Scene and Heard in L.A.
HOLLYWOOD—From April 16 through the 23, Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center played host to Russian Nights. A festival of Russian Cinema, Music and Arts, the event showcased the works of Russia’s greatest talents, dating back to the beginning of the 20th Century.
The classical works of such directors as Eisenstein and Pudovkin created the mold for cinematic expression, inspiring the more modern geniuses such as Coppola and Scorsese in America, and shaping the talents of Russian contemporary directors like Vladimir Khotinenko. Ranging from silent black and whites, to veiled political commentaries, love stories, modern action and animation, the films were selected based on their poetic beauty and representation of Russian Culture as a whole.
Now in its second year, Russian Nights has been compiled by the Stas Namin Centre for Culture Art and Education, with the help of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, in an effort to educate the public about a culture which gave root to many modern techniques used to make our cinematic experience what it is today.
In addition to film, it showcased the artistic works of well-established and world re-known artists such as Komar & Melamid, Tatyana Nazarenko, architect and poet Andrey Voznesensky and many others. Besides developing a new and unique style, these artists have been recognized for their prolific messages and boldness to express opinions during the Communist regime, when they were least likely to be accepted.
The event culminated in an awards ceremony, with some of Hollywood’s greatest talents paying homage to their favorite Russian writers and directors. Actor Dustin Hoffman spoke about his love for Voznesensky’s poetry, and lit up like a Christmas tree when host Stas Namin surprised him with an introduction.
Writer, director and great master of suspense, Ray Bradbury, put in his own appearance to talk about the impact that early Russian horror films have had on his works and career.
The final treat was a screening of “72 Meters,” a feature film by Vladimir Khotinenko about the sinking of the Kursk. Its simple manner, beautiful character development, powerful cinematography and honest depiction of Russian life and emotion was an authentic example of Russian art and the direction in which it is heading today.
For more information of Russian Nights or other Russian Cultural activities, please visit russiannightsfest.com.
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