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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cinema Center Shows Western Art Films, in English

For moviegoers who prefer the small, surgical strike of insight and wit that informs a good art film to the Hollywood blockbuster that can flatten a whole city, February offers a rare treat: a package of recent Western movies well off the beaten commercial track.


Inter-Cinema Agency, a local distribution company, in conjunction with the Cinema Center, is presenting a series of five English-language movies (with Russian subtitles), culled from a list of films showcased during last year's Moscow Film Festival, including the critically acclaimed "Exotica," by Atom Egoyan, "Magic Hunter," by Ilkid— Enydi, and "When the Night is Falling," by Patricia Rozema.


"It's an experiment," said Raisa Fomina, whose Inter-Cinema Agency has bought the exclusive Russian distribution rights to the works. "We wanted to show films that have no chance of widespread commercial distribution here, and would probably not even be seen here otherwise."


The five films in the package will not be going into general distribution in Russia, but will be targeted to art houses, small festivals, and Russian television. One of the films, David Wellington's "I Love a Man in Uniform," has already been sold to ORT, Fomina said. Another, "Exotica," was shown at the Radisson-Slavjanskaya's Americom theater, which may also pick up another of the group.


Fomina said she has already secured the rights to a second package of Western art films, featuring several works by the British director Peter Greenaway, including his cult hit, "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover," and the highly-acclaimed "Prospero's Books," Greenaway's phantasmagoric rendering of Shakespeare's "The Tempest," starring John Gielgud. These films too will be in English with Russian subtitles.


The films are being shown Fridays at 7 p.m. in the main hall at the Cinema Center. The series began with "Magic Hunter," on Feb. 2, and will be followed in order by "When the Night is Falling" on Feb. 9, "Running Wild" on Feb. 16, "Exotica" on Feb. 23, and "I Love a Man in Uniform" on March 2.


"We are aiming for that part of the audience that most distributors fail to take into account," said Fomina. "Those who want to see quality Western art films that ordinarily never come to Russian cinemas. We usually only get the large-scale productions here, the only kind that distributors see as profitable."


The Cinema Center series is possible, she says, because "we're not doing it for profit. Certainly, we hope to recoup our expenses, but we are doing this primarily for cultural reasons."


The French Embassy is also continuing its series of French-language films (with Russian subtitles) at the Illuzion theater. This month's films include two starring Catherine Deneuve: "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg ," a restored version of the 1963 musical comedy, which shows on Feb. 12, and the 1993 drama, "My Favorite Season," showing Feb. 26. Also screening are two recent releases, Eric Rohmer's "Parisian Dates" (Feb. 5), and the critically acclaimed "A French Woman," starring Danielle B?art. The Illuzion series films show each Monday at 7 p.m.