The XXXII open festival of non-fiction films “Russia” has ended in Yekaterinburg – one of those events in the cultural life that have long become the brands of the capital of the Urals. Discussions subsided, passions subsided, and the winners were named. But understanding remained: the 2021 program shows the events and thoughts that its citizens live, and this documentary volume of the history of Russia at number 32, created by filmmakers, has yet to be studied and comprehended.
It so happened that at the festival two serious films on the same topic met. Two points of view on the reasons for our eternal “disorder”. As a matter of fact, two Russia met, and this, in the opinion of many, became the main intrigue of the festival. Although the authors do not anticipate such a stormy polemic: the film “The Cheerful Man” was called in advance a proposal for the Grand Prix (and how else, if it was shot by Andrei Konchalovsky himself), and “Russia – Phoenix?” did not take part in the competition program, since its creators – the Ural filmmakers – the organizers of the festival, obviously, considered it unethical.
Working on “The Cheerful Man”, the film crew traveled around the country, choosing people to live well, but they are happy with life … or they say so on camera. Father with eight children, doctor, teacher, farmer, programmer, aircraft designer, scrap metal collector. Each of them answers questions about the meaning of life, the state, of course, in a positive way, because the selection criterion is cheerful, that is, optimists. And it’s not scary that one of the heroes, dying of cancer, says: there is no sense in life. It doesn’t matter that an orphaned girl answers a peppy question: “What do you lack for happiness?” – Suddenly, unexpectedly in an adult way, he replies to his offscreen uncle: “We don’t have enough mom.” Further, further, we are talking about optimism, about the fact that the Russian people will endure everything and broad, bright … well, you know.
The background of humble speeches about accepting their share is blatant poverty, poor clothes, holes in the ceiling covered with plywood, dirt roads, rusty cars and weeds to the waist. There are sewerage systems in every fourth house…. The question remains: the heroes of the film are fools or the authors of 73 minutes diligently pulled the owl on the globe? The jury did not mark the film in any way, and its chairman Aleksey Fedorchenko said: in vain did the authors indicate in the credits the distance from Moscow to the remote villages where the heroes live. It was necessary to write “before”, then the look would have been different.
Confirmation of this – the film “Russia-Phoenix?”, Filmed by the Yekaterinburg film company “Snega”. Scriptwriter, writer, publicist, Doctor of Philosophy Valentin Lukyanin and directors Georgy Negashev, Pavel Fattakhutdinov, Andrei Titov and Natalya Savras tell a horrible story about how the Soviet, and the Urals, in particular, heavy industry were killed in the 90s: who, how , by whose direction and what “successes” did he achieve, if during the restructuring of factories more died than during the Great Patriotic War. They simply and briefly explain through the lips of brilliant experts: the country’s political independence is a fiction without its independence. Russia will become strong only under the condition of new industrialization. And, starting from this thesis (and from the bottom shown), they find moments that inspire optimism, but here these are not words, but factories saved and reopened, people who know what to do.
The film has humor, witty editing (when baristas and authors of performances in destroyed workshops talk about their role in “saving the DNA of the Ural industry”), excellent work of the camera crew, there is sincere pain and hope. And in this case, it doesn’t matter to us how many kilometers from these factories “to” the capital. It is correct that the organizers were modest and did not put the film in the competition program – it would be inconvenient for them to take too many prizes.
by the way
Traditionally, the special prize of the festival “For Positive Philosophy and Social Optimism” was awarded by “Rossiyskaya Gazeta”. Our choice fell on the film directed by Alena Smirnova “Walking into the Fire” (production center “AzBuki”, Moscow). The film tells how the inhabitants of the Irkutsk region created a detachment of volunteer firefighters and took part in extinguishing forest fires.