Random Notes from Around the City
by Paul Miazga
Ukrainian pop singer Svetlana Loboda opened her collection of photos from India at Ukraine House (2 Khreshchatyk) on Oct. 19. The exhibition, dubbed “Exotic Photographs”, will run through Oct. 28. It’s hard to say without seeing the exhibit if this should be a cause for celebration or what; the singer is not known for her artistic prowess before a live audience or behind a camera lens (at least, not yet), and that being said, who’s to say that someone who obviously traveled with her to India didn’t take the photos for her and give her credit? I’d be more impressed with a selection of photos from across the country or somewhere a little less-photographed.
Molodist Film Festival returns
The 37th annual Molodist International Film Festival also opened over the weekend (Oct. 20) and will also run through Oct. 28. A reported 400 films from more than half a dozen countries will be part of the festival this year (I think that works out to something like six films per cinema per day of the festival, not including repeats of certain films.) The competition program will feature the following full-length feature films: “The Band’s Visit” (Bikur Ha-Tizmuret), by Eran Kolirin, Israel; “Monotonous” (Monotonija), by Yuris Poskus, Latvia; “Lola” (Lo que se de lola), by Javier Rebollo, Spain; “Ex-Drummer”, by Mortier Koen, Belgium; “Velocity Begets Oblivion” (Velocidad funda el olvido), by Marcelo Schapces, Argentina; “Vanaja”, by Rajnesh Domalpali, India; “Wholetrain”, by Florian Gaag, Germany; “Horse Thieves” (Voleurs de chevaux), by Micha Wald, Belgium; “U Reki” (At the river), by Eva Neyman, Ukraine. The shorts and student film competition segments consist of 25 films each. For more information on the festival, including screenings, schedules, film bios and more, check out: www.molodist.com/en/.
Now, aside from some information in local entertainment magazines 10 Days and Afisha, I’ve only seen a few poster ads on the festival, and if not for word of mouth this festival would hardly receive the mention that it clearly deserves. The poor promotion of one of Europe’s longest-running film festivals – and of the home-grown talent at the festival – beggars belief. Here’s a major chance to really keep interest in Ukraine going after Ukrainian Fashion Week and the organizers continue to drop the ball. But enough about what I think. Film collections from France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Russia, the Netherlands, host Ukraine and other countries will also show throughout the week at various cinemas. Tickets are cheap, too, so no excuses – get out there.
Some life in the Euro 2012 preparations
This week I witnessed mixed signs of life regarding Ukraine’s apathetic and completely uninspired preparations for the 2012 European Football Championships. Putting aside such inane monikers for the tournament as put up by one local TV channel (“Euro 2012 – A Chance to Improve the Country”), here’s the reality: not much is happening.
True, the outgoing government of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych is pushing through budget amendments to allocate just under $300m for the tournament preparations, but that hardly seems capable of covering the massive combined costs of stadium makeovers, infrastructure upgrades to airports, railway stations, roads and street lights, retraining of police officers to speak at least some English and do more than just collect spot fines and lots, lots more. Add to this that work on the disputed and by now highly controversial Olympic Shopping Mall at the foot of Kyiv’s Olympic Stadium has resumed and all this adds up to one big joke. Like the traffic problems in Kyiv, everyone here has an opinion about the Euro 2012 tournament, but no one is prepared to do anything about it. The mayor has given away huge amounts of land for free and he’s still not being properly taken to task for this, and the same goes for this ridiculous shopping mall, the delays in upgrading Boryspil Airport, the miserable state of Ukraine’s railways and highways and so on and so on. I’m getting a headache writing all the time about how pathetic Ukrainian officials are.
I can only wonder as foreign teams come to Kyiv for Champions League matches or Euro 2008 qualifiers (France arrives for a crucial decider – for them – on Nov. 21) what their accompanying press must think: What (if anything) is going on in this country?!? With film cameras to document what they see, the answer, as I’ve said is simple: not much.
“Dutch director Jos Stelling brings his Oscar-contending tragicomedy “Duska” to Kyiv as part of the 37th annual Molodist Film Festival.” (www.molodist.com)