The viewers could become dizzy only after the recitation of the guests’ names of the XVth Minsk International Film Festival “Listapad,” which was held in the capital: Alexander Sokurov, Krzysztof Zanussi, Irina Petrovskaya, Sergey Garmash, and Dmitry Pevtsov.
These and the other stars not only came to Minsk, but presented in Belarusian capital their new projects, answered the pressing questions, held master-classes and creative meetings. It seems that the authority, deserved over these years, brings dividends to the festival. The word European regarding “Listapad” can be written without quotation marks. The festival summarized the results of a cinematographic year, identified new favorites, and confirmed a star status of the professionals.
Minsk Film Festival is not at a stop. It insistently develops its concept. The Chairman of its organizing committee, the people’s artist of Belarus and the USSR Rostislav Yankovsky noted wisely that not always something in a new concept means the best. Sometimes healthy conservatism is appropriate.
“We search for the nuances each year, because the festival, as well as any person, shall have its own style,” Rostislav Ivanovich thinks. “For example, I like Berlin International Film Festival. Its recollection, strictness, and businesslike character. Frankly speaking, I don’t know whether the present Moscow Film Festival meets these criteria. If to accept some searchings of “Kinoshok” and “Kinotavr” for innovation, they seem boring to me. Former happiness is absent. They were isolated long ago and turned into the festivals for cinematographers. “Kinotavr” promotes little-known young serial actors. The festival in Minsk places an emphasis on the films, guests, and viewers. Don’t forget that our main prize is the Audience Choice Award, supported by professional estimations of the cinematographic jury. This is also important: not to lower the bar of artistic taste, not to forget about the criteria. The main event of the festival days is “cinema perception!” We should be more attentive to young viewers, blamed of earthliness. I don’t agree with this categorically. It is important to devote time to young viewers, and we try to do this during the festival.
This year the contest of television feature films has been held for the first time during the festival. The child’s “Listapadzik” also extended its boundaries: it prepared almost 100 feature and animation films for children. Undoubtedly, Belarusian cinematographers are the festival masters. The stage-director Alexander Efremov presented his new project “Sharpshooters” with participation of Dmitry Pevtsov. The stage-director Andrey Golubev presented a new film “Maroon berets” right from a cutting table.
It seems that this year real conceptual authorial cinema was the center of the festival program. The classic of Polish cinematographer, a good friend of the festival Krzysztof Zanussi showed his new complex film, a drama “The Black Sun.” A famous St. Petersburg stage-director Alexander Sokurov met the fans of his art in “Tsentralny” cinema. There were 20 films from 20 countries in the main demonstration, and 150 films from 50 countries in all.
It is necessary to note particularly the favorites of professional criticism: the film “Silent light” by a Mexican stage-director Carlos Reygadas (“Golden palm” of Cannes film festival); a new work of the master of Norwegian absurd Bent Hummer “О’Horten,” the adaption of stories by Konstantin Staniukovich “The passenger” made by Stanislav Govorukhin, a debut film of a famous Dutch photographer Anton Korbayn “Control.” Perhaps, “Listapad” program was one of the strongest over recent years. The audience and the cinematographic jury under command of Svetlana Druzhinina had an opportunity to choose from the most estimable candidates.
The Vice President of the festival “Zolotoy Vityaz” Jovan Markovich noted the growth of quality of the contest festival program. According to Markovich, Minsk festival compares favorably with the other cinema forums.
This year the President of Belarus gave a special prize “For preservation and development of spirituality in cinema art” to the famous Russian actor Vasily Lanovoy. The Grand-Prix of the XVth Minsk International Film Festival “Listapad” was given to the Russian film “The Passenger” by the stage-director Stanislav Govorukhin. By results of the viewer voting the film gained 9.31 points. “Silver” was given to the Romanian film “Dreams about California” by the stage-director Kristian Nemesku. The viewers estimated it at 9.17 points. “Bronze” and estimation of 9.15 points was given to the Belarusian film “On the black cat’s back” by the stage-director Ivan Pavlov. The International Jury of Cinematographers headed by the film director and people’s artist of Russia, the merited man of art of RSFSR Svetlana Druzhinina gave seven prizes and three special diplomas this year. Svetlana Druzhinina underlined that practically all 20 films, represented in the contest program of “Listapad” fiction films, were the films of the world level.
The film “Silent light” by the stage-director Carlos Reygadas received the prize “For the best stage direction” (Mexico–France–Netherlands–Germany). The best male actor became Razvan Vasilesku (“Dreams about California”); the best female actor became Barbara Sarafjan (“Moscow, Belgium” (Belgium), stage-director Christophe van Rompaj); the best supporting actor — Trond Viggo Torgersen (“О’Horten” (Norway-Germany–France), stage-director Bent Hummer); the best supporting actress — Uljana Lapteva (“Kruzhovnik” (Russia–Estonia), stage-director Lukasz Palkowsky).
The diploma “For the best actors ensemble” was given to the film “Control” (Great Britain–the USA–Australia–Japan), stage-director Anton Korbayn, “For the best scenario” — to the film “The orchestra’s visit” (Israel–the USA–France), stage-director Eran Kolirin. The cinema press jury under command of the candidate of art history Liudmila Saenkova gave one prize and five special diplomas. The prize “Film as artistic phenomenon” was given to the Norwegian film “О’Horten.” In the contest of documental films of “Listapad-2008” the best was admitted the Russian film “Kiselev’s list,” the stage-director Yuri Maliugin.
At last, the prize of the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko “For cinema humanism and spirituality” during “Listapad-2008” was given to the Russian stage-director Alexander Franskevich for the film “July 41st...”
Generally, a jubilee film festival exceeded expectations by all the points. It proved that there are no simple and easy films, if people in love with the cinema make them.