Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Philippines Igor Khovaev wants Filipinos to forget whatever perception Hollywood has impressed about Russia.
In the three years in his post, the diplomat observed that not many Filipinos know anything about Russia outside the representation of western and mainstream media.
“Hollywood produced a lot of wonderful movies, but unfortunately, there is no single nearly good movie about Russia,” Khovaev said during his opening speech at the recent launch of the first Russian Film Week in the Philippines at Cinematheque Centre Manila. “Look at me, at all my colleagues from the Russian embassy, we are the typical Russian guys: We are beautiful, and not some aggressive Russian spies as portrayed by Hollywood.”
The Russian Film Week is presented by the Embassy of Russian Federation in the Philippines and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, featuring seven films of different genres. The festival opened on December 5 and will run until tomorrow, December 8, at SM Megamall and SM Mall of Asia.
All films are shown with English subtitles and are free of charge.
One of the featured titles is Battle for Sevastopol. The 2015 biographical war movie follows the life of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, a legendary Soviet sniper in the Red Army during World War II who was credited with 309 kills. The film was shown on December 5 and 6, and will be screened tomorrow, December 8, at SM Mall of Asia, 6 pm. It was also shown during the festival’s launch at Cinematheque, where the film’s director Sergey Moritskiy was in attendance.
“Throughout shooting this film, all of the crew members were having the deepest feeling of gratitude for the people who made sacrifices during World War II,” Moritskiy said through a translator. “This is a movie about love, and how difficult it was for the heroine to have lived those terrible years of the war.”
The six other participating films include the historical drama Salyut 7 (to be shown on December 8, 6 pm, at SM Megamall), the movie adaptation of Sergey Lukyanenko’s fantasy novel A Rough Draft ( December 8, 8 pm, SM Megamall), and the supernatural crime movie Night Watchmen (December 8, 8 pm, SM Mall of Asia). Shown earlier in the week were the romantic drama period piece Mathilde, the adventure drama The Duelist, and the true-to-life disaster film The Icebreaker.
Khovaev, the ambassador, believes the role of culture, especially of movies, is indispensable with regards to bringing the Philippines and Russia closer together. He said the medium can help the two nations understand each other better, and can help build bridges to friendships and partnerships.
“I also hope that through Russian Film Week,” he added, “many Filipinos would want to visit Russia—the true Russia, which is, again, absolutely different from the one presented by mainstream media.”