8 1/2 FILMS

Ideally, the program “Eight And a Half Films” should be something like breaking news from the festival battlefield, where even the best sometimes are bound to lose – either due to underhand plotting, or ignorance of disheveled jury, or… but wait, why am I calling this “losing”? I have to interrupt myself as I think of, for example, Maren Ade's “Toni Erdmann”, a film of nonpareil directing which, fortunately, will grace our program this year. 
I am convinced the worth of a film which received ovation in Cannes, just as, I am sure, it will in Moscow, cannot reduce to a golden prize on a special shelf. It might have lost to other – less original – works, yet it did so as a hero, raising the stakes even higher, and I have no doubts the triumph awaiting it will expand much further than mere festivals. 
Another battle the audience of our program will be able to give its due credit to is the recent screening in the Cannes competition of the two equally prominent, stylistically very close Romanian films by Cristian Mungiu and Cristi Puiu. Incidentally, their previous films also participated in the “Eight And a Half Films” at different times, which, right after their premieres at Cannes, makes their presence in the Russian audience's scope very tangible. Which one of them is better? Let’s see what the visitors of “Oktyabr” cinema will say! These visitors are one of the program’s most significant victories. During the last 17 years we were very often able to discern in the halls of different cinemas, like non-existent now “Udarnik”, or the Moscow Youth Palace, or “Khudozhestvenny” the faces of the country’s leading filmmakers, which added significance to our program.  I am convinced that among these renowned figures and general audience (also quite sophisticated, if they have chosen our program) there are those who will do justice to curious films like “Tikkun” or “Greater Things”, which, I hope, will be followed by the second and third equally outstanding movies. Those who prefer extreme directing will definitely enjoy Álex de la Iglesia’s burlesque “My Big Night”, where he once again demonstrates his hooliganish talent, sharing the glory with the idol of the 70s Raphael, who clearly revels in the destruction of his image of a romantic angel. Another gem of the program is “11 Minutes”, a splendid work by the maestro of the European directing Jerzy Skolimowski. Curiously enough, last year we demonstrated a film called “13 Minutes”… 13…11…10, 9, 8... 3, 2, 1… go!
Peter Shepotinnik