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© RIA Novosti. Ekaterina Chesnokova

Mikhalkov’s Citadel will represent Russia at the Oscars

by at 20/09/2011 17:40

Citadel, the second part of the sequel to Burnt by the Sun, directed by Nikita Mikhalkov, has been selected for the 2012 Oscar awards, Russian Oscar committee member Kirill Razlogov said on Tuesday.

The film, premiered in Russia in May, flopped at the box office and drew mostly negative reviews, so the nomination caused a lot of controversy, with many directors slamming the choice.

Other films the committee discussed were Elena by Andrei Zvyagintsev and Faust by Alexander Sokurov. The latter has just won a Golden Lion in Venice for best film.

‘Mikhalkov put his own film forward’

Vladimir Menshov, Oscar-winning director and chairman of the committee, told Echo Moskvy that Mikhalkov put his own film forward.

“He put his own film forward, which was a bit inappropriate. The year was rich [for film] – Zvyagintsev’s Elena, Loban’s Shapito-show, Smirnov’s A Woman Lived Once Upon a Time, and several other films that could have been selected,” Menshov, who voted for Elena, said.

He said the film that gathered “furious reviews” cannot represent Russia at such prestigious awards.

“Now I am asking what needs to be done to make the author recognise his defeat or at least lower his pride. Maybe he can sit down, think, and choose a different way.”

If Mikhalkov was to take his film off the list, it should be done by Oct. 1, when it is presented to the American Film Academy. In that case a new contender would have to be chosen urgently.

‘Strange choice’

Director Andrei Konchalovsky, Mikhalkov’s brother, said he does not support Citadel as an Oscar candidate, because “it is strange to send a film that is part of the massive Burnt by the Sun.”

He added that he quit the Oscar committee three years ago because it became “illegitimate” and that the committee “does not reflect the objective picture in the Russian cinema,” RIA Novosti reported.

Part one of Burnt by the Sun won Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and Cannes Film Festival Gran-Prix.

The first part of the sequel, Exodus, had the highest-ever budget for a Russian film ($55 million) and was also screened at Cannes, but it received negative reviews from critics both in Russia and abroad and took only $1.3 million in the first two weeks.

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