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Notes From Moscow Film Festival XXXVI

Moscow International Film FestivalIrina Miroshnichenko, from 1973 fest winner “That Sweet Word: Liberty!”

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky made a splash on opening night when he reportedly struggled over the Roman numerals "XXXVI" attached to the festival's name, bringing much glee to his many enemies. Unless you can instantly say what numbers these are, LXXXVI, LXVII, LXXI, the numbers for the Academy Awards, Cannes and Venice film festivals, then you can give Putin's culture cop, as he was dubbed by the New Republic, a break.

It did, however, give everyone the chance to bring out a great old Soviet joke about a bureaucrat who is making a speech comes up against a ribald Roman numeral. "In 1934, when the party sent me to X...." The audience is in uproar. A note is passed to the speaker. Excuse me, when the party sent me to the XVII congress."

The Russian edition of Hollywood Reporter has gathered together as many posters as they could find from past winners of the film festival and put them on show at the State Teatr Kinoaktyor at 33 Ulitsa Povarskaya. Among the posters are Federico Fellini's "8 1/2 ," Sergei Bondarchul's Oscar-winning "War and Peace" and Georgiy Danieliya's "Mimino." The posters are on show till June 27.

Khusein Erkenov's film "Ordered to Forget" about the massacre of 700 Chechens by the NKVD, the forerunner of the KGB, during the mass deportation of Chechens from their homeland in 1944, was unexpectedly shown at the festival despite it reportedly being banned from cinemas in Russia. The Culture Ministry said that the film was based on a historical lie, that there was no record in NKVD archives and that it could incite racial hatred, Erkenov told Russian media. The Culture Ministry said that they had not banned it but sent it for examination, Gazeta.ru reported.

The Russian films in the festival's competition section could not be father apart. Valeriya Gai Germanika's "Yes and Yes," an accidental love story between an artist and a painter and the effect it has on the form, one critic said is typical of Germanika's style, "a mix of grunge, punk and postmodernism," while "White Yagel" looks at love in the tundra of the Nenets autonomous district.

"White Yagel" is on at 2:45 p.m. on Thursday. "Yes and Yes" plays 7.30 pm and on Friday at 10 p.m. at the Oktyabr cinema.

- The roman numerals above are 36, 86, 67 and 71. It was the 17th congress.

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