AUTUMN FILM MARATHON
Turkmenistan hosted the traditional autumn festival of Russian films this November. Being carried out jointly by the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Ashgabat and the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan, this cultural action was originally designed as "Days of Mosfilm" six years ago. Regardless of its scope, a huge film library and scale of work of this largest and renowned Soviet-Russian film studio made it possible to implement many promising projects that contributed to strengthening friendship, enhancing the cultural dialogue between the two fraternal peoples and developing professional contacts between Turkmen and Russian filmmakers.
This fact was also highlighted by the General Director of the Mosfilm Cinema Concern, film director, screenwriter, producer, People's Artist of the Russian Federation Karen Shakhnazarov, who specifically arrived in Ashgabat in 2013 for the first Mosfilm Days. At that time, the head of the film studio expressed hope that Russian film screenings would become a traditional event and, as time proved, he was not mistaken. In recent years, residents of Turkmenistan have watched many films, including those that make the "golden classic" of cinema.
It has become a tradition to invite guests of honor to the cultural action to provide cinema art connoisseurs with an opportunity to meet famous Russian filmmakers. Suffice it to recall that the famous film director, screenwriter and actor Stanislav Govorukhin also presented his works in Ashgabat as part of the festival "Cinema: Open Borders." In different years, in the framework of Days of Culture of the friendly country, Turkmenistan's cinema lovers met with many People's Artists of Russia such as Veniamin Smekhov, Natalia Bondarchuk, Alexander Goloborodko, as well as Valery Garkalin, Irina Lachina, Yaroslav Boyko, Pavel Belozerov, Alexander Vasyutinsky, Svetlana Toma and Alexander Ponkratov-Cherniy. "Days of Mosfilm" saw the participation of filmmakers Karen Shakhnazarov, Vladimir Menshov, Vera Storozheva, People's Artists of Russia Vladimir Ilyin, Vera Alentova, theater and cinema artist Alexander Popov.
However, this popular cultural action has changed over time. The "geography of film screenings" has expanded since 2015. They now take place not only in major cinema centers of the Turkmen capital but also in the administrative centers of the regions, in particular in the cities of Mary and Turkmenabat. Films from other Russian film studios are also screened as part of "Mosfilm" studio films. Most of them are modern motion pictures.
When drawing up the program of the current event, the organizers certainly took into account the Turkmen audience's growing interest in modern Russian films. This was evidenced by the fact that the Ashgabat Cinema Center was filled to capacity at the event opening ceremony on November 1. The heads of a number of diplomatic missions accredited in Ashgabat, the art intelligentsia and the mass media representatives came to support the organizers of Days of Russian Cinema.
In his welcoming remarks, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Turkmenistan Alexander Blokhin noted that the Russian language remained an interethnic means of communication. Noting the positive trend in preserving and studying the Russian language in Turkmenistan, the Russian Ambassador expressed his profound gratitude to the President of Turkmenistan for ensuring conditions to maintain the Russian language and support the process of mutual enrichment of cultures. According to the Russian Ambassador, about 20 thousand Turkmen students currently study at the Russian higher education establishments, and Russian remains the language of instruction at the Turkmen-Russian Joint Secondary School named after Pushkin and at more than one hundred classes of the national secondary schools. Knowledge of the Russian language creates a favorable background for cooperation between the two countries in the humanitarian sphere. "Language is a powerful mechanism connecting the peoples of the two countries, helping to communicate with and understand each other not only in daily life but also at the interstate level," Alexander Blokhin said. He wished all the visitors a pleasant journey through the art of Russian cinema.
It is noteworthy that the cinema festival started with the screening of "Three Days until Spring" shot by film director Alexander Kasatkin at "Lenfilm" studio. The film narrates about the 75th anniversary of lifting the siege of Leningrad. It was released in 2017. A military detective story with an exciting dramatic plot did not overlap the main message conveyed by the film, which is about "one Victory for all" that claimed millions of lives, about a feat that should remain in memory and hearts of people who value peace and happy future of our planet.
The program of Days of Russian Cinema in Turkmenistan comprised of eight more various genre films by Soviet and Russian filmmakers. Cinema lovers watched modern films released in the past two years. Among them were film-drama "Salute-7" by Klim Shypenko based on a true story. This film received the Golden Eagle award in the "Best Film" nomination and Nika award in "Best Cinematography" nomination. Other films were also of great interest to the audience, such as drama sports film - "Ice" (2018) by Oleg Trofim and "Coach" (2018) by Danila Kozlovsky. In their turn, lovers of melodrama enjoyed watching Ilya Severov's comedy "Divorce at Will" (2015) and Ksenia Baskakova's musical film "The Bird" (2017).
"Mosfilm" presented the legendary work by Mikhail Kalatozov "The Cranes Are Flying" as a tribute to the talented Soviet and Russian actor, screenwriter, director and teacher, People's Artist of the USSR Alexei Batalov, who would have turned 90 this year, and retro-melodrama "Courier" (1986) by Karen Shakhnazarov.
Both young and grown-up film lovers were pleased to plunge into the atmosphere of feature film "Aibolit-66" shot more than fifty years ago by director Rolan Bykov on Korney Chukovsky's works.
As part of Days of Russian Cinema, the theater and cinema actor, theater director Alexander Tyutin held a press conference and hosted a soiree at the Ashgabat Cinema Center. Over the years, a traditional press conference preceding the official opening of the cultural action has acquired a new style. Among the guests of honor were artists known not only for serious theatrical and cinema works but also for television serial projects, and this fact explained the nature of many questions addressed to Alexander Tyutin.
In a brisk and relaxed conversation with the guest, the young growth was increasingly active. The conversation touched on the modern cinematography and the recent interest in "national cinema" and bringing viewers back to the cinema. Journalists were interested in the artist's memories of both representatives of the classical theater school and ballad song art, as well as his assessment of the works of contemporary producers, in particular the place of Alexander Tyutin's service - the Moscow provincial theater under the leadership of Sergei Bezrukov and his new theater performances such as "The Cherry Orchard" and "Vysotsky. The Birth of a Legend."
They also asked questions about his favorite movie characters. "My movie characters are those of chiefs," the actor joked. "I skipped over the lieutenant's character and started playing the roles of colonels and generals. I have recently acted in a Japanese film in which I grew up to the rank of admiral. I played Admiral Rozhestvensky in the film about Tsushima. My very first movie role was episodic, as I played a fascist. Afterwards, for fifteen years, I played gangsters and businessmen, and then I jumped into the roles of military commanders. In the new "Ambulance" series, I finally play an ordinary character."
Alexander Tyutin also shared his impressions of Ashgabat. He said he would recommend it for his producers and filmmakers for film shooting. "There are a lot of interesting places in Ashgabat, and perhaps our film industry will pave the way here."
Later, following the traditions of Turkmen hospitality, to the applause of the audience, the Russian artist, who visited Turkmenistan for the first time, was dressed in a national robe (don) and white papakha (telpek) at the cinema hall. Wearing this colorful dress, he sang a few songs with a guitar. He told the audience a story of how this instrument changed his physico-mathematical career many years ago and brought him to the theater stage.
As part of the cultural event, Alexander Tyutin also held soirees for cinema lovers in the cities of Mary and Turkmenabat.
Days of Russian Cinema in Turkmenistan made another contribution to the development of the interstate dialogue of friendship and good neighborliness and increasing the range of cultural and leisure events conducted in Turkmenistan, while the silver screen once again filled cinema lovers with good mood and a sense of belonging to something kind and heartwarming that only a truly good film can give.