«Matthias & Maxime»: meet in Russia

Xavier Dolan's new film is screened in Moscow

Reading time 5 minutes

On 10 November, at Moscow’s main premiere and festival venue, the «October» cinema hosted an event to celebrate the release of Xavier Dolan’s eighth film in Russian cinemas.

In anticipation of the premiere
In anticipation of the premiere

What is so remarkable about «Matthias & Maxime»? When «The Death and Life of John F. Donovan» was released, many fans rebuked the director for being typical and «plastic», a departure from his unique, distinctive style (all the while the cast could boast such stellar names as Kit Harington and Natalie Portman). Indeed, Xavier himself later admitted in an interview with «Apartamento» magazine that he saw many flaws in it and was disappointed with the result.

«Matthias & Maxime» is a return to the personal, intimate and «chamber» aspects of Dolan’s work that those who have long followed his career appreciate. In it, he revisits his favorite themes. These include the characters’ troubled relationship with their families, their attempts to understand and accept themselves and, for the filmmaker, the crucial question of perceptions of homosexuality. This time, Xavier has also tackled the theme of friendship, which is central to «Matthias & Maxime»: it is through this that the characters are drawn.

Friendship... or something more?
Friendship… or something more?

«Matthias and Maxime» are at an age when they are still young, but not enough to be part of a generation that has abandoned labels in favor of freedom and independence. When I was graduating from high school, the guy who kissed the guy was «gay», the girl who kissed the girl was «straight». Now, thank God, notions of sexuality and gender have broadened compared to what they used to be, but that does not mean that there are no barriers in our minds that prevent us from accepting the new», – the director said.

The film is shot with Dolan’s trademark aestheticism, evident in every detail, the clothes and hairstyles of the characters or the interiors in which they meet for dinner at Maxime’s farewell party. A special role here is given to the musical accompaniment, a melodic and sensual soundtrack written by Canadian composer Jean-Michel Blais.

«Where did I get the confidence to become a filmmaker at eighteen? Nowhere. You just have to believe in your films and, in time, others will believe in them too. Now, I feel the critics have already recognized that I’m a director and not a teenager whose homework they have to check». – Xavier Dolan

After the screening in «October», Xavier got in touch with Russian fans via Skype. From the conversation with the director, they learned that the entire company of friends shown in the film consisted of Dolan’s buddies, as well as about his desire to dedicate «Matthias and Maxime» to four respected directors of recently released LGBT films (Eliza Hittman, Luca Guadagnino, Joel Edgerton and Francis Lee). Already at the very end of the conversation, Xavier delighted fans with a promise to come to Russia, so now we can hope for a face-to-face meeting with the Cannes triumphant.

Nice to see you, Xavier!
Nice to see you, Xavier!

Tourism as a State of mind

Report on the trekking marathon in november forest

Reading time 7 minutes

— Hey, guys, it’s time to go. The halt is over. Is everybody here? Hmm… Sasha… Where is he? Has anybody seen him recently? Well, the participant has gone let’s find him!

That was the beginning of “Medicine” part of “Noyabr’skiy marathon” , the contest organized by Hiking club of NRU HSE. Somewhere in Moscow region forests four girls and three boys searched for the fourth boy in the twilight. He hadn’t been seen since the beginning of the halt until 15 minutes later he was found at a spruce windfall. Sasha pretended that he was a sufferer with broken leg. We were to perform the first aid and carry him to the ambulance. Not in a serious way but as training. It was the challenge of “Medicine” part.

Firstly, we examined the “injured” person in the dusk, secondly, immobilized “broken bone” with trekking mats, ropes and sticks after dark. At the same time we were binding a stretcher. If a group is small and lights of lanterns are not pretty bright, the forest seems to be infinite and pitch-dark while people seem to be just small glow-worms that have to carry “injured”, into the civilisation. Where the civilisation was, everyone might have already forgotten because all trails couldn’t be seen.

You need a 30 metres long rope and at least 5 friends to make a good stretcher.
You need a 30 metres long rope and at least 5 friends to make a good stretcher

The darkness was close to making Sahsa actually injured. Having put mats and jackets on the stretcher, we laid Sahsa on it and fastened him. When we lifted the construction, one log cracked, therefore, we had to fix it and hold the load on the rope. Walking through spruce windfall, we saw that two trees are too close to one another to walk between. Despite that fact, we had to go there as it was impossible to walk around. That’s why a couple of metres Saha was carried sideways perpendicularly to the Earth with his left side what made him scream with protest.

“Medicine” was not the only part of the contest. In each of three days participants faced up to three or four challenges. There they practiced skills essential for hiking and trekking. As the organisers had found themselves in different situations within their experience, challenges varied a lot. The next one, “Byt”:

— Are you going to take the backpack till the morning?

— Of course.

— This backpack for the whole night?

— Yeah, for the whole night.

— Will you, indeed?

— Actually, don’t postpone, give it now.

In this challenge we had to imagine that our group made the camp on the rock ledge of a sheer mountain side and one of backpacks fell into abyss. No sooner had we unbound the stretcher from “Medicine”, we started the discussion who would be that one without gear at night. The discussion looked like this: we pulled matches. Well, at that moment my heart was in my mouth. I thought that I just couldn’t bear sleep without warm sleeping bag and a sweater as it was freezing… and pulled a short match. In the group report my emotions were described in this way, “Lisa was deprived of her possessions. Luckily, she didn’t carry any joint gear”.

Tourists are unaware of bed weather, they are aware of good gear
Tourists are unaware of bed weather, they are aware of good gear

Yeah, it was a luck because we didn’t lose the dinner consisted of bulgar and chicken fillet with sour cream or tents and axes. Night stay without them would have been much more tricky than without first aid and two bars of chocolate. Nevertheless, I still had to sleep without gear. In a windy and cold night it was scary. To solve this problem, we organized a brainstorm. As a result, all of us came to the conclusion that I should sleep with my friend in her large sleeping bag. Trekking unites, doesn’t it? Guys gave me warm clothes too. By the way, at the evening gathering at the fire I looked like a disco mirror ball as the special blanket in which I was wrapped reflected the light.

Hardships were waiting for the participants both at the challenge-parts and on the road. The next day when groups had to walk 30 km, according to the plan, all of them faced a life-long green fence. It was so long that “Petushki” team decided to go through the swamp in the darkness just not to walk around the fence. “Oi” team walked around the fence and figured out that three sides of it were approximately 3,5 km long. That way took them two hours… Our team “Schastlivyy sluchay [Happy occasion]” affirmed the name and found the hole in the fence. Behind tall metal sections was hidden a field. An ordinary field. Later we saw a road and lights of houses, though we were unable to understand what their habitants fenced. That is why the fence was named irrational in the reports.

"Petushki" repeatedly went across swamps. Difficult in daylight, such route is much more tricky at night
“Petushki” repeatedly went across swamps. Difficult in daylight, such route is much more tricky at night

“Noyabr’skiy marathon” was 60 km of roads and trails, fields and windfalls, heels and swamps. Three teams of beginners and advanced tourists. Three days of jokes and adventures, two nights of songs. One unforgettable competition.

“As a trickle of blood running down my leg”

Что чувствует участница #тихогопикета под прицелом тысячи глаз

Reading time 8 minutes

Sorry, this text was translated with Google machine. Mistakes and misunderstandings are possible!

This release with a poster against the decriminalization of domestic violence was not planned. I got to the meeting — so did a poster for #tehohoito. It was not terrible, it was a thrill and a sense of responsibility to society.

My poster against the decriminalization of domestic violence.

In the bus, people looked furtive, but I’m still nervous. I felt like I merged with the poster itself became a political statement. In the subway people were staring at me already open. There went the excitement, there was only interest — “hear” whether a poster?

the end of the day on the escalator, I caught up with a young man who offered to deal with domestic tyrants without involving the police. I disagreed with him, but I was pleased with his support.

I gathered laudatory comments from friends and relatives and encouraged colleagues to take part in #technicite. The day the poster was an inspiring experience.

Report about the day in the official group #tihovolya.
a Report about the day in the official group #tehohoito.

Silent scream

unlike conventional picket #thepike is an invitation to dialogue about social issues, politics, art. Anyone can participate — you need to come up with a poster, attach it in a conspicuous place and be ready to talk.

Participant #tehohoito Sasha AlexeevAlexander Alekseev

20 years

One of the first participants #of tehohoito, teacher gender club HSE, activist.

Many people need time to understand and accept some things. You never know what will end the conversation with a stranger. Someone is just too lazy to argue, and someone will take your position only a few months. So I don’t know, it turns out or not. First, hard, then quickly get used to. In my case, the negative contacts were very few. I wanted to give up only after the Internet reaction to the poster about menstruation.

a Poster about menstruation
Poster Sasha about menstruation

I Usually feel the support of others, and frustration passes quickly. Sometimes, I want to go into isolation for a suspended Mars. Activism is for me a way to productively use the negative feelings that I kindly supplying the world around us. Thanks to the activism I have become more open to people from the “outside”. Previously, it seemed that the dialogue outside the circle of my communication is impossible, and now I got rid of self-censorship.

Sasha's response to abuse in connection with the poster about menstruation
Sasha’s Post in response to insults in connection with the poster about menstruation.

a New beginning

Now #thepike is not the Union of three activists and a large community that continues to speak to people even without the Creator of the action. “My personal shares is possible,” commented Daria your care.

Poetry poster of the founder shares Darya Serenko
Poetical poster the founder shares Darya Serenko
Daria about leaving #tehohoito
Daria about leaving #tehohoito

the Most popular topics among the participants — discrimination and criticism of the government.

the Alexander lighthouse, the participant

Alexander's lighthouse member“I have long been inspired as #thepike and actionism in General. Thanks to credible sources of information I started to discover the horrifying facts. I was scared for others. The most memorable interaction with people. During, before and after the action. Someone thinks mad that someone supports, someone also decides to come up with a poster”.


Poster Alexandra
Poster Alexandra

Anna Babinska participant

“Doubt was, but I wasn’t. I know my district, we have people not too curious. To consider — Yes, to be exact, and to come and talk… No. So I’m not worried”.


Poster of Anna
Poster Anna

the Daria Bitter, party

Daria Bitter, party“there Were a lot of emotions, but they disappeared in a very strong sense of unease and discomfort. A man with a poster in a residential area was inappropriate. You look like you was without an important piece of clothing. Somehow, in the vicinity of his home was the worst, and on the way to the subway had to hide the poster from people.”


Poster Daria
Poster Daria

Hope, member

“a Couple of months I watched the action, was valued, struggled with internal barriers. The poster is still forced out of the cosy comfort zone. In August I took a marker and wrote his first poster. It was a thrill, but it was gone when I heard people discussing my picket. The outcome of the review early — don’t think for me the campaign will ever end.”


Posters of Hope
Posters of Hope

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