23 August 2012, 17:50

Russia offers 'Expiation'

Russia offers 'Expiation'
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“The Expiation”, a new film by Russian film director Alexander Proshkin has been included in the contest program of the International Film Festival in Montréal which opens on August 23 and will continue until September 3. This year the contest program of one of the oldest and most prestigious cinema forums of North America contains 18 films.

“The Expiation” is a psychological film based on the realities from the life in the Soviet Union but in fact it is relevant for any nation. The action is set in a small Russian town one year after the end of the Second World War but in the USSR the war between the authorities and the citizens is still on and Stalinism is still strong. Informers are everywhere, the country is gripped by poverty. In this terrible life there is no room for human morals and values. The town residents who are mainly good and warm-hearted people begin to involuntary hate each other. A girl tells on her mother who stole doughnuts in the canteen and the woman is sent to prison. An officer returns from the war and learns that during the occupation his neighbor killed his family. The officer wants to commit suicide but then he meets the girl and it changes their lives. The 72 year old director Alexander Proshkin, who made about 20 films, says that in “The Expiation” he continues to explore the main theme in his work.

"I am trying to understand what the 20th century did to all of us, this was a “wolf-dog” century when Russia probably went through the most terrifying and tragic hardships and this experience to some extent influenced our mentality. I see my mission in telling people the truth about that time about the things I am concerned about. I think this is one of the main tasks of intellectuals and film. My movie is about the only way of survival in our life which is human feelings, love."

“The Expiation” is definitely a very strong movie, a well known film critic Valery Kichin said in an interview with the “Voice of Russia”.

"The theme which is raised in this film is very relevant today and the artistic power of the movie puts it on the same level with such legendary Soviet films as “The Ballad of a Soldier” and “The Cranes Are Flying”. Those films gained international recognition and took prizes in Cannes and San Francisco. Alexander Proshkin manages to keep fresh and living memories of the post war epoch in our country. The film “Expiation” is like a time machine which takes us to that epoch helping us not only to understand but feel that time with our hearts."

In Montreal Russia is also represented in the contest program for debutants. Director Sergey Komarov presents his psychological drama “Talk” about a man who wakes up in a prison cell and realizes that he will suffer the penalty for a crime he does not remember. 

The Russian cinematograph is also represented in the non-contest program. There will be screenings of “The White Tiger” a new film by Karen Shakhnazarov, which is a military fantasy about a phantom-tank and “The Stories”, a film by Mikhail Segal which consists of four stories representing different layers of the modern society. Russian directors also take part in international co-productions. he Renowned film maker Andrei Konchalovsky is one of them.

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