Twentieth-century Russian cinema was considered to be one of the most influential in the world. Though it has been in decline for the past 20 years, it may finally see signs of revival as well as the beginning of a Russian-American cultural partnership.
Last Thursday, the 33rd Moscow International Film Festival opened with the American 3D blockbuster “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” As Dark of the Moon director Michael Bay remarked, “Russia is an emerging market, it is becoming very important for us.”
“Russia is a nearly 120-million-member audience: It’s a large market,” said Nikita Mikhalkov, the festival’s president, and a celebrated film director. “We are going through hard times. In the last 10 years, the Moscow Festival has lost its weight and authority in the eyes of the viewers. The biggest weakness of the Moscow Festival has been its budget. Financial limitations have affected the quality of the venue as well as the quality of the experience of the event.”
He also ranted that for many years the Russian movie industry was losing filmgoers to Hollywood blockbusters, “Most new releases in our market are American, which benefits the U.S. distributors and producers…”But when a large Hollywood company offers us to have a world premiere of its film … and brings 80 Hollywood representatives, we can’t refuse. We hope that events like that would help to improve the situation in our film industry.”
It is still a love-hate relationship between America and Russia, but perhaps this time there is more love than hate.
Pictures credit: Marina Fedoseeva.