Click on the instagram link above to see my first red carpet…and Maria was too shy to go up it! It’s the 43rd festival http://molodist.com/en and the Opening Ceremony took place at the Palace Ukraine – speeches and folk dance and traditional music were centre stage – which didn’t really reflect the festival’s focus on younger film makers, and international cinema’s appeal to a younger crowd.
However, an international Children’s Jury will be judging the Children’s film section; and tonight I’m going to see one of the films that’s part of the Sunny Bunny section of the festival focusing on LGBT films, a focus which is even more important now in countries in wider Europe, given Russia’s increasingly homophobic stance. And certainly a way of demonstrating that diversity is being celebrated here in Ukraine, where the work of festivals like Molodist is crucial in giving a platform to younger independent film-makers with new stories to tell.
The Opening film was Lech Walesa: Man of Hope by Polish director Andrzej Wajda; and it certainly read differently to me sitting watching it in a country whose own history and recent independence was linked to the break up of the USSR, in which the rise of Solidarity (the trade union formed by Walesa and others out of the Gdansk shipyard strikes in Poland) definitely played a part. Had I been watching in a cinema in the UK it would have been a good film about someone else’s history – of academic but not personal significance. Watching it here, the resonance for the Ukrainian audience was tangible, and the film in this context gave me some insight into how things worked differently during the Soviet era.