Putin notes positive changes in Russian cinema

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Russia In Review

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree claiming next year as the “Year of Russian Cinema” in the country. According to Putin, “There are a number of significant positive processes that are taking place in the country’s cinema and therefore it is necessary to support the industry with a package of special moves and events.”

The statement of the Russian Culture Ministry also adds that modern Russian cinema "mostly focuses on the main priorities of the national cultural policy and translates the basic values into the public consciousness, which makes a powerful impact on millions of people.”

Previously, a number of Russian directors claimed that the high dependence of the film industry on the state budget creates a lot of problems, as filmmakers have to pitch and shoot movies mostly with patriotic colors to receive necessary funding. In the opinion of experts, this could be a key reason why the overwhelming majority of Russian movies collect small box-office returns and lose money.

Next year, the Russian Ministry of Culture plans to increase the number of produced movies, including “film events” for mass consumption, as well as to invest money in upgrading the film studio.

“In addition, to maintain the image of Russian cinema in the world, the government wants to create the Eurasia Film Academy and the Eurasian Film Festival for movies from the BRIC countries,” the Ministry of Culture statement continued.

This year in Russia has been claimed as the “Year of Literature,” with efforts to promote the works of Russian authors among citizens.

France’s Naseri to Topline Rock-Music Movie

Russian director Grigor Gyardushyan will explore the potential of the road comedy with the new movie Rock and Road. The release of the film is scheduled for autumn 2016, and it is expected to attract a number of Western actors, including the star of the Taxi franchise, Sami Naseri.

The French actor will play the main role, a biker who helps a Russian girl get from the U.K. to St. Petersburg on his motorcycle to save her father. According to Gyardushyan, this will be quite a unique project, as the movie will be shot in France and Bulgaria, which the heroes have to cross on their way to Russia. The soundtrack for the movie will be performed by famed rock groups Deep Purple and Nazareth.

“This musical adventure in the form of a road movie is completely alien to Russian cinema,” Gyardushyan declared. “Also, for the first time, we are making a movie where rock will be a significant part of the film drama. We already have written nine songs. All nine, in my opinion, are really classy! They will be performed by the world's rock stars with whom we have signed contracts, and they will be playing themselves in episodes of the movie. They include Joe Lynn Turner of Deep Purple, Dan McCafferty of Nazareth and Ken Hensley of Uriah Heep.”

Another distinctive part of the movie, according to its creators, will be the biker society, which is not a familiar theme for Russian viewers. This is one of the boldest projects of the Russian cinema in the recent years.

Brutus to View Holocaust from a Dog’s Perspective

One of the most promising Russian movies next year is Brutus, a Holocaust drama that will be shown through the eyes of the dog. The plot centers on a German shepherd that lives with a Jewish family, but when the war comes, he is trained as a concentration-camp “beast-killer.” The film is based on the eponymous tale by the Czech writer Ludvik Ashkenazy.

Alexander Boroda, the head of the Russian Union of Jewish Societies which supports the creation of the movie, said that the writer himself went through the war and was an eyewitness to the events, so the film will bear the imprint of his personal experience.

“Many countries and experts are involved in the production of this movie,” commented co-producer Yuri Igrusha. “This is especially important in light of recent world events. Truly all are concerned about the historical memory of the tragic events of World War II. This allows all of us to openly look into the future and be united.”

According to Igrusha, the movie will be a joint project of filmmakers from Russia, Israel, Romania and the USA, with an eye toward a premiere at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival.