MOSCOW — Russia’s bitter winter grew a little warmer last week with Moscow’s annual “Faces of Love” mini-fest presenting a better than usual program, including the first local showings of Sam Mendes’ “American Beauty.”
Event, run by organizers of June’s “Kinotavr” Black Sea festival, now occupies its own dedicated venue in Moscow’s renovated Mir cinema, which has been assigned to Kinotavr organizers. Opening ceremony took place there Jan. 13, led by French thesp Catherine Deneuve.
The only disappointment in the comp program of 14 pics was the absence of promised “Eyes Wide Shut,” but the presence of helmers and thesps from other competing films made up for its absence. Out-of-comp offerings included the full set of German producer Regina Ziegler’s “Erotic Tales.”
Jury, headed by Polish actress Beata Tishkevich, awarded main honors Jan. 21 to Slovenia’s B&W fest cult success “Idle Running” (less appropriately titled in Russian as “A Bachelor’s Way”). Pic took event’s Golden Arrow best film award, as well as best actor for lead Jan Cvitkovic.
Followup Silver Arrow award for best romantic couple went to German pic “Tuvalu,” and proved a popular choice. Female star Chulpan Khamatova, who’s well matched by Denis Lavant, is a local Moscow favorite.