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Win a free double pass to the festival
Svetlana Khodchenkova in Metro
If you're prone to claustrophobia, or find tunnels a bit on the scary side, then Russian movie Metro probably isn't for you. But if you're a fan of disaster movies, or intrigued by the idea of transferring The Poseidon Adventure to the Moscow underground, then you'll love Russia's first big-budget disaster flick.
Metro is one of almost 30 Russian-language films that will screen as part of this year's Russian Film Festival, running at New Farm's Palace Centro Cinema from 26 July to 4 August.
I caught Metro at the media launch for the festival a couple of weeks ago. While I'm not normally into disaster movies, I really enjoyed this one, which looks at the dire consequences when over-development in Moscow's city heart causes cracks in a metro tunnel, allowing water from the Moscow River to gush in.
Add a plot-line that traps a humanitarian doctor in the tunnel with the man who's having an affair with his wife, put a young girl at risk with her frantic mother caught in gridlocked traffic above ground, and you have all the elements of a gripping film that also gives an insight into post-Soviet Moscow and the daily lives of its inhabitants. Check out the trailer below to see what I mean (it's not subtitled, but the festival film will be).
Another festival highlight will be the world premiere of The Geographer. Taking the opening-night slot, it tells the tale of Viktor, an unemployed biologist forced to take a job as a geographer in a regional school. As Viktor struggles to create a life for himself and his daughter, we see him learn and grow despite his situation. The blurb for this film also says it features 'a moving score and breathtaking cinematography'.
If you're a sports fan, you shouldn't miss ice-hockey blockbuster Legend No. 17, the story of 1970s international ice-hockey superstar Valery Harlamov. I'm expecting highs, lows, and speedy on-ice action sequences from this one, which broke all Russian box-office records. Legend No. 17 director Nikolai Lebedev will be the special guest at the festival's opening night.
Rom-com Love with an Accent looks like good fun, while A Long and Happy Life is a workers' drama set on a farm in northern Russia. For Marx looks at conflicts between factory workers and bosses in post-Soviet Russia, and examines whether Marxism might once more grow in response to rampant inequality.
The Snow Queen
Children are catered for with animated feature The Snow Queen, and you can also enjoy road movies, thrillers, documentaries and comedies with a Russian slant. For serious film buffs, a retrospective of work by director Valery Todorovsky will be a drawcard. (I remember seeing -- and enjoying -- Todorovsky's very groovy Hipsters when it screened at the festival in 2008. It will screen again this year as part of the retrospective.)
Check out the full program to see all the treats in store at the festival, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.
Legend No. 17
Palace Cinemas have kindly supplied five double passes* for me to give away to lucky readers.
To enter, send an email to email@example.com, with 'Russian Resurrection' in the subject line. Tell me your name and mobile number, and which movie you would most like to see at the festival. Entries must be received by 6pm Sunday 21 July.
* Passes not valid for special events, opening or closing nights, and some other sessions (details will be supplied to winners).