The MIFF Competition has always been a stumbling block for the festival organizers, critics and viewers alike. 
In Soviet times one had to strictly observe the percentage of home movies, friendly (from Eastern Europe) and enemy (from Western Europe) films, politically pertinent (for the bosses) and artistically accomplished (for the critics) works, notorious (for film buffs) and purely entertaining (finally for the audience) movies. Everything that aroused the slightest ideological doubts was ruthlessly rejected. Unexpectedly the blow came from the artistic side: the main prize to “Eight and a Half” by Fellini in 1963 shook the foundations of social mentality. Although the mass audience and the snobbish few preferred more alluring out-of-competition programmes, the list of competition masterpieces often overlooked by critics and film-buffs originating primarily from Asia, Africa and Latin America is amazing. It boasts the names of  Kaneto Shindo who remained faithful to Moscow from his first to his last movie, Shyam Benegal, Im Kwon-taek and many other classics of world cinema including the Taviani brothers.
At the turn of the millennium the struggle between leading festivals for world and international premieres became more acute. Instead of censorship and ideology the main difficulty now was the economic and artistic competition. The MIFF Competition gradually found its place as a discoverer of new names and paradoxical talents, whose subsequent works were often found among the winners of festivals in Venice, Berlin, Cannes. It was in Moscow that the world premieres of Quan'an Wang’s “Lunar Eclipse”, Kim Ki Duk’s “Real Fiction”, Asghar Farhadi’s “Dancing in the Dust”, not to mention Boris Khlebnikov and Alexei Popogrebsky’s “Koktebel” , three-hour extravaganza “Chapiteau-show” by Sergey Loban and works by talented first-timers from CIS were held in Moscow.
The Festival remains faithful to the traditions, and its Competition programme offers films by masters who do not always get their due at foreign festivals. As an example one might name Kira Muratova. Lately most of her movies were screened at the MIFF in competition or out-of-competition. The genre and thematic preferences which often determine the choice of films at other festivals are of secondary importance in Moscow, where primary consideration is given to artistic quality and at times shocking originality. It becomes obvious if you consider such diverse competition last year entries as  “Dear Hans” by Alexander Mindadze and “Orleans” by Andrey Proshkin as well as «The Road” by Rana Salem (Livan) or 37th MIFF Grand Prix Winner “Loosers” by Bulgarian film director Ivaylo Khristov,  «The Monk and Demon” by Nikolai Dostal. 
Discoveries and surprises again await the specialists and viewers of the Competition programme at the 39th  MIFF.