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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Films Tackle Rights Issues

Chantal Lebrat believes in the power of film to make a difference in the world.

Lebrat works for the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is sponsoring the 1979 Australian film, "Breaker Morant," as the organization's entry in the International Human Rights Film Festival this week at the Central House of Filmmakers.

"Some people would say, 'This kind of event can do nothing, and the only thing that matters is influencing decision-makers,'" Lebrat said of the event. "But this is not enough," she continued. "The public has to receive an emotional message through cinema, because during the war the reason leaves people, and what remains is emotions."

The festival, which is organized jointly by the Russian Guild of Film Directors and the Moscow Guild of Theater and Film Actors, began Monday and runs through Dec. 12. Through the art of cinema the festival aims to convey the message that in a world shaken by the tragedies and cataclysms of history, people need to understand and accept each other.

"It's about the uppermost right of each person -- the right to life. Peoples and individuals are depicted amid the ruins of empires and their own houses ... when life changes so fast that human psychology cannot keep up with it," Miron Chernenko, the festival's program director, said at a press conference last week. "We tried to collect everything that has been filmed in the world on this theme lately."

"Every director who has a serious intention to tell real-life stories inevitably comes across [human rights] issues," Chernenko said. "[Rights] are part of life if a person has them, and especially if he doesn't."

The festival's main program is called "War and Its Consequences." It features films about wars in Chechnya and Yugoslavia, including Emir Kusturica's famous "Underground," "Voices From Sarajevo," a documentary by Norwegian director Maria Warsinski, and two Russian documentaries -- Pavel Sazonov's "Still Hoping" and "Damned and Forgotten" by Stanislav Govorukhin and Inna Vaneyeva.

In the framework of the festival, an archival exhibition "Welcome to the Cinema Gulag!" displaying interrogation transcripts and pictures of actors and filmmakers killed during Stalin's purges of the 1930s, will be on view at the Central House of Filmmakers.

The Central House of Filmmakers is located at 13 Vasilyevskaya Ulitsa, tel. 251-5889.