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Festival Reports

34th Moscow International Film Festival

Aditya Monday June 25, 2012

The 34 Moscow International Film Festival (June 21-June 30, 2012) was a prestigious event, widely attended by film lovers of Moscow, international delegates and jury members. The NETPAC Jury comprised of three members (Aijaz Gul-Pakistan, Yelena Larionova-Kazakistan and Sang Woo Hong-South Korea), there were other juries:  Main Competition Jury, Perspectives Competition Jury, Documentary Competition Jury and FIPRESCI Jury.

NETPAC Jury viewed 14 films from Asian countries ranging from China, Iran and Korea to Russia and Egypt. The final winner was Russia with its historical production The Horde (Orda). The NETPAC award in shape of a plaque and a diploma certificate was given in a press conference on June 30 to director Andrei Proshkin. He was present to receive this prestigious honor from NETPAC .

The Horde is not a small film but a multi-billion production, which at times smoothly and at times forcefully, takes us back to 1357. It cinematically creates the mood and ambience for the mid-fourteenth century drama with excellence in almost every discipline of film making ranging from strong script and acid dialogue to camera, editing, sound, make up, wardrobe and impressive production effects.

The elaborate screenplay with its customs and rituals, comes with plenty of research and reference for the period drama of conflict and invasion between Russians and Mangolians . The NETPAC diploma certificate citation summed up film's excellence with "Admirable combination of perfect technique together with strong idea about mercy in the times of severe oppression ".

The 34 Moscow International Film Festival opened with the gala premiere screening of out of competition film Soulless (Dukhless) from Russia, directed by Roman Prygunov. The film is based on a highly controversial bestseller which keeps today's Moscow as its central character. The riches for the hero include expesnvie cars, cell phones, women, sex orgies, drinks and of course, cocaine. It is debauchery from beginning to the end. Soulless moves like a soft and smooth breeze with the best technology the money can buy.

The festival closed by giving  Stanisslavsky Outstanding  Achievement  Acting Award  to French  bankable superstar Catherine Deneuve. She was present in her formal with all her class, style and glamour, and received a standing ovation for almost five minutes from the entire audience in the large auditorium. This was followed with screening of her film  Beloved (Les Bien-Aimis), directed by Christophe Honore in 2011. This was like a Bollywood-like musical with a musical number popping up every fifteen minutes  in its  long duration of 139 minutes. This was what French film making is all about at its best. 

Catherine Deneuve plays  the central character of a graceful mother and the film shows  her relationship with her daughter . The later has many men coming in her life. The events take place from sixties to 2007. Beloved is full of romance which even brings in explicit sex portrayed graphically but keeping it as integral part of the story and character. It also retains basic elements of grief and death with melodrama with a sense of melancholy.

by Aijaz Gul

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