Still picture of "Tesnota" film. Screenshot of French trailer

10 June 2017, 07:28

Critics and spectators differ in opinions about Balagov's "Tesnota"

In Sochi, within the "Kinotavr" Film Festival, the film "Tesnota" (Closeness) by Kantemir Balagov, a 26-year-old film director, a native of Nalchik, was screened for the first time. Initially, the hall was packed, but by the middle of the show, spectators began leaving. At the same time, the critics interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" welcomed the film with enthusiasm.

The excitement around the film is largely due to the fact that this May the "Tesnota" was awarded the prize of the international press at the second by importance contest programme "Special Viewpoint" at the Cannes Festival.

The film describes events in Nalchik in 1998. The heroine, Ila, is a girl from a Jewish family, which is under the pressure of patriarchal views of the Jewish community and the Caucasus as a whole. The situation is aggravated by the kidnapping of her brother and his bride. The family has to sell the business and seek help from the Jewish community to save the young people.

"The 'Kinotavr' is very important for me, because it is Russian audience here, and I am still a resident of the Russian   Federation. I saw that many spectators left, but still somebody stayed in the hall. I understand why they left: the scenes of the film are very heavy, but they were a must," said Kantemir Balagov.

The film includes chronicles by Chechen militants made during the Chechen War.

"I included the military chronicle, because I remember how we watched it in my youth. However, there are no political goals in my decision – I did it to emphasise the context of time and geography," Kantemir Balagov has stressed.

The film "Tesnota" was very warmly received by the professional community at the "Kinotavr", both by film critics and filmmakers.

"Not only that the main heroes are Jews, that is, they are strangers, but they also live in the Caucasian environment, which is very heavy for both Russians and Jews. It looks like it is possible to live there, but in fact, it is impossible. And this situation is absolutely brilliantly depicted. For me, this film is a miracle and a discovery," Alexander Shagin, a famous film critic, noted in his interview to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

Source: CK correspondent

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