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Russian film festival returns

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Film Cold Tango is one of 14 shown at this years Russian Resurrection Film Festival

Film Cold Tango is one of 14 shown at this years Russian Resurrection Film Festival

Pavel Chukhray

Pavel Chukhray

Film Cold Tango is one of 14 shown at this years Russian Resurrection Film Festival

Yvonne Ardley, ECU Reporter

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Grab your ushanka and vodka as Australia prepares to say nostrovia to the 2017 Russian Resurrection Film Festival.

Shown in six cities around Australia and New Zealand, the largest Russian film festival outside of Russia will be screening in Perth at Cinema Paradiso from 26 October-19 November.

From Vikings to romance and even space travel, 14 films of varying genres have been chosen by Festival Director, Nicholas Maksymow and the selection committee.

Maksymow said Russian films would be attractive to people who enjoy more realistic style movies.

“The best way to describe a Russian film is that it’s ultra-realistic compared to say a Hollywood film, that are often very far-fetched,” he said.

Maksymow said the selection process was as unbiased as possible.

“We initially view the films without reading any reviews or critiques online. We watch the films with an objective and an open mind,” he said.

“We might see if the films have screened at any other international film festivals, or have picked up any awards.

“Based on that we would then select the strongest film in each particular genre.”

The Russian Resurrection Film Festival started in 2004 and screened at just three cities in Australia. It has grown considerably in interest and popularity over the last 14 years.

Maksymow explained Russian film started shifting toward a more western demographic over the last five years, resulting in more interest from the non-Russian community.

“The films that Russia is producing are geared towards not only arthouse like it would have been say 5 years ago, now, a lot of the films are more mainstream,” he said.

“There are even films like Such as Attraction which we’re screening this year, which I suppose is sort of geared towards more of a Western Audience.”

Suzanne Worner is managing the Russian Resurrection Film Festival in Perth and believes the unfamiliarity of the culture is what piques people’s interest.

“To me, I think it’s the curiosity value. People know Italian films, they know British films, American films, but no one really knows much about Russian films,” she said.

“The curiosity value can also scare some people away, but I think that if you’re a bit of a film buff you should go and dip your toe into something you wouldn’t always try.”

This year renowned Soviet, Russian and Hollywood producer Andrei Konchalovsky turns 80. Konchalovsky is most famous for films such as Runaway Train (1985) and Tango & Cash (1989).

According to the film festival website, Konchalovsky’s “latest feature Paradise (2016) won the Golden Eagle and NIKA for Best Film, as well as the Silver Lion for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival.”

Maksymow said that to commemorate Konchalovsky’s achievements, they are celebrating his films as part of a retrospect at this year’s festival.

According to Worner, other film festivals running in conjunction with the Russian Resurrection have made for challenging competition, however she has had great support from the local Russian community.

“There’s nothing really much for them here, whereas there are for other cultures. For example, there are Italian restaurants and there’s a really big Italian festival, but for Russian people, there’s not a lot of their culture here – so they really embrace it which is terrific,” she said.

“I want to take it wider and make sure other people know about it, especially other people who are interested in films who could expand their horizons.”

Worner encourages anyone from any background to try Russian film.

“You can learn a bit about Russian culture, but you can also learn that these stories are just universal, that no matter what country you’re from, what culture you’re from, people face the same issues around the world.”

Maksymow wants beginners to the Russian film experience to get out of their comfort zone and explore the culture.

“For those who are coming along for the first time, go in with an open mind, select a film or two from completely different genres just to appreciate what Russian films are about.”

You can see the full list of films here.

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Quality journalism by ECU students
Russian film festival returns