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From Bolshoi with love: the Russian Resurrection Film Festival

Valeriya Lloyd

One of the highlights of our multicultural capital is that we’re regularly presented with opportunities to sample foreign culture in the form of international film.

This week, the 14th Russian Resurrection Film Festival is coming to Canberra with the aim of taking a closer look at what may be considered the heart and soul of Russian culture – the Russian Ballet. Along with other carefully selected films, the Festival will screen Bolshoi by director Valeriy Todorovskiy, a film that made waves in Russian cultural circuits.

Ballet in Russia has a long, fascinating and dramatic history. Its extraordinary passion for dance, along with the demand for precise but naturally beautiful moves has always governed the extraordinarily high standards of the Russian Ballet. Only highly gifted dancers who possess a blend of natural skills could possibly be given the green light to dance on stage at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

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‘The Bolshoi’ is to ballet dancers what Hollywood is to motion picture starlets. A complete ballet universe unto itself, the Bolshoi has its own regime of routine, standards, ranks and drama behind the curtains. And now, the Russian Resurrection Festival is allowing us to peek behind that curtain, according to Nicholas Maksymow, the Director of the Festival.

“I have seen the premiere of Bolshoi in Russia on the big screen in the theatre and that was incredible,” he explains. “It is a movie that pays great attention to every detail, presents a great scenario, and boasts talented actors. The ballet scenes will give you a strong imagination that you are seeing them not just on the big screen but right in the midst of the Bolshoi Theatre. The music by Tchaikovsky helps to create the perfect motion picture that assures me that we have made a great choice by selecting this film for the festival.”

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Bolshoi tells the story of Julia, an ambitious young girl who pursues her dream of becoming a star in the Russian Ballet. She undertakes a long personal journey to reach the Bolshoi but faces a harsh reality once she arrives. Everything that she had to encounter backstage, from fights for the ranks and hypocrisy and bias against girls who come from low-income families, shapes her vision of the ballet in an entirely different way. Julia’s relationship with her teacher, a talented former ballerina who has dementia yet sees great potential in Julia, is quite an extraordinary aspect of the film.

Bolshoi is a potent blend of tragedy and comedy, as it uncovers the ugly truth behind the glowing ideal of professional ballet. This is magic that only lasts a moment in a lifetime, for which the cost is high.

“I think that Bolshoi represents a great picture of relationships between people from different social classes in proper depth. The movie shows truly passionate competitions between young starlets for winning the primary role, and it goes further regarding psychological aspect,” says Maksymow.

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The Russian Resurrection Festival was established in 2004 with the aim to present Russian film in a new light. Every year, the Festival takes eight months of preparation and movie selection to reach their carefully curated program.

“This year we have big movies in different genres, and most of them are retrospective, as we celebrate a big 80th anniversary of the Hollywood and Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky,” says Maksymow. “There are not so many Russian movies in Australia. However, we hope that this will change positively. That’s why the festival had been named “Russian Resurrection”. We tend to avoid politics, and aim to make people familiar with aspects of Russian culture through movies as the most democratic type of art.”

the essentials 

What: The Russian Resurrection Film Festival 2017
When: 10-15 November
Where: Capitol Cinemas, Manuka
Tickets and more information: russianresurrection.com/2017

More information about tickets and the festival here.

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Valeriya Lloyd

Val is studying Communications in Media and Public Affairs at University of Canberra and has a great passion for writing (in two languages as she originally came to Canberra from Russia). Val enjoys writing about life generally, and sometimes from a fictional perspective. She often generates new ideas in sudden moments and admits that she has at least two diaries, where she writes her notes and inspiration for future stories. She loves to meet new people and showcase their talents and originality. Val is very social person, who loves the local lifestyle and the inner beauty of Canberra. More about the Author

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