Elvina Zeltsman, Rafael Levchin. Chronicles, or How to forget unforgettable

aвтор визуальной работы - ("Страницы и знаки") – А.Блудов

Well, at first let’s talk about our favorite CUFF (the 15th Chicago Underground Film Festival).
There were a lot of great films, as usually. But we especially enjoyed experimental SPEECHLESS by Scott Stark: Montage from 30 photos of vaginas, vaginal tracts and surfaces; that’s about fear and confusion, yes, but also about beauty of this wonderful flower of human body. It is speechless indeed!
And of course FORGET HER (Magic is Kuntmaster) by Kristie Alshaibi, speechless too.
And also experimental MISSOURI FISH by Gregory Gutenko; alternative reality and dark obstacles. Well, we love it, and it seems we’re more and more attracted to experimental films without strong topic and characters.

Next was CIFF(The 44th Chicago International Film Festival). Of course, there were Russian movies, such as RUSALKA (The Mermaid) by Anna Melikyan, and this is sort of fairy tale about young girl Alisa... and this was boring, as always. So, there were more Russian movies, such as THE VANISHED EMPIRE, but we didn’t attend. We do know it vanished.
SONETAULA by Salvatore Mereu ((Italy/ France/ Belgium): this is life of Sardinian boy, young shepherd, living in mountains fugitive, very touching and sharp.
For sure everybody must see KATYN by famous Andrzej Wajda (Poland) about massacre more of thousands of Polish officers by Soviet army in 1939, when Poland was not an ally for USSR, but an enemy. It was discovered by Nazi in 1943, but even today some people in Russia don’t believe in this – they prefer to believe that Nazi killed them. Oh, yes, Nazi killed millions – but we must remember Soviet crimes too!
And speaking about devil – THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS by Mark Herman. The young son of SS officer, who becomes commandant of death camp, befriends a Jewish boy from this camp. The kids are always kids; they have some good time together and become victims together; and Nazi-father can not save his son. Well, what could we say? If this was always so easy! And especially it is not easy to believe when SS officer’s wife hysterically yelling about his terrible job, but later she didn’t say one word when another SS-man, her husband subordinate, deadly beating one Jew!
But what we liked very much, was ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO by Kevin Smith (USA). Of course, we knew from the very beginning that man and woman who want to make porno will have sex, and man and woman having sex will have also something else… love? problems? But anyway it was fun, and we were grateful for director and young actors.
GOMORRAH by Matteo Garrone (Italy) is a typical criminal sage about Neapolitan gangster organization known as Camorra, where young bandits want to find their ways to become bosses. So this is a play of words, and it is play of lives.

Reeling 27 (the Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival):
One of the most interesting was THE LOST COAST by Gabriel Fleming (USA): the intriguing tale about bisexuality, friendship, unseemly places and memory.
But we really enjoyed OTTO; OR UP WITH DEAD PEOPLE by Bruce LaBruce: satirical and scary tale on homeless zombie Otto, who probably was vegetarian in his life, now an actor in political zombie-film and cannibal.
Also we liked very much two Israel films: SEEDS OF SUMMER by Hen Lasker (women and army, duty and love…) and THE SECRETS by Avi Nesher (from to-be-married to cabbalistic rituals to forbidden sexuality).

On the 25th Chicago International Children’s Film Festival we watched only one movie, RED ZORA by Peter Kahane (Germany/Sweden); we’d watch it only for its title! And it wasn’t mistake! Children and violin! Children and parents! Oh, yeah…

On the 19th Annual festival of Films from Iran in Gene Siskel Film Center, we got only one, but great GREEN ONE by Mohammad Reza Aslani, mystical story on ancient warrior and his contemporary bride; bright, like Paradzhanov’s films.
We didn’t attend old films from Russia by Mikhalkov, Shakhnazarov, Kalatozov etc. We knew all it in former USSR. No nostalgia, ok?
But we got the great THE STORY OF THE LAST CHRYSANTHEMUMS by Zangiku Monogatari about young Kabuki actor and servant girl. In all other traditions that would be a melodrama, but in Japanese it’s fine. Why? That’s the mystery!

Unfortunately, we missed the 11th European Union Film Festival, Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema, the Youth Fest, and the 20th Polish Film Festival etc. Well, speaking about the last one, we remember one of its films, MOTHER JOAN OF ANGELS by Jerzy Kawalerowicz, who died in 2007, from 70-s.

And the best of all: in Chopin Theatre, place for many music, theater and film festivals, was I-FEST 2008, only two, but very good performances: on Shakespeare inspired YASSER by Abdelkader Benali and A PROPOS OF THE WET SNOW (adaptation of Dostoevsky’ NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND) by Oleg Liptsin (more details here: http://www.internationaltheaterensemble.com/A_PROPOS_OF_THE_WET_SNOW.html, http://www.chopintheatre.com/event.php?id=396) with short film by Sergey Levchin in the very beginning.
Also was a poetry reading, exhibitions with our zine in crowd etc.
So, that was very good year!

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