Friday, January 15, 2016

Cinema: A Public Affair (2015) New York Jewish Film Festival 2016

In 1989 Naum Kleiman founded the Moscow State Central Cinema Museum (Musey Kino) as the country lurched from Soviet rule into something else. Amassing a massive amount of cinema related material the Museum and it's screenings became a haven and social gathering place for those wanting to have social and artistic discussions. However as censorship reemerged in Russia the Museum was put in the cross-hairs and it was set adrift (the reasons are not really clear). Finally after limping along the Ministry of Culture moved Kleiman into a purely figurehead role for not following orders. This film follows the Museum's rise and fall.

Vitally important film about the importance of accessible culture and how things like going to the movies can be a social event (want proof most of the people here at Unseen Films I met at the movies).

While the spine of the film are a series of interviews with Kleiman talking about the movies, the museum and their place in society, it is wrapped by clips from films, interviews with filmmakers and comments from people left heartbroken by the behind the scenes battles to keep the Museum operating and accessible.  Through all the talk we really get to know and feel why places like the Moscow Film Museum was and is so important.

One of the really cool things about the film is the editing by director Tatiana Brandrup. Using film clips and footage she shot her self she manages to create wonderful mini comments and commentaries on what we are seeing. Sergei Eisenstein, who's film are referenced frequently, would be thrilled.  I know I was. I loved her juxtaposing of  a Samung video saying Dream with a run down street saying Reality. Her use of the BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN is wonderful is several places as is her use of LAST YEAR MARIENBAD. And if I'm not listing things from later in the film understand that after awhile I simply stopped taking notes and fell into the discussions.

While I know that the film is going to find the most love among film fans, I think this is going to play well for anyone who is curious or worried about the place of culture in society. To be certain this is the story of cinema in a once again repressive society, but at the same time the battle for control of intellectual institutions is one that is happening even here in the US where bone headed Congress people are trying to control what we think and view.

I really like this film a great deal and I suspect that after I see it again I'll absolutely love it. Like or love this is one of the best films at this year's New York Jewish Film Festival. A must see

The film plays at the New York Jewish Film Festival on the 19th and 20th. For more information and tickets go here/

No comments:

Post a Comment