Russian Resurrection Film Festival
Now in its 16th year, the Russian Resurrection Film Festival returns to Melbourne from November 8 to 17 with (suitably) 16 new features and three classics.
One of the festival highlights is Journey to China, a blockbuster fantasy that brings together Jackie Chan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the late Danish actor Rutger Hauer on a supernatural voyage set in the historical Far East.
Valery Todorovsky’s family drama Odessa, a period piece set in the titular city in midst of the 1970 cholera outbreak, will open the festival. Stick around afterwards for the raucous opening night party, with traditional Russian delicacies, live entertainment and plenty of ice-cold vodka.
The festival will also pay homage to the work of Pavel Lungin, with screenings of three of the Russian auteur’s best films. Don’t miss his debut feature Taxi Blues – about an unlikely friendship between an alcoholic Jewish musician and an anti-Semitic taxi driver – which won best director at Cannes in 1990. There’s also the 2000 comedy-drama The Wedding, in which two high-school sweethearts see their dream wedding devolve into chaos at the hands of meddling relatives. And in the dramedy Roots (2005), a conman tricks wealthy Russian émigrés into purchasing “heritage trips” to the motherland to meet lost family members, only to introduce them to fictional relatives.
Another festival highlight is Beanpole, which won multiple awards at Cannes this year. Set in Leningrad in 1945, after the city was reduced to rubble, it’s a powerful exploration of the psychological, financial and physical impacts of World War II on Russian society.
You can also catch the children’s animated feature Snow Queen: Mirrorlands (billed as Russia’s answer to Frozen), based on a story by celebrated Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.