Birgit Beumers

The 21st Kinotaur Russian Film Festival took place in Sochi, for the first time greeting its guests at the new airport terminal which has been a building-in-progress for at least the last fifteen years. ... The festival's opening film was an excellent choice: the film almanac Moscow, I Love You! (Moskva, ya liubliu tebya!), a compilation film of 15 shorts, following the model of Paris, I Love You and New York, I Love You may not reach the degree of thematic coherence and emotional touch of its predecessors, but offers an eclectic vision of life in contemporary Moscow. What is lacking, however, is a sense of love for the city in the majority of the films, which include the works of newcomers, such as Yelena Suni, Artyom Mikhalkov, Aleksei Golubev, as well as established directors, such as Alla Surikova, Vera Storozheva, Murad Ibragimbekov, and as veterans, such as Gheorghy Natanson, Nana Dzhordzhadze and Irakly Kvirikadze. The episodes are all made in a more or less conventional style, except the hugely impressive "Object No. 1" by Ibragimbekov, which had previously screened in the shorts competition in Venice. It is made in black-and-white, drawing on the style of 1930s documentary realism, parodying Soviet references to ideological markers or landmarks, here the red stars on the Kremlin towers. The short form is, of course, an art form in its own right, as is well visible in this almanac where it is not mastered by all the filmmakers evenly. ...