In the old days, aesthetics evolved for centuries or decades, and last summer it was modernized, at most, in a month. Distant reality has pushed the physical one aside, dictating its everyday life and style rules pretty much to the whole society. The selection process for our competitive program began a year ago – and finished already in the confusion of pandemic and quarantines. The result is the program that offers a poignant dialogue of stories, which unfold in the worlds that have forever lost their friendliness: in the very physical reality and in virtual space. The "mirror world" now dictates the rules. But nostalgia is with the material world – one without masks, with hugs and other Shakespeare drama. The more valuable are the documents of human existence that the competition program offers.

Path is shown to everyone - online or offline. Now, there is an American film Jawline (Lisa Mandelup) – here a stream of phone messages creates an endless soundtrack that embellishes the everyday life of the characters. Sing Me a Song by Thomas Balmes – a monastery in Bhutan discovers the Internet and the young monk's doubts about the Universe are becoming global as the Net itself. But here's what is interesting – having already lined up our program, we realized how much nostalgia there is in it for life off the base, for the "old" way of being without warnings and website pre-orders. "Our dungy earth alike feeds beast as man. The nobleness of life is to do this..."

You will also feel that nostalgia while watching Love Child by Danish Eva Mulvad - a report about an Iranian couple forced to flee with their four-year-old son from a country where love challenge and adultery lead straight to the death penalty. It is also there in the decadent tragicomic ordeal of Baron Ronald Reisinger of Scotland on a tourist ship – the Dutch King of the Cruise (Sophie Dros). As well as in the crafty lessons of seduction in School of Seduction by Alina Rudnitskaya. Or in the melodramatic excitement of Bitter Love by the Pole Jerzy Sladkowski.

There is some logic in the fact that this is perhaps the least politicized program in recent years – it is an obvious response to the agitation and confusion of people. Unfortunately, political manoeuvring certainly means too much but it is steadily becoming old-fashioned. The waves of public sentiment are roaring in oceanic fashion – but their cinematic portrait shows us that society is now more than ever a collection of individuals. Unpredictable ones. They must be served an upper hand. Unpredictable ones - no matter if they are off- or online. They must be served an upper hand.

Marina Drozdova
Travel was officially allowed in Russian Flahertiana 2020. At least domestically. Now we go to a city near Moscow to teach children tolerance, then to Peru, to a shaman treating cancer, then to feel the pain of young hungry Ural comedians.

The program also includes the classic road movie "Rodina Trip" (Dmitry Vologdin) – for the first time in 30 years, Uncle Sasha left his remote village and went straight to the FIFA World Cup. And beautiful southern landscapes – animator Alexandra leaves the Ural cold for Cyprus in "Dead Season" (Natalia Savras). For her, this is an escape from her experiences but you cannot escape from yourself, no matter how hard the heroes try.

It seems that directors more than before are looking at the life of "business people", those who are still engaged in manual labor. For example, this is the look of Yevgeny Grigoriev's film "Handmade". It contains six stories filmed by different documentary filmmakers: about a farmer with Western habits and a large Russian family, an anesthesiologist priest, a fisherman and other craftsmen. The man with the camera asks them directly: "What is the main thing in your life?" But at best, the only answer to this is: "In the sense?"

Both heroes and directors are busy looking for meaning. This other inner journey is eternal. And when the meaning seems to be found, it turns out that life treacherously does not want to adjust to it. Even if you really want to believe. A stunning and lively example is the film "Estoy Feliz" (Anastasia Korkia, Lyudmila Nekrasova): the shaman "drove away" the heroine's cancer, but no matter how strongly she felt "inner health," the doctors have their own opinion. In the room of a young teacher from the film "Hey! Teachers!" (Yulia Vishnevetskaya) there are motivating notes with the values of humanism. But no matter how much she wants a real dialogue, in the classroom children will sense moralizm and ask: "Are you the most righteous one?" Dasha's trip from "To See Peter" (Kapitolina Dolgikh) will be her first and last, no matter how much her family and thousands of people who have helped raise money for the trip may believe in good.

Does it mean that it is not enough to believe the best? No one can give an exact answer, besides, didacticism is not about Flahertiana cinema at all. But what these films confirm once and again is that reality always has its own director.

Anastasia Kozhevnikova
First you cry, then you laugh

The youngest and most rapidly developing Flahertiana program is a student competition. Blitz with the ideologist and curator of the student competition Olga Averkieva. We ask briefly, Olya doesn't necessarily answer so.

– How did student competition appear?
– When I was a student of Pavel Pechenkin's workshop at the Perm Institute of Culture, I, of course, attended Flahertiana. But only as a spectator - there was no opportunity for students to participate. It was a shame! Documentary filmmakers arrived, we attended lectures, but it is one thing to talk to your masters and completely another - to your colleagues.

When I graduated and started teaching myself, I wanted to give our students an opportunity to communicate with their own, young colleagues from capital universities, other cities. Because such communication with your kind, in fact, gives birth to something of your own, something new and interesting. At the end, we made a cool thing that we could never have dreamt about. The competition became a unity place for Russian students.
– Money! Why is there free entrance to the screenings?
– Screenings are free because it is important for the students that their films are seen (as it is for any director). But the most important thing is that for many of them this is the first rendezvous with the audience. And it is great when the auditorium is full. The second reason is that spectators of the student competition are often students themselves. I was there and I understand that not everybody has, say, 100 rubles for a ticket. Especially, when you want to see the whole competition and it becomes a much bigger sum of money. Generally, free entrance allows to attract an audience and give youth a chance to meet and talk to each other in one space.
– What would be one word to describe this year's student program?
– If I have to pick one - it is diversity. In recent years we, indeed, had some "theme of the year". I think this year we have a program of many contrasts. From immigrants from Nigeria to films about death. There are films about inner self searches, ones young directors specifically like. For example, there is a cool film Lenchik about a girl adopted while very young by Americans, and she returns to Russia to find her biological family. There are true comedies where you want to laugh. There are movies where you cry at the end. And there are films where you first laugh and then cry. Surprisingly, there are no films about the coronavirus pandemic, though we were ready for them.
– What is your dream as the competition's curator?
– I first dreamt of student competition to become international. Some time after, I understood it wouldn't be right. Because we will be bringing foreign films and only few Russian students-directors who will be able to make it to the program will see them - after all, so far foreign student cinema beats the national one in quality.

If competition will become a contest of foreign films, then true, its status will be higher, but less students from capital unis and schools will come, there will not be that atmosphere of Russian get-together, for which we invented the whole thing. In a perfect world, we would have a separate international student competition and a separate national. But this, probably, means a new festival!

I would also like it very much to have more Perm films in the program. Of course, it is not about the "registration address" but it would be great to see at least 2-3 local films of high quality every year. That is my dream!