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Documentary Festival Brings the Real Russia to the Big Screen

Why do some Russians still revere Stalin? How do others preserve the memory of those he killed? Courtesy of Zeppers Film & TV

For ten years the ArtDocFest has been showcasing documentary films shot in Russia, in Russian (or other languages of the former Soviet Union), and by Russians. They are short, long, funny, terrifying, moving, and sometimes amazing. But they are almost certainly not what you see on the small screen — and not just in Russia, but anywhere in the world.

This year’s festival, held at the theaters of the Oktyabr movie complex, begins on Wednesday in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg and runs through next Tuesday. It will screen 136 films from 30 countries in a competition program and six other programs.

All the competition films are shown with English subtitles (look for films in Theater 8).

The Gala Opening films will include a new documentary by Jon Alpert called Cuba and the Cameraman (in English and Spanish). On Thursday at 8 p.m. the festival will hold the Russian premiere of “Red Soul,” a documentary about Russians and their relationship with the legacy of Josef Stalin by Dutch director Jessica Gorter. It will be shown again on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

For more information, tickets, schedule and other news, see the festival site (largely in Russian with some English).

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