Film enthusiasts in Beijing are in for a cinematic treat as the 2023 Russian Film Festival’s Beijing leg kicked off with grandeur at the China Film Art Research Center recently.
For the first time, the festival is being held in three Chinese cities, Beijing, Heihe in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, and Suzhou in East China’s Jiangsu Province. The festival is set to run until Sunday.
Six contemporary Russian films ranging from dramas to sports-themed movies – The Whaler Boy, Three Minutes of Silence, Start Over, Bullterrier, Eleven Silent Men and In Limbo – are being screened, providing a glimpse into modern Russian life.
Among them, The Whaler Boy received the Venice Days Director’s Award at the 2020 Venice Film Festival.
Yekaterina Naumova, the head of the Russian film delegation and the general manager of Roskino, Russia’s state institution in charge of promoting domestic cinema worldwide, remarked at the opening ceremony that the year 2024 marks the 100th anniversary of Roskino’s establishment.
“This year, we are particularly happy to finally hold such a large-scale festival in China offline so we can directly show our modern cinema to audiences in a movie theater,” she said at the ceremony according to a report from Russia’s state-owned TASS agency.
A delegation of the Russia film industry has come with the festival, allowing attendees to have the opportunity to engage with the creators of these films. A moviegoer surnamed Chen, one of the attendees who watched the Eleven Silent Men, obtained an autographed poster of one of the movie’s actresses.
“It’s the first time that I watched a Russian movie. The overall plot flowed smoothly and the editing style was similar to domestic films. There were no apparent comprehension issues for me,” Chen told the Global Times on Thursday, adding that “I could sense the film’s restoration of history and the distinctive strong characteristics of Russia.”
Russian filmmaker Alexander Khant remarked at the opening ceremony in Beijing that he hopes that Chinese audiences can learn more about Russian films and give more objective evaluations of contemporary Russian films.
“One can feel that the people here are very friendly, you notice it immediately,” he said at the ceremony, according to a TASS report.
Organized by Roskino, the event is being held with the support of Russia’s Culture Ministry and the China Film Art Research Center. This year’s festival marks a significant milestone in the longstanding collaboration between the two countries, which established a film festival exchange mechanism in 2006.
In September, several Chinese films will be showcased in various cities across Russia, including Kazan, Moscow, and St. Petersburg. This reciprocal cultural exchange is expected to reinforce the strong ties between the two nations and their shared appreciation of cinematic artistry.