Saturday, 17 July 2010

To the people of the Twenty First Century

We are given with tools, knowledge and freedom to build the new house of humanity. But standing here with spade in our hands, how can we be sure that we are building a basement - not a graveyard. And yes, we are children of our parents, whose blood and soul were tortured by the inhuman kinds of the 20th century. For more then 100 years they learnt to be brave and oh not so vulnerable. What can we rely on if church is no longer united, there are no souls left in the parents' house or the library - where shall we take the inspiration to restore nature and house?

Earth... First we need to get strength, we need to get rid of thirsty feeling and get back to job, and we are the diggers, graving the past and mourning about it, even though we didn't do it. We are here because someone else didn't do it either - in the 20th century of inhuman kinds there was place for humans, we are here because of them. How many are not. We are diggers, our ignorance and inner conflict take us down, standing on our knees, doubts like worms eating us from inside. Our elder brothers and sisters lost themselves in the agonizing freedom and oblivion of drugs, sex and videogames. We can't count on them, can't look up to them. Their dreams are dead and Requiem is conducted.

Digging is not an honorable job, not at all. Each of us asks question: why on earth do I have to do it? I didn't do anything wrong, it's all because of those generations before me, leave me alone, people, all I want to do is sit back and enjoy life, if stupid Paris Hilton does that, why can't I do it?"
I know life is unfair. But I guess each generation as each person has got its mission, its pre-destination. Isn't our mission now to save earth and to show next generations how it's done? Wouldn't it be a great example for our children how to treat nature? Maybe they'll call us "the people who saved us"; maybe they'll make movies about us? Maybe the house on the basement that we first destroy and then build again - maybe it'll be a brilliant example of architecture, a piece of art, a masterpiece. Can they count on us? Those future generations, those unborn kids. Will they praise our Requiem for a Dream? Or will they just acknowledge "Glamour life and no dreams"?

Sitting here at 2 am in the morning and burning energy on this PC, I am asking whether I am any better, whether I am brave enough to start digging the basement, no glamour dress, but gloves to clean oil from birds. Is this a dress code for the 21st century? Or is it just another costume party?
I am not saying that we have to sacrifice ourselves. But let's start thinking! Reflect!

We are the awareness. We are the start of today. We are the fresh green grass outside of OUR house. We are the faces on google map. We are switched off lights. We are saved tuna dolphins. We are windmills. We are the beauty of unspoiled sea. We are the sustainable farms. We are the wind. We are the people of the 21st century.

Let our children be proud. I am not saying - sacrifice yourself. I'm saying - SWTICH ON YOUR MIND.

Next time you are switching on lights in several rooms - switch on your mind.
Next time you are taking plastic bag in the supermarket - switch on your mind.
Next time you print stupid emails - switch on your mind.
Next time you use your car - switch on your mind - maybe there's a bus or a bike.
Next time you are washing dishes and leave water on for ages - switch on your mind.
Next time you throw something away - switch on your mind and sort out garbage.
Next time you see people in need - switch on your heart.
Next time you see dirt on the sky - wipe it off and switch on some smiles.
Next time you hear about some "oil spill" - switch on your conscious and don't illusionate yourself thinking that this doesn't concern you.
Next time you go to a picnic - switch on your esthetic sense and don't leave garbage.
Next time you see a master peace in the nature - don't ruin it, save it to the future people who will call you proudly "he was a man of the 21st century".

Here's a trailer to my friend Brian Hill's documentary "A Climate of Change"

Climate of Change (Tribeca Festival Premiere)

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Westerns Week

I am glad to announce that I will start my filmmaking course at Metfilm School this September. It's located in Ealing Studios famous for films like Dorian Gray, Easy Virtue and Little Ashes (and many more).

Certainly main goal is to learn the craft of filmmaking, but the craft isn't enough - you also need inspiration. And Metfilm stands for it so they sent me a list of films and books recommended to studying. Half of those films I have already seen but I decided to take this to a different level and review all these films. To make it easier for you and myself I am gong to divide films by genres.

So this week (5--11 July) I am watching Westerns.

Here are ten wonderful Westerns in my list:
*I made some changes to my list due to advices frim my twitter friends*

1. Stagecoach, 1939.
2. High Noon, 1952.
3. The Magnificent Seven, 1960.
4. 7 Samurai, 1954 - It's back!
5. The Misfits, 1961.
6. A fistful of Dollars, 1964. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969
7. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, 1966.
8. The Wild Bunch, 1969 - if I find it
9. Once Upon a Time in the West, 1968
10. High Plains Drifter, 1973.
11. Unforgiven, 1992.
12. The Proposition, 2005.

The choice of films is made according to the IMDB index, different sorts of best western lists and certainly, based on the availability of films. But please do make suggestions and corrections to this list, I am more then welcome to add some more films and welcome your opinion.

So see you on my blog every day - for a fresh review of western classics. And please keep in mind that I am a girl who was born in USSR, so this is quite a different genre to me.

Why Twilight Saga is dangerous

It's been almost a week since Eclipse, the third part of teenage vampire Twilight saga is out in cinemas and we heard lots of interesting reviews about this film. While Eclipse by many is named as the best film out of all Twilight saga films (it's more dynamic, full of interesting characters and stories) I want to concentrate on the aspect of its popularity and which has both sides of love and hate.

The main reason why Twilight is so popular is purely psychological: cinema is the main media where mirroring is used. The viewer transfers his ideas and views on the main character on the screen and the more similarities there are between the viewer and the character on screen - the easier is it to false-believe this film is actually about you. Here we see Bella, an ordinary, not particularly beautiful or stylish, not smart or talented and not interested in any hobbies. Admit it, she's boring. This character is so undefined that it is hard to believe in its existence if you can't identify yourself with her, for example for men or for talented and/or beautiful / confident girls. Take any girl in the world and out of three - 2.5 would be able to identify with Bella, mostly because of lack of confidence and a huge desire to be loved by someone as special and wonderful as Edward. Girls and women (as they identify themselves with their younger selves and through this media relive their youth) all over the world dream of having two wonderful men from mystic world being in love with them. Which is fine so far, girls don't have to be supermodels or scientists to have a right for love.

But, the most dangerous thing in Twilight saga is that Bella doesn't anyhow fight for her love. She just gets Edward, just like that - from the first sight without any transformation, chase, fight or humiliation. And yes, after she looses him she has to go for him and save his life (in second part of saga "New Moon"), but remember that before that she gets another man, Jacob, again, just like that - from the first sight, without any changes, difficulties or love.

This is one of the aspects why Twilight doesn't work as a drama - dramatic conflict in a romantic relationship is lost. Normally in the film there is a certain pattern: main character wants something -- but he/she can't get it for some reason -- then (s)he fights to get what (s)he wants -- (s)he can't get it -- (s)he meets people along the way who transform him/her and with their help/love/hate -- (s)he almost gets what (s)he wants but -- then everyone knows this is the last chance - (s)he doesn't get it. And then when character, his friends and villain and everyone in audience thinks that this is the end and there could be no more hope - something wonderful happens and the main character gets another chance. Whether (s)he finally gets it or not defines end as a Happy End or Tragic.

We can't see dramatic potential in romantic relationship in Twilight - because... main character doesn't know what she wants. There is some sort of understanding that she likes Edward (more then anything in the world) and that she wants him, but then - why she gets him so easily in the beginning? From this point of view - New Moon had a more dramatic potential but it was so poorly executed and so much attention was given to Jacob, whose love she gets without any efforts - that it messes up with dramatic relationships.

This problem makes Twilight saga not only quite poorly executed film franchise, but also quite dangerous for girls, who are already identified with Bella and are patiently waiting for two gorgeous men to love them. This film would have been completely different if protagonist was Edward or Jacob. In this case Bella's reaction would be completely justified: she is a lady who has a right to choose between two knights. She should have been however still posses some sort of special power: beauty, gift or social status... All the fairy tales and movies (which copy the plot of storytelling) teach us these lessons. These patterns help us to love those who we want to love and fight if we can't get them.

However Twilight, although it incorporates mystic elements, is not a story of great dramatic potential. It dangerously shows us that we can be loved by two interesting and powerful people even though we do not deserve that. We could deserve that if we find in ourselves some talents or power but this requires some confidence to explore ourselves and the world around, to fight and sacrifice and make choices, to become more confident in our relationships whether we lose or win. Our generation and generation of young girls has got difficult issues with confidence, we hide behind labels and brands and try to find heroes to look up to, but what we get is Paris Hilton and Bella: love and fame with no effort. These girls' confidence is hit very hard when they understand that it's not how it works in the real world - and they try to look out for answers in their favorite films and books - but Twilight is no use unless you are in love with a real vampire.

Friday, 16 April 2010

the only way to live life

You leave cinema at 6 am on Saturday morning. Inspired by a wonderful film "Knocking on Heaven's door" you realise that everything you made up before that - all the logical shields that you used are bullshit.

All the strength you input into not thinking about him is vanished after watching this film. Because strength and action should always go into fullfilling all that good that there is in your heart. And if you like someone - isn't that good?

But you remember that this is against all logic and just wrong. And probably you just made everything up and this is nothing but a spring fantasy. You know nothing about him and this might be all an illusion and the best way is just to forget and not act on it. You used to like his friend. Your friend used to like him. He's much older. He's Martian. He's an unknown variable in your equation of life. there is just no future with and to be honest no present.

But then you go underground to Lubyanka station where just 2 weeks ago a major explosion killed 40 people. And you think - what if you died - right here, right now. And if he knew - that would be nice for him to know, even if he is a selfish bastard, that you died with your heart warmed by by this spring love fantasy and his talent.

And when you go outside of undeground - to spring sun - you realise that the only way of living life is actually living it.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

A Bedtime story for Martians

Let me tell you a story about a little brave heart that was not afraid to love and never regretted it. I have heard this story from a falling star: it told this story to everything before it fell down to Earth.

On another planet - similar to ours - there was a beautiful tree: it was made of silver and golden and planitum strings and it was alive. It had purple round leaves and golden branches. And its name was - A Tree. It turned its branches and leaves to the sun and when sun was hiding in clouds A Tree played its leaves with a wind like on a harp.

There were a lot of birds who lived on A Tree because they liked its warm branches. These birds were not just using A Tree as a house - they also liked to sing. They sang in different ways: there were birds who liked making noises as violins, others - as pianos, other birds - as drums and some as guitars. These birds were famous in the whole forest because of their wonderful music. When there was wind, A Tree helped them and a beautiful music of harp was added to birds' sounds.

And there was only one bird that could sing with a human voice. It's name was Little Bird. Its voice was magnificent - powerful and strong, soft and gentle. It sang always about happiness, sun, work and wonderful forest and its creatures. These forest soon became the best forest on the planet because it was the most effective and most productive. These birds on A Tree could rock the whole forest with a beautiful and inspiring song.

But one day a Little Kitten came to the forest and it decided to see A Tree and its famous birds band. When a Little Bird saw the Kitten, it immediatly fell in love. And although a Little Bird was never in love before, it felt that it was real. The Little Bird sang a beautiful song to this Kitten in an attempt to impress it. And Kitten was impressed or maybe it just pretended to. A Little Bird was so happy and it started signing beautiful romantic songs to kitten anf dancing watlzes with it. For several days the whole forest looked like a wedding ball - for everyone was celebrating. But on the 3rd day a tragedy happened. Not always kittens are as they seem.

Little Kitten suddenly jumped and killed two birds and almost got a Little Bird. A Tree covered A Little Bird in its brances and never let it go. A Little Kitten understood that it can't get any more food and left the forest. Its "meow" was never heard in this forest again.

But A Tree stayed and A Little Bird stayed. And its heart was broken: its songs were sad and tragic. For several days it sang very sad songs. Sometimes it sang beautiful romantic songs about the first day of love and these days sun was happy and everyone was celebrating because A Little Bird was in a good mood. But sometimes a Little Bird was singing very sad heart-breaking songs when all the birds were crying and wind was not blowing and A Tree was still, and sun was hiding in clouds and even Sky of the planet was crying with big tears.

After one of the songs like this A Tree said: "I hate that Little Kitten, it ruined everything, I wish to Search and Destroy it".

But A Little Bird said: "And I don't regret anything. Those days were one of the best days in my life. and Without it I would never be able to feel love and what it is like to lose everythng. And although now instead of one whole Big Heart I have a Million Little Pieces - I am very happy that it happened. Because now I can love and sing not just with one heart - but with a million little pieces of my broken heart. Sometimes it's better to have love and lose it - rather then not knowing it at all - what it is like - to love."

And this Little Bird was far happier then any other birds - because it did not regret the past and remembered the best of it. And it had beautiful dreams of A Tree and its purple leaves. I wish you to close your eyes and have these dreams of a beautiful planet.

Good night, little Martians.

Monday, 22 February 2010

10 tips of Networking for "new-born" film-makers in London

I guess no one is simply born as a film-maker, just one day we are bitten by film-contagious beasts and become "new-born" film-makers, suckers for films and inspiration.
But film-making is a team-sport so we need other people to make our dreams come true. One of the essential skills for new film-makers is networking as in any other business - we make our own luck.

So here are some of my tips on how to network in London:

1. Memento

Remember the power of little notes that Leonard Shelby used in Chris Nolan's film. Use his tips even if you have not "this condition" - use the power of business cards. Take and collect them from anyone who gives them to you: you might not know when you need a help of make-up artist or a professional florist. Make your own business cards especially for your film-making "you". If you are a student you can use some cheap resources - like free business cards templates or

2. Extras

Take part in other film project's - you never know how many people you can meet on set - your potential actors, writers, cameramen, technicians, make-up artists. Make friends with them, talk in coffee-breaks, exchange business cards. You can start as an extra in various student or short films shootings. Use resources like to find these opportunities. Remember you'll never meet as many people interested in films as you meet on set.

3. Twitter

Join twitter and follow actors, film production companies, PR companies, film journalists and film enthusiasts. There is always a huge amount of news, ideas and information on twitter. That is how personally I met wonderful people from heyuguys and started writing reviews for them. You can also learn a bunch of great stuff from great directors like Jason Reitman and Duncan Jones who use twitter a lot. For the start you can follow my film list on twitter here film list

4. Small talk

Talk to different people about your film project or just about your interest in films. Use small talk not just to discuss weather but mention your passion for films. If a person is somehow interested or related to film-industry they will probably will to tell you about it. The other day I had a small talk with a shop-assistant at Westfield and just mentioned a recent film that I watched. She told me that she knows that stuff as her friends run a small film production company. I know some people who were writing script for TV series and they met a film producer when they were walking their dog in the morning.

5. BFI

Become a member of British Film Institute (for 40 pounds a year) or just simply subscribe to their email newsletter and go to special previews and screenings with Q&A (they are at the affordable price range of 6-15 pounds). Not only you can watch a film before its release in cinemas and listen to directors/actors, - you can also meet a lot of interesting people there. Stay after the screening and hang out in the bar.


We all not BAFTA for its awards that have just taken place in London, but BAFTA operates all year round. SO subscribe the to BAFTA newsletter and look out for events master-classes that are open to public - always try to purchase ticket immediately (it's around 10-15 pounds) as they sold out quickly. But this will allow you to enter the BAFTA home in Picadilly street, hang out in the bar and enjoy the event. Sometimes BAFTA holds special master-classes for film students for free. Last year I went to the screen-writing masterclass by the writers of LOST.

7. Raindance

If you don't know about Raindance yet, well you should, as they have a variety of interesting and useful courses for you. Subscribe to their newsletter and look out for "Boozin'n'Schmoozin' networking event or just go to one of their courses and stay after the course to hang out with other crazy filmmakers.

8. Meet-ups

Go and hang out with movie geeks - most of them are just nice people to hang out with anyway, besides they are passionate for films. Check and subscribe to their newsletter for upcoming geek events. My fellow guys from organize meet-ups for film-lovers as well so stay tuned.

9. Ask questions

Don't be afraid to ask questions. I learnt it myself, being a shy person I would prefer just to sit there and let the others talk. But if it's a movie geek event, or Viggo Mortensen's Q&A - there is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd by asking a smart or a silly question. Q&A is really a great chance to address a famous filmmaker or actor and ask them whatever you wanted. Go first - most of the times people are afraid to ask the first question so everyone will give you credit for being brave and hopefully remember your face.

10. Stay in touch

It's as easy as it is - to send email Christmas cards to your film networking or birthday greetings. You will be amazed how some people get excited and surprised that you actully remembered it's Christmas and sent them some good wishes. And think about yourself - whom would you rather help - an old classmate who never even sent you a message on facebook in 10 years or someone who always sent your little birthday wishes?

Let me know what you think of this... :)

Saturday, 20 February 2010

BAFTA awards

Just less then 24 hours to go before the famous British Film awards.
BAFTA events are usually classy and with no political references but lots of humour and love for films.

Last year we saw lots of similarities between BAFTA and Oscar choices so for those who look forward t Oscars that's an important day too. Although BAFTAs are good on tis own as well.

I like BAFTAs because they are not afraid to reward those who are weird, like famous last year come-back from Mickey Rourke. He get no award at Oscars but at least he made BAFTA an unforgettable experience.

It follows British tradition of theatre and takes place in a beautiful Opera venue. Plus it does value great acting from British talents and has got a special prise for a bes British Film (this year it's An Education, Fish Tank, Nowhere Boy, In the Loop and Moon) and an outstanding British debut (I hope this year it goes to Duncan Jones - director of Moon).

And BAFTA likes film lovers, like me - students or people who have got inspiration for films and desire to share and discuss it with others - tomorrow I am going to tweet live from such an event, so you can follow my twiiter at

Otherwise stay tuned to live updates from @baftaonline and my colleagues from @heyuguysblog and on its website

Meanwhile let me choose my awards from BAFTA nominees - full list you can find here,949,BA.html#jump2

But before I say anything about my choices - one bitter and sad word - THE ROAD. It's aint nominated for anything despite being one of the best films of this season. Based on a fantastic book by Cormac McCarthy it shows the journey of life and relationship between father and son and the rest of the world. Just in 2 hours it evokes the emotions and feelings of fear, love, hope, desperation and happiness. It has everything you need for a movie to be names as a great example of Art - a masterpiece: mesmerising cinematography, great story, simple and exciting composition, universal problem, tears and laughs, life and death, youth and Viggo Mortensen. Viggo is such a great actor that he doesn't need Bafta or Oscars. He is the magic on screen. Maybe that is why it's always hard for academics to consider him as a best actor - you can easily forget that he IS an actor - for he doesn't act - he exists.

My choices for BAFTA - let's see tomorrow if I was right -

Best Film - AVATAR

Outstanding British Film - MOON

Outstanding Debut by British writer, director or producer - Duncan Jones - Moon

Best Director - Kathryn Bigelow - THE HURT LOCKER

Original screenplay - THE HURT LOCKER - Mark Boal

Adapted Screenplay - Up in the Air - Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner

Film Not in the English Languange - A PROPHET

Animated film - UP

Leading Actor - COLIN FIRTH

Leading Actress - MERYL STREEP

Supporting Actor - CHRISTOPH WALTZ


Cinematography - THE ROAD (!!!!!) yaya

Editing - DISTRICT 9

Orange Rising Star Award - Carey Mulligan

Monday, 25 January 2010

Film Battle: The Informant Vs. An Education

Don't ask me why exactly these two films, it's just happened that I watched them in one evening. The funny thing when you are watching two films the same day: it's much easier to tell, which film managed to engage you, make you laugh and which film you remembered next morning.

+ Matt Damon

Carey Mulligan +

funny, pathetic, annoying

naive, funny, sweet +

+ Satire, sad and not so funny towards the end

Light-hearted jokes, serious towards the end

Office locations, not so cool FBI agents

London glamorous locations, pretty young people +

Scott Bakula

Alfred Molina +

WTF I hate them all! Money first, prison second

Education first, don't be stupid +

So the winner is An Education