Meet the Russians

The opening of the Russian Film Week in London

Russian Film Week is an annual film festival that takes place in London. You can gauge from its name that the festival is only one week long showcasing a selection of great Russian films. The festival starts with the opening party which you are not obliged to go to (including the closing party on the last day). If you are not a fan of champagne, red carpets, photographers and mingling then just come for the film afterwards. It’s a friendly atmosphere with a lot of Russian socialites and some non-Russian guests too. So, really, anyone is welcome.

I’ve attended this festival twice. And only this year (2018) I felt brave enough to go the actual opening. Red carpets and photographers sounds scary and clique. Instantly I  imagine being at the Golden Globes, Oscars or Baftas. I’ve never been, just thinking that it perhaps freaks out even the most renowned guests of the celebrity world. This year Russian Film Week took place at Cineworld in Leicester Square and it’s usually based pretty central.

As a true Russian lady, I spent a few hours pampering myself before the event. With the dress code being ‘red carpet glamour’, I had to make the effort to look glamorous without wearing a ball gown. My husband was happy to chaperone me as he is very interested in Russian language and culture. I find it quite flattering actually.

Once inside the cinema, we were promptly greeted by two ladies who spoke both English and Russian fluently. The red carpet wasn’t anything like I imagined. What’s more, there was no grand entrance with paparazzi flashing cameras at you and telling you on where to look and how to pose. The photo-on-the-red-carpet part was voluntary and civil. People queued up and waited for the photographers to invite them. We were lucky enough to get one too many pictures 🙂

We were ushered into the cinema screen where everyone was offered a glass of champagne. And here’s to the Russian Film Week!

I don’t like social events and find mingling rather awkward. Besides, there’s no such thing as mingling in Russia really. You can’t approach a stranger and start randomly speaking to them, unless they make eye contact and smile at you. Luckily, I had my husband to talk to. Like at any social event, being on your own is super awkward. Well, you just need to find a buddy who looks as lonely as you.

After an hour of socialising and learning lots of ‘new things’ about my husband, the film began. It was a Russian period drama called ‘The Story of an Appointment’. I am a huge fan of period drama and have spent many a Sunday binge-watching my favourite series. Coming across a good Russian period drama is a rare occurrence so I didn’t think twice and reserved tickets. Russian Film Week has its own website and a Facebook page where you can keep up to date with the latest events or book tickets.

I had high expectations for the film since the one we watched in 2017 was fantastic. And it actually exceeded my expectations this year. I hadn’t watched such a good period drama for a long time. It had humour, friendship, betrayal, happiness and sadness. The plot was built around the life of the famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. You should know him as the creator of the renowned  ‘War and Peace’.

All in all, I was pleased with the film and it was fun to attend the opening party too. And although I am never photogenic, the photographers did a great job at capturing this great moment. So don’t get put off by the name ‘Russian’ as those who speak English are welcome too. All films are geared up with English subtitles meaning you won’t miss out on all the good jokes and will be well aware of what’s going on.

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