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Russian Film Week 2017: ‘Building bridges’

The opening of Russian Film Week 2017 symbolically took place in the Science museum, with Fedor Bondarchuk’s sci-fi story Attraction. The film, starring the popular Russian actors Aleksandr Petrov, Oleg Menshikov, and Sergey Garmash is expected to come out in the UK and across Europe in January 2018.

For its second iteration, the Russian Film Festival has increased its grandeur and prestige by going from 5 venues last year to 19, says Filip Perkov, the founder and chief organizer of the festival. Its motto, however, has remained unchanged: ‘Building bridges’, which Perkov takes to mean ‘mutual understanding between nations, disregarding politics’. Special attention was given to the festival’s partnership with WWF and its tiger conservation program in Russia, with £250,000 expected to be raised for the charity needs. In light of this, there are going to be Youth Film Awards for the films on the topics of environment and technology.

Fedor Bondarchuk, one of the most praised and popular Russian actors and directors, has shared where the origins for the story for Attraction came from: ‘it is a film about the present, inspired by xenophobic unrests in Moscow in 2013’. Indeed, though the trailer somewhat misleads the viewer to think of Attraction as another high-budget alien blockbuster, what is presented in the cinema becomes allegorical to cases of unprovoked aggression, overflow of emotions, and irrationality.

Attraction is an honest film where the protagonists are love and hope, and the antagonists are hatred and envy.  Framed in the modern context and high-school environment, it reaches out to be universal in meaning and international in message. Yet the use of CGI and special effects attract a special attention to it, especially from a young audience.

One of the most prominent themes of Attraction becomes the conflict between generations. In the light of this Bondarchuk was asked what can be done to narrow the gap between youth and adults. His answer was ‘education and enlightenment’, as he believes that education and self-development should not stop when a person graduate’s university. ‘One should not be ashamed to strive for knowledge throughout his entire life”.

There were some questions asked about the marketing strategies employed to advertise the movie abroad. Bondarchuk assured that they would remain the same as in Russia, with an exception for China.  Due to censorship restrictions, 15 minutes of the movie, where the characters chat to each other or use social networks, had to be cut out.

On the Russian film website Kinopoisk, there has already been some information about a sequel for Attraction, which is due to come out in 2 years. Bondarchuk did not deny this news, yet said that the he will not give away the details, and just the fact that it will be as deep in meaning as its predecessor. Nonetheless, he pointed that ‘some spoilers could be found’ by watching the first movie attentively.

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Masha Tsarkova