The British Council presents the first edition of the IN FOCUS documentary film festival that will take place in six Russian cities from August 1 to 15, 2017. In Moscow, the festival is organised in partnership with Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, it will take place from August 3 to 7, 2017. The screenings in Moscow will take place at the Garage Screen summer cinema in Garage Square.
It is said that ‘whoever tells the best story shapes the culture’ and what could be a better story than the life of an artist—a creator, a rioter, and a genius, who stands out from the crowd and whose incredible talent changes the world? Through the lens of the camera, IN FOCUS looks at five people, each of whom has become a symbol of contemporary Britain and an idol for generations of people across the globe.
David Hockney and Lucian Freud turned the traditions of visual art upside down. Hockney—the godfather of pop-art, who spent most of his life in the United States, first made a splash with his vital portraits and ultramarine-blue pools, then dived into experiments with the camera and collage techniques and finally switched to the painting of landscapes, where the fog of Kensington is replaced with the sunshine of California. Freud is a master of figurative art, famous for his naturalistic portraits, penetrating one’s mind and exploring the relationship between the artist and the model—in the traditions set by his legendary grandfather.
Ted (Edward James) Hughes, Poet Laureate and one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, the creative beneficiary of T.S. Eliot and a poet of mythic and elemental power, whose vers libre echoes the best masterpieces of British impressionism and whose controversial and tragic biography made him the main romantic hero of the époque.
Another two (to be exact—three) people who quite literally ‘set the tone’ of the time. Liam and Noel Gallagher and Amy Winehouse are as different as musicians can be, but both of their stories consist of a series of rises and falls, admiration and blame, glory and oblivion. While Oasis went through all the stages from the early success with Definitely Maybe to a decade of triumph in the nineties and the further split followed by numerous attempts of reunion, Amy ‘left the stage’ at the peak of her career by joining the immortal Twenty-Seven Club.
The life stories of this ‘famous five’ gave rise to these documentaries, each of which is a creative journey. The BAFTA winner Asif Kapadia repeats his success with Senna (2010) by exploring Amy’s life through her texts, archive chronicles, friends’ and fans' comments and her rare interviews. Both of Randall Wright’s films show artists’ lives behind the scenes and, following the canon of BBC movies, combine detailed research with creative essay. Matt Whitecross made Supersonic hoping that “a little bit of the spirit of Oasis could spark something in a new group of misfits, and they’ll go out and change the world again”. And Richard Curson-Smith once again turns his camera to a prominent figure in British art history, depicting Ted Hughes’s tragic life and poetic passions.
IN FOCUS invites you to join the dialogue and to look back at those who proved with their own lives: you are who you choose to be. The festival will take place in Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Krasnoyarsk, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, and Saint Petersburg.
The films will be presented by the film critic Maksim Semenov.