The biggest festival of Russian films outside of Russia once again has come to Melbourne. It opened on Thursday, 5 November with speeches, vodka shots, Russian dancing and beautiful folklore singing. A great week of cinema has begun.
This year we have an opportunity to see 23 great films, 18 of which will be Australian premiers. As per usual festival format, there is something for everyone.
We can enjoy the recent Russian blockbusters ("Battalion"), the old classics ("20 days without a war"), adventure movies "Territory", animated kids films ("The Snow queen 2", "The extraordinary adventures of Serafima").
As this year Russia is celebrating 70 year anniversary of the Second World War victory, the festival repertoire includes a strong selection of war themed movies ("Battle for Sevastopol", "The dawns are quiet here"). Russian films about the war are always a complex study into the human soul. Often thought provoking and at times difficult to watch, they reflect the enormous tragic change the war brought upon Russia's history, destiny and the lives of its people. The films stay with you long after you leave the cinema.
Still, if that's not your thing, a good comedy, melodrama and romance movies are there to entertain. "Divorce on a whim", "A man from a cemetery" and "Love me, love me not" will all delight, surprise and make you laugh.
For the lovers of international film, for those who hold everything Russian dear, for the history buffs and people who just enjoy different voices from the other parts of the world this is an exciting week.
And of course, the Russian Melbournians don't have to be persuaded to attend. For many the festival has become one of the most popular cultural events on the social calendar.
To spend an evening surrounded by all things Russian and perhaps to gain some understanding into a complicated Russian soul, don't miss the 'Russian Resurrection' film festival at ACMI in November.