Moscow show goes on

Film fest plays despite low funding, other woes

MOSCOW — Moscow’s 20th International Film Festival unspooled Saturday in the newly refurbished Rossiya Cinema in the center of the Russian capital, confounding the expectations of many who had doubted that the event — dogged by uncertain funding and administrative problems alike — would open at all.

The opening-night audience was saluted with an official greeting from Russian President Boris Yeltsin, delivered by deputy PM Oleg Susuev, as well as by rousing words from Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

“The Moscow is alive and it will always live, because we all need cinema, especially in these difficult years,” said Luzhkov in an upbeat speech that earned him the loudest applause of the opening ceremony. “It is important that cinema returns not only to Moscow, but to Russia — and to our souls.”

With this year’s jubilee fest coinciding with the 850th anni of the city of Moscow — and the mayor’s major endeavor to put the city back on the international map — his fervor was understandable.

Nostalgic opening

Though ceremony speeches looked consciously to the future, the fest opening had a more nostalgic feel to it, as stars from earlier Moscow festivals — such as Ornella Muti, Gina Lollobrigida, Jacqueline Bissett and Alberto Sordi — remembered affectionately the warm reception once accorded them by Moscow crowds. By contrast, the reception given to this year’s opening film, “Romeo & Juliet,” showing out of competition, seemed less than ecstatic.

Claiming strong

Changing times — and a competition program that few are claiming strong — certainly makes the Moscow fest atmosphere a different one today. Though theaters are at last being upgraded and facilities have improved — this year’s press center even boasts computers — the frequent scheduling changes for which Russia seems to be notorious still make the fest a bewildering one for many foreign visitors.

The jury, led by Russian actor and prexy Oleg Menshikov, consists of Georgian director Irakli Kvirikazde, Polish actress Beata Tishkevich, Spanish director and critic Fernando Mendez-Leite, Bulgarian helmer Georgy Dyulgerov, India’s Mrinal Sen, French producer Michel Seydoux and Mexican director Sergio Olhovich.

Fest funding this year is about $4 million, half the sum handed out in 1995, and $1million to $2 million less than the optimum figure put forward by fest VP and budgeter Renat Davletyarov.

More Film

  • Database of Minority Entertainment Journalists, Critics

    Time's Up, USC Annenberg Launch Database of Underrepresented Journalists, Critics

    MOSCOW — Moscow’s 20th International Film Festival unspooled Saturday in the newly refurbished Rossiya Cinema in the center of the Russian capital, confounding the expectations of many who had doubted that the event — dogged by uncertain funding and administrative problems alike — would open at all. The opening-night audience was saluted with an official […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    'The Dark Knight' and More Superhero Films that Wowed Fans and Critics

    MOSCOW — Moscow’s 20th International Film Festival unspooled Saturday in the newly refurbished Rossiya Cinema in the center of the Russian capital, confounding the expectations of many who had doubted that the event — dogged by uncertain funding and administrative problems alike — would open at all. The opening-night audience was saluted with an official […]

  • Piotr Sliwowski to Head $70 Million

    Piotr Sliwowski to Head $70 Million Polish Moviemaking Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    MOSCOW — Moscow’s 20th International Film Festival unspooled Saturday in the newly refurbished Rossiya Cinema in the center of the Russian capital, confounding the expectations of many who had doubted that the event — dogged by uncertain funding and administrative problems alike — would open at all. The opening-night audience was saluted with an official […]

  • Boban Marjanovic Clippers

    Clippers Center Boban Marjanović Aims to Stand Out in Hollywood

    MOSCOW — Moscow’s 20th International Film Festival unspooled Saturday in the newly refurbished Rossiya Cinema in the center of the Russian capital, confounding the expectations of many who had doubted that the event — dogged by uncertain funding and administrative problems alike — would open at all. The opening-night audience was saluted with an official […]

  • 'The Dark Knight' Set for 10th

    'The Dark Knight' Set for 10th Anniversary IMAX Re-Release (EXCLUSIVE)

    MOSCOW — Moscow’s 20th International Film Festival unspooled Saturday in the newly refurbished Rossiya Cinema in the center of the Russian capital, confounding the expectations of many who had doubted that the event — dogged by uncertain funding and administrative problems alike — would open at all. The opening-night audience was saluted with an official […]

  • LeBron James Fans toss confetti to

    NBA's Media All-Stars: The Athletes Making Moves in Hollywood

    MOSCOW — Moscow’s 20th International Film Festival unspooled Saturday in the newly refurbished Rossiya Cinema in the center of the Russian capital, confounding the expectations of many who had doubted that the event — dogged by uncertain funding and administrative problems alike — would open at all. The opening-night audience was saluted with an official […]

  • Durban FilmMart Builds Bridges Between African,

    Durban FilmMart Builds Bridges Between African, Int’l. Markets

    MOSCOW — Moscow’s 20th International Film Festival unspooled Saturday in the newly refurbished Rossiya Cinema in the center of the Russian capital, confounding the expectations of many who had doubted that the event — dogged by uncertain funding and administrative problems alike — would open at all. The opening-night audience was saluted with an official […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content