‘Another Russia’ at Istanbul Modern
Istanbul Modern Cinema starts off the new season with a program titled “Another Russia” between Sept. 19 and 29.
The program focuses on the less well-known side of contemporary Russian cinema, famous for its deep and intricate psychological dramas. The films include genre cinema from the last decade and films that have gained box office success in Russia despite being less known internationally – many of which that have not been shown in Turkey.
Rather than presenting a depressing and lost Russia, the selection offers diverse films in terms of style and genre, from comedies to thrillers; alternative characters and stories regarding the changing identities of the young population within the quickly globalizing society following the demise of Communism.
For example, “Zoology” portrays a middle-aged woman with a tail and her struggle for life. The story of Natasha, who lives with her pious mother in a conservative town, is a representation of all individuals who have been marginalized because they don’t fit the norms of society.
Directed by Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov, “The Man Who Surprised Everyone” is an adaptation of a folktale, depicted through the story of Egor, a forest keeper living in a poor Siberian village. In the film, Egor decides to change his gender as a means to cheat death and begins to wear women’s clothing and make-up.
Another film included in the selection is “Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari,” which illustrates folkloric narratives within the culture of Mari through the story of 23 women while it examines pagan rituals.