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MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday sent congratulations to the participants and guests of the 39th Moscow International Film Festival. He stressed a special status of the event, the Kremlin press service said.
"This is the oldest Russia cinematic forum and it is rightly considered to be a big emblematic event in the cultural life of Russia and other countries," Putin said. "I always justifies the expectations of the highly demanding cinematic art connoisseurs and impresses with new projects, ideas and concepts, a tightly packed program, and the big numbers of attending stars every time while keeping up its historic traditions."
The presidential address was read out at the gala opening ceremony by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov.
The Moscow International Film Festival that opened for the 39th time on Thursday is one of the most prestigious film forums in the world. Its history began in 1935 when it was held for the first time but various political and international collisions resulted an interval of almost 25 years between the first and the second festival.
The President of the Moscow Film Festival, the Russian film director, producer and actor Nikita Mikhalkov, and Finnish producer Jorn Johan Donner declared the festival open in Russian and English.
The opening ceremony began with the song titled "Give Back the Memory" devoted to the Russian military who died while in the service of their homeland, performed by the Uzbekistani-American-Russian singer Nargiz.
As the president of the festival, Nikita Mikhalkov decided that performance of this song would be an appropriate step considering that the festival opened on June 22, the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow in Russia. On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany and its allies attacked the Soviet Union on a broad front from the sub-Arctic areas to the shores of the Black Sea, thus triggering a war that would last four years and take away an estimated 27 million lives in this country.
The author of the festival’s opening song, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said she had dedicated it to the Russian military in Syria. "It’s a song devoted to everyone who dies for their homeland, for dignity and for saving the friends."
"After the tragedy with the Russian warplane in Syria that was brought down treacherously in 2015, something made a pivot within my soul," Zakharova said. "It became a personal tragedy for me, too. First came the text and then came the melody."
Producer Maxim Fadeyev, who heard the song, offered Zakharova to do a professional recording and said Nargiz would be the best imaginable performer. "The way Nargiz sang it really impressed me."
The singer said, on her part, that "Give Back the Memory" was far from a simple song:
"The author lived through this experience profoundly".
The main program of the 39th Moscow International Film Festival started off with the Indian blockbuster ‘Baahubali 2: The Conclusion’ by S.S. Rajamouli. It is a historical fiction film that continues the epopee about Prince Sivudu whom ordinary people rescued from persecutors and brought up to maturity.
The main competition program has three Russian films. The first of them, "The Bottomless Bag" by Rustam Khamdamov is loosely based on Ryunuske Akutagawa’s novella ‘"n a Grove". Starring in it, among others, is one of the grand dames of the Russian stage and screen, Svetlana Nemoliayeva, and Anna Mikhalkova.
The second film, "Thawed Carp" by Vladimir Kott has brought together a trio of celebs broadly known to anyone with at least some knowledge of the Russian cinematic art - Marina Neyolova, Alisa Freindlikh and Yevgeny Mironov. The main protagonist, a retired teacher leading a modest life in a backwater provincial town, suddenly learns she has a lethal diagnosis.
‘Buy Me’ by Vadim Perelman with Yulia Khlynina, Anna Adamovich and Svetlana Ustinova in the lead roles presents a dramatic story of young girls driven by the striving for success.
The main competition program also includes "Crested Ibis" (China), "Darkland" (Denmark), "No Bed of Roses" (Bangladesh, India), "Ordinary Person" (Republic of Korea), "Selfie" (Spain), "Star Boys" (Finland), "Summer Blooms" (Japan), "Symphony for Ana" (Argentina), "The Best of All Worlds" (Germany, Austria), and "Yellow Heat" (Turkey).
The jury of the main competition, chaired by the Finnish film director and producer Jorn Johan Donner, include the Spanish director and scriptwriter Albert Serra, the Iranian director and producer Reza Mirkarimi, the European film star Ornella Muti of Italy, the Russian artist, dramatist and director Alexander Abadashyan, and film expert Brigitta Manthey of Germany.
The awarding ceremony has been scheduled for June 29. Sofia Coppola’s new picture "The Beguiled", an adaptation of the famous novel by Thomas Cullinan.
Apart from the main competition, the program has competitions of documentary and short films, sections of South Korean, North Korean and Indian films. One of the choices for the spectators is a retrospective of films by Andrei Konchalovsky, one of the grand personalities in contemporary Russian filmmaking.