Russian Film Week to ‘put politics aside’ with 20 special screenings (VIDEO)

Ice Breaker © Russian Film Week
British movie buffs will be given the opportunity to watch rarely screened cinema from Russia this week, as part of a film festival which aims to bridge cultural and political barriers between the two countries.

Russian films, as with many of the country’s cultural riches, are little known in the UK. With the exception of cinematic giants from the last century, such as Andrei Tarkovsky, contemporary Russian filmmakers are generally unheard of.

This year’s Russian Film Week (RFW) aims to change that by showcasing 20 of the best Russian-made movies of the past 18 months.

RT UK’s Martin Andrews attended the opening night of the festival in London on Wednesday and spoke with RFW founder Filip Perkon and pop star-turned-actor Dima Bilan, who stars in The Heritage of Love.

Among the selection of films on offer is Vera Glagoleva’s latest film, Two Women, starring Hollywood A-lister Ralph Fiennes.

Based on Ivan Turgenev’s ‘A Month in the Country,’ Fiennes took on the role of unrequited lover Mikhail Rakitan entirely in Russian.

Speaking to RT at a private screening in September, Fiennes said it was “extremely hard” acting in Russian but said he was looking for “a different kind of filming experience.”

Oleg Asadulin’s ‘Green Carriage’ and Johnny O’Reilly’s ‘Moscow Never Sleeps’ also feature on the program, alongside disaster blockbuster ‘The Icebreaker,’ and children’s animation ‘Sheep and Wolves.’

Organizers will also host the first Golden Unicorn Awards in recognition of excellence in 12 different categories.

Nominations are to be decided by a jury of 9 internationally renowned film scholars, critics, and industry professionals.

The reason for the name stems from our cross-cultural mission: the unicorn is a mythical creature that only appears to the select chosen ones and it is found both in Russian and British folklore dating back centuries,” said Filip Perkon, RFW General Producer and founder.

We all know that the British Royal coat of arms pictures the lion and the unicorn. What is lesser known, is that during the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the 16th Century, the unicorn was inscribed onto the Russian coat of arms.”

Speaking to the Financial Times, Perkon said the wider goal of the film festival is to “promote co-operation and mutual understanding, to put politics aside and reach out to ordinary people.”