Moscow fest big on local fare

20-strong competish includes 3 homegrown pics

See lineupMOSCOW — Moscow Intl. Film Festival organizers announced its 25th jubilee competition program Wednesday, with a heavier than usual slant on local pics that will please auds used to slates without a single Russian entrant.

The three local pics in the 20-strong competition are St Petersburg tribute “The Stroll,” from helmer Alexei Uchitel (“His Wife’s Diary”), which will open the fest on June 20, “Petersburg” by Irina Yevteeva and “Koktbel” from debut directors Boris Khlebnikov and Alexei Popogrebsky. Another 150 will screen out of competition.

English-language fare is repped by Mike Barker’s “To Kill a King” from the U.K., starring Tim Roth, and the Mike Hodges U.K.-U.S. co-production “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead,” with Charlotte Rampling and Malcolm MacDowell.

Nine films from Europe dominate the program, including Dogma helmer Soren Kragh-Jacobsen’s “Skagerrak.” There are three pics from Asia, including Japanese veteran and three-time Moscow main prizewinner Kaneto Shindo’s “Owl,” and two pics from Latin America. Closing film on June 29 will be Franco Zeffirelli’s “Callas Forever”

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The jury, chaired by Russian-American helmer Sergei Bodrov, includes helmers Ken Russell, Agnieszka Holland, Babak Payami, Mika Kaurismaki, German thesp Moritz Bleibtreu and Russian thesp Olga Budina.

Guests include Francois Ozon, Peter Greenaway (with his “Tulse Luper Suitcase”, a co-production with Russia), Sofie Marceau and Fanny Ardant.

Other programs in the panorama section, which often attracts more interest than the competition, are traditional, ranging from populist “National Hits” to the experimental “8 ½.”

Changes in the local market certainly show. Five years ago no fest fare was being acquired for the territory, now almost all pics that gain arthouse release in Europe appear in Russia — and it’s clear some Russian distribs have held back films from Moscow.

Fest director general Renat Davletyarov said the event’s scale and budget will be more modest than in previous years. State support of 72 million rubles ($2.4 million) remains constant, but private sponsorship has dropped as many companies have directed funds towards high-profile 300th anniversary celebrations in St Petersburg.

There will be no film market, an institution that never attained more than a symbolic status.

Competition films

“Callas Forever,” Franco Zeffirelli
“Yu,” Franz Novotny
“The End of a Mystery” (Luz prodigiosa), Miguel Hermosa
“Past Perfect” (Passato Prossimo), Maria Sole Tognazzi
“Que Sera, Sera” (Seja O Que Deus Quiser!) Murilo Salles
“I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead,” Mike Hodges
“Koktbel,” Alexei Popogrebsky, Boris Khlebnikov
“It’s Easier for a Camel” (Il Est Plus Facile Pour un Chameau), Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi
“Moonlight,” Paula van der Oest
“Long Weekend in Pest and Buda” (Egy Het Pesten Es Budan), Karoly Makk
“Malamor,” Jorje Echeverri
“Petersburg,” Irina Yevteeva
“The Stroll,” Alexei Uchitel
“Warming up Yesterday’s Lunch,” Kostadin Bonev
“Skagerrak,” Soren Kragh-Jacobsen
“Owl” (Fukuro), Kaneto Shindo
“Save the Green Planet!” (Jigureul Jikyeora!), Jang Jun-Hwan
“Dancing in the Dust” (Raghs Dar Chobar), Asghar Farhadi
“To Kill a King,” Mike Barker
“Eila,” Jarmo Lampela