Russia

An impassioned, unsentimental debut feature by Maria Saakyan—whose life was cut tragically short in 2018—Mayak (The Lighthouse) is a war film that breaks out of the genre’s conventions with a uniquely haunting perspective. Embattled Northern Armenia at the end of the 20th century—where Lena, a young woman returns from Moscow to convince her grandparents to join her on a trip back to Russia—presents an apocalyptic vision of freedom and imagination in limbo, made forlornly oneiric through the film’s pallid tones and discreet performances of its cast (including Sofiko Chiaureli, best known as Sergei Parajanov’s muse). —Film at Lincoln Center

Director

Countries

Run Time

78 mins

Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari

(Nebesnye zheny lugovykh mari)

The Meadow Mari are a Finno-Urgic ethnic group living on the left bank of the Volga River in central Russia, sometimes called ‘the last authentic pagans in Europe’. Across twenty-three short chapters, Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari presents a catalogue of Mari fairytales and folklore, depicting in painterly tableaux a culture driven by ritualistic appreciation for female beauty and feminine sexuality. Vibrant colours, breathtaking cinematography and a gentle sensibility strike a harmony between scenes variously tender and grotesque.

Country

Run Time

106 mins

Passions

(ЗАХОПЛЕННЯ)

Love affairs, horse races and male duels unfold at an isolated hippodrome by the sea inhabited by excessive, eccentric characters who strut and pose, fanatically declaim and obsess about their own ‘enthusiasms’. The film’s extravagant monologues were written and performed by the charismatic Renata Litvinova, whose screen presence channels equal parts Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow and the loquacious self-possession of a Warholian superstar. Litvinova, a professional screenwriter was discovered by Muratova, immediately becoming a member of her on-screen ‘family’, as well as a cult diva of the new Russian cinema.

Director

Countries

Run Time

112 mins

phenomenon is made from surviving early 1990s Hi8 videotape of ‘schwimmen’, a teenage industrial/noise band from the (then-Soviet) city of Novosibirsk. Comprised of footage shot from and within the seventh-floor apartment where they lived and worked communally, the video radiates a sense of cinematic immediacy, capturing the lost world of immanence of being. It ultimately taps into the vital, uncertain energy of the ephemeral ‘paranormal’ space—both historical and metaphorical—where the only metaphor is optical. The camera pans along frozen squares and zooms into details of the immediate surroundings, innocently reinventing tropes from video-art of the preceding two decades, in which ‘what happens’ is not an event but an experience. —Anya Tsyrlina & Sid Iandovka

Countries

Run Time

15 mins

Battleship Potemkin

(Bronenosets Potemkin)

Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin is a landmark of cinema. BFMAF presents a hypnotic new restoration accompanied by Edmund Meisel’s flamboyant full orchestral 1926 score. The film dramatises a mutiny that occurred in 1905 when the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin rebelled against their officers.

Battleship Potemkin launches the Festival, and its thematic programme Ultramarine: The Sea as Political Space which will be introduced by Ilona Jurkonytė, Artistic Director of Kaunas International Film Festival, Lithuania.

If you only ever see one silent film, this is the one it should be. A masterpiece.
Empire Magazine

Country

Run Time

68 mins

Battleship Potemkin

(Bronenosets Potemkin)

Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin is a landmark of cinema. BFMAF presents a hypnotic new restoration accompanied by Edmund Meisel’s flamboyant full orchestral 1926 score. The film dramatises a mutiny that occurred in 1905 when the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin rebelled against their officers.

Battleship Potemkin launches the Festival, and its thematic programme Ultramarine: The Sea as Political Space which will be introduced by Ilona Jurkonytė, Artistic Director of Kaunas International Film Festival, Lithuania.

If you only ever see one silent film, this is the one it should be. A masterpiece.
Empire Magazine

Country

Run Time

68 mins

Tangerines

(Mandarinebi)

While civil war rages beyond the
thriving tangerine orchards, elderly
farmer Ivo defends his harvest and
his own enclave of peace.

Director

Countries

Run Time

87 mins

Non-scientific observations of animals and other odd, tiny creatures who live in holes and jump up and down all day long.

Director

Country

Run Time

5 mins