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Belarus-France cinema cooperation: Why did the word "Minsk" sound at the Cannes festival in 2015?

French filmmakers have made a good contribution to the publicity of Belarus. At the Cannes Film Festival, there was presented a film which scenes were filmed in Minsk. Alisa Dudareva has more.

National cinema prestige is not only the achievement of the domestic cinema industry. International cooperation primarily begins with the attractiveness of Belarusian cinema platforms.

Exterior of the National Art Museum, as well as the architecture of the city as a whole was marked by French cinema.

Minsk was repeatedly shown in an episode of "Three memories of my youth" by well-known French director Arnaud Desplechin.

The eminent filmmaker held a casting for the city based only on photos of his friends from the Belarusian capital.

Arnaud Desplechin, filmmaker (France):
The film is set during the Soviet era, the 1980s. I was simply looking for a suitable city that would convey this atmosphere using buildings and landscapes. And Minsk was a perfect match.

In 2015, at the 68th International Cannes Film Festival, Arno Delpechin's movie participated in one of the sections. Despite the fact that the program list did not include Belarusian directors, domestic filmmakers were able to shine on the French Riviera.

Pavel Latushko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the French Republic with concurrent accreditation in the Kingdom of Spain and the Portuguese Republic:
I liked that the word Minsk sounded constantly at the Cannes Film Festival. Thus foreigners found out about our capital. It is through these cinema projects and national cinema exhibitions that we are able to find new partners for joint initiatives.

Not only French actors contributed to the success of the film. Grisha Kheifets is studying economy. The 20-year-old guy was the list experienced Belarusian actor in the French film. But Grisha fit in perfectly with the idea the director wanted to convey.

Grigory Kheifets, BSEU student, amateur actor:
I have managed to watch the movie, I just returned from the Cannes Film Festival. And, in fact, it was very nice and unusual to constantly hear the word "Minsk" there.

In the film, a French cousin must pass to Grisha documents by which his character will be able to go abroad. The story about clandestine machinations is clearly different from the military theme, which is popular in Belarus.

But not only attractive movie sets played a major role in the French-Belarusian cinema cooperation.

Mr Delpechin spent about 150 million euros for the filming in Minsk, according to some reports.

Valery Dmitrochenko, producer at a film company (Minsk):
Artists, costume designers and make-up - this was all ours. The French worked together with Belarusians. Because, of course, French artists are not very aware of the Soviet Union of the 1980s.

As part of the Festival de Cannes in 2015, negotiations were held on further joint film productions. One of the projects is a four-part film about the legendary airmen of the "Normandy-Neman" regiment.

Belarusfilm's capacities allow producing up to 15 fiction films per year. The French, besides Russians, would like to tap into this potential.

Alexander Dormidontov, chief engineer of the National Film Studio BelarusFilm:
For over 100 years can the image be stored on film, but now modern technology requires that we convert images into digital format.

Thanks to the timely upgrade, Belarusfilm can now shoot any movie, including with multiple special effects.

But this requires multi-million dollar budgets.