The choice of Generation #

It seems that it was only recently, though in reality it was seven festivals ago, that we had an idea to make young directors who had burst into our cinema, contribute to the image of the festival. The rather vague definition “millennium generation” seemed becoming to all of them. Among them are Anna Melikyan and Katia Shagalova, Boris Khlebnikov and Alexei Popogrebsky, Pyotr Buslov and Fyodor Bondarchuk, Vasily Sigarev and Kirill Serebrennikov – to name but a few. They came to the fore at the turn of the Millennium and with their rapidly growing powers drove back the previous generation, made everyone look at new faces, listen to new intonations from the romanticized criminal slang in “Boomer” to psychological urbanistic “Simple Things”, “Pavlov’s Dogs” and “Free Floating”, from the lofty and bitter fantasy of “Mermaid” to the newest folklore metaphors in “Chipping Sparrows”… And so on. The main characters of that epoch who were barely past thirty at the time, have secured themselves an army of fans and are now acknowledged masters who share their experience as professors with the new generation which is breathing down their necks. But back then we suggested that they analyze their artistic genesis and tell the MIFF viewers about the films that shaped their aesthetic preferences. It was not always straightforward; it is hard to imagine something more dissimilar than Nagisa Oshima’s “In the Realm of the Senses” and the works of Fyodor Bondarchuk, who avowed his passion for the creator of this brilliant scandalous movie before the screening. Then (our project took two years to complete) Pyotr Buslov introduced “Solaris”, Igor Voloshin – “Natural Born Killers” by Oliver Stone, Kirill Serebrennikov – “Les Valseuses”, Alexandr Veledinsky – “Strict Young Man” by Abram Room. It is hardly worthwhile to enumerate all the dissimilar masterpieces that made up our program, which the festival audience asked us to renew more than once. When we came back to the idea several years later we were baffled as to how to define the status of the generation. Some call it Generation Y or Z, others believe that the group of young directors is not yet developed into a “generation” and maintain that this term is at best premature or even far-fetched. But one way or the other, our wish to have striking directors, recent debutants talk openly to the historical time embodied in cinema, was stronger than the skeptics’ reasoning. The definition emerged of its own accord – not without the help of the Internet – GENERATION SLASH or #, a sign which has become our second nature, which has willingly accepted the rule of social networks. Nigina Seifullayeva and Mikhail Mestetsky, Natalia Meschaninova, Ivan I.Tverdovsky and Natalia Kudriashova – their voices have been especially striking recently. What voices and images conquered their minds when they were entering onto the thorny path of filmmaking? The retrospective will tell the audience all about it.