up. Sometimes they hide or distort the truth. This is illustrated by the first titles the festival releases: Bipedalism (2005) by Yevgeni Yufit, First People on the Moon (2005) by Alexei Fedorchenko and Dead Man's Bluff (2005) by Aleksei Balabanov. Bipedalism tells the story of a painter of animals who finds traces in his father's archives revealing the cross-breeding of the human race with other species. The mockumentary First People on the Moon mixes facts with the fictitious story that the Russians landed on the moon 30 years before the Americans did. Dead Man's Bluff, by the maker of Brother, is an extremely violent gut comedy.

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