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MOSCOW, October 31 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian culture should develop, steering away from glamour and entertainment, Alexander Avdeyev, the culture minister of the Russian Federation, said on Monday, addressing students and the teaching staff of the Gnessin Musical College.
He said the chief ailment of culture now is “its being not prepared to the market conditions.” “While in the past a creative product was merely an intellectual product, it is presently a commodity that should be sold,” the minister noted. “This is a very trying stage for culture,” he said.
Avdeyev recalled that “remarkable Russian films that win awards at international film festivals are not recouped in the Russian distribution network that is mostly privately-owned.” Cinematographers mainly have an eye on the box office rather than aiming to show good cinema. “American ‘popcorn’ films make up 70 percent of film distribution,” the minister added.
He said that some 50 Russian films were made this year. “Some of them are really very good,” he noted, singling out the film “Yelena” directed by Andrei Zvyagintsev, “Faust” by Alexander Sokurov and “Once Upon a Time There Lived a Simple Woman” by Andrei Smirnov, which the minister described as “the film of the decade.”
He has said there are fewer good playwrights now, as it is more difficult to write a good play than a script for a soap opera. Many writers prefer to work for television or write light novels and detective stories that make reading for travel.
Culture customarily relied on state assistance, and excellent conditions existed for creative workers in the Soviet times, while presently they have to get by, relying on sponsors, he said. The minister expressed the hope that culture would continue to develop, steering away from glamour and entertainment, which considerably lower its standards.