Sputnik over Warsaw

Landing in Warsaw

Landing in Warsaw

The 8th Sputnik Russian Film Festival begins in Warsaw on 20 November with almost only the latest productions in the programme. Never in the last 25 years has Russian culture enjoyed such popularity in Poland as it does now. Tickets for the recent Kolada Festival were sold out in a flash and films that have caused a stir like Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan” or Alexandr Veledinsky’s “The Geographer Drank His Globe Away” are on at the cinemas. “It is only journalists who ask about politics,” says Małgorzata Szlagowska-Skulska, director of Sputnik. Not a single institution has withdrawn from the event, we have even more partners than last year. In our conversations with Russian artists not a word was spoken about the current international situation. It would suit many politicians to see the festival cancelled. Russian cinematography is flourishing; the Russians have long overcome their financial crisis and the production chaos characteristic of the early 1990s. They now make approximately 300 films annually: from social drama and love stories to disaster films and science fiction, to which a special section is dedicated at Sputnik. After 1989, as a result of an aversion to anything eastern and a predilection for everything American, Russian films all but disappeared from Polish cinemas. The Sputnik Russian Film Festival has been trying to fill this gap for eight years now.Nearly 100 films will be shown at the festival at the end of November. Whereas previously the event partially served to reminisce about some USSR productions, this time the organisers have opted for newer films. The directors are people born in the ’60s, 70s, or even ‘80s, who grew up after the USSR had collapsed. According to Szlagowska-Skulska, Russian films shown at Sputnik focus mainly on social issues which are not discussed in Poland. Numerous films that will be presented at the festival were bought through companies from France and Germany that invest in Russian cinematography and own the distribution rights.

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