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Interview Irina Starshenbaum Leto


Interview: Irina Starshenbaum – Kirill Serebrennikov’s Leto | 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Interview: Irina Starshenbaum – Kirill Serebrennikov’s Leto | 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Two years after premiering an overtly political film in The Student (Un Certain Regard 2016), the gifted Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov returns to the Croisette with his first Competition film entry. A chaotically shaped ode to the underground Leningrad rock scene of the 1980s, Leto is a much more cheerful oeuvre than his debut film. With a strong visual representation of a God-fearing young boy whose fundamentalist beliefs threatens the society around him, this whimsical, solemn film would not have been less palpable if it weren’t for all-encompassing performances by the likes of Irina Starshenbaum; who takes on a real life charmer in Natasha and brings a great deal of effervescent energy to the character.

Not unlike Jafar Panahi, Serebrennikov had been detained by the Russian government and was banned from traveling to Cannes, but in his place, representing Leto, I had the chance to speak to Starshenbaum and found out more about how she viewed the character, working with Serebrennikov, and how she prepared herself for the role.

Amir Ganjavie, a Ph.D. in communication and culture, is a Toronto-based writer, cultural citric, festival director, community activist and filmmaker. Fascinated by the issue of alternative and utopian space in modern urban settings and cinema, Amir has published several articles on utopia and two books, one on utopia (Le rôle de la pensée utopique dans l’aménagement des villes de demain) and the other on walkable neighbourhoods (Pour une ville qui marche). He has recently co-edited two special volumes on Iranian cinema for film International and Asian Cinema and edited a Humanities of the Other: An essay collection on the Dardanne Brothers (in Persian). Aside from academia, he writes for MovieMaker, Filmint, Mubi, Senses of Cinema, Offscreen and Brightlight. Amir is very active in the community. He serves as the CEO of CineIran Festival and Phoenix Cultural Centre of Toronto. He is also the founding member of NaMaNa Cinema. He has recently directed/produced a long feature film in Canada, named Pendulum. His top 2 theatrical release for 2017: Ildikó Enyedi's On Body and Soul and Michel Hazanavicius's Redoubtable.

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