At a preview press conference, Kusturica said Promise Me This (known also by its original title, Zavet) was a tribute to the renowned Soviet filmmaker Alexander Dovzhenko.
"While studying in Prague, I would find my idols in Russian cinema," he said. "Zavet is my personal tribute to Dovzhenko. I've brought the film to Moscow because I believe Russian and Serb cinema share the same roots."
"My film is based on a very simple story: a grandfather makes his grandson promise him that he will sell a cow, buy an icon, and find himself a wife. That's is a fairy tale, of course, but this genre could offer people a way out of today's complicated situation, I think. A beautiful tale with a happy ending... And this is my most important contribution to psychotherapy, to improving the human race. "
The Serb filmmaker said he was concerned by the fact that many international film forums are now becoming more like fashion shows, which are all about glitz and glamour, not art.
A Moscow festival regular, Kusturica presented his Life Is a Miracle here in 2004.
An annual summer event, the Moscow film festival will run through June 30 this year. Nineteen films, including three domestic productions, as well as contributions from countries such as France, Germany, the United States, China, Japan, and Turkey will be competing for the top St. George prize.
Previous Kusturica films, including Underground, Time of the Gypsies, and Do You Remember, Dolly Bell? will be screened as part of one of a dozen out-of-competition programs.