Many films screened: some are good and some are different

20th Listapad Film Festival gathers guests from around the world in Minsk
By Natalia Andreeva

The red carpet of Listapad was this year laid out in the lobby of the Palace of the Republic, to avoid disappointment from the weather. There was even a special dressing room, to allow celebrities to emerge immaculate, and French couturier Denis Durand was on hand to dress our Belarusian actresses. In such small ways, our Belarusian stars tried to emulate the grand events of Cannes and Berlin.

Happily, this year ends Listapad’s interim accreditation with the International Association of Film Producers. The Director of the Minsk festival, Angela Krashevskaya, is delighted that the event now ranks among the world’s leading film forums, although organisation requires a huge amount of work, which she compares with that for the Olympic Games. Belarus hopes to build on its reputation as a home of film-making and appreciation but, of course, this will take time.

The festival’s Programme Director, Igor Sukmanov, tells us, “We fought for the right to use various paintings and names and gained this in most cases, creating the best art film of last season; our programme contains even some films which were nominated for an Oscar.”

Belarus presented The Role, by Konstantin Lopushansky, made in co-production with Russia, Germany and Finland, among 12 screenings in the fiction category, as well as documentary Military Music by Galina Adamovich, and The Kinderville Ghost by Yelena Turova, in the children’s nomination (an exclusive effort by the national film studio Belarusfilm).

Chinese filmmakers for the first time participated in the Listapad and the rich non-competitive programme included master classes by film specialists from Poland, Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Estonia, and elsewhere. Meanwhile, cartoons were screened, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of Belarusian animation. The 85th anniversary of Belarusfilm is also marked this year.

Ornella Muti, Emir Kusturica and Krzysztof Zanussi were sadly absent but the fabulous programme made up for a lack of stars. Kira Muratova spent almost a week in Minsk for the festival, noting that she plans to return, and Alexander Zeldovich and Galina Daneliya headed the jury for the fiction and children’s nominations. Various foreign filmmakers came personally to submit their films.
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