A Pain in the Ass

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Writer: Francis Veber
Starring: Ralf Milan, François Pignon
Music: Jean-Michel Bernard
Director: Francis Veber

Two adjoining hotel rooms. In one, there's a killer called Ralph Milan. In the other, a suicidal man called François Pignon. Pignon has met with disappointment in love. Milan has to meet a man he's going to kill. Between the two rooms: a communicating door. And when it opens, Ralph, the perfectly oiled killing machine, sees the enormous grain of sand that François Pignon is coming straight at him. Pignon, who wholeheartedly deserves, without any argument, the title of World Champion Pain in the Ass.

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A Journey of Dmitry Shostakovich

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Voices: George Watts, Helga Landauer
Script: Oksana Dvornichenko, Helga Landauer
Producers: Darya Zhuk, Oksana Dvornichenko
Directed by: Oksana Dvornichenko, Helga Landauer

Shostakovich, the greatest composer of the 20th century, remains one of its biggest mysteries. The nine chapters of the film are framed by nine days of the last round-trip journey of the composer's life: a trip on a Soviet ocean liner to the United States. The film is narrated primarily in words of Shostakovich's letters and diaries, which sharply contrast with the propaganda movies shown on board the ship, as the twentieth century itself weaves myth and reality. Never-before-seen archival fragments of the composer's life - newsreel footage, photographs, letters, and personal memoirs - provide a unique perspective on issues of the artist versus the state, and truth versus survival. In contrasting official truth with personal truth, the film offers insight into the mystery of how Shostakovich was able to penetrate, through his music, the ironclad curtain and deeply affect Western audiences.

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