A Frenchman (2019)
Director: Andrei Smirnov
Cast: Antoine Rival, Evgeniya Obraztsova, Alexander Baluev, Mikhail Efremov, Roman Madyanov
The film tells the story of Pierre Durand, a young French communist who comes to Moscow in 1957 on academic exchange. It begins at a Seine-side café where Pierre and his two communist friends discuss Marxism, the Soviet Union and the Algerian war — while imperiously sending back a bottle of wine for its unacceptable taste of cork. Pierre begins to research the Russian ballet, his ostensible reason for coming to Moscow State University. But his real purpose is to discover the fate of his father, a member of the old Russian aristocracy… The film is directed by Andrei Smirnov, a renowned Soviet director who quit directing in the 70s in protest against the authorities. He returned to directing in 2011 making powerful cinematic statements – the kind of public intellectual we perhaps need these days more than ever.