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New movie by “LenFilm”, crowds to see Serov’s paintings and “Exponat” by Leningrad band. Cultural St. Petersburg in 2016

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Throughout its history St. Petersburg has received many names. The Venice of the North, the cultural capital, the northern Palmyra. All these names are well and truly justified by the city on Neva. 2016 was named the year of the Russian cinema. And St. Petersburg hosted a record number of events. One of the landmarks of the year was the recent revival of the city’s oldest movie studio – LenFilm. Tatyana Bazhenova sums up the cultural achievements of the year

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The achievements of the movie industry for 2016 were summarized at the jubilee Cultural Forum. The country's largest event in the cultural sphere took place for the fifth time – 20,000 participants gathered in St. Petersburg. The Main Headquarters of the Hermitage and the ethnographic museum hosted discussions and talks on finding important answers to open questions. The international event resulted in more than 50 signed agreements.

Is art free from censorship, and are groups of people allowed to cancel exhibitions or abolish theater plays? These tough issues were particularly emotionally voiced by Konstantin Raikin at the convention of theatre workers. The director’s flamboyant speech, according to his colleagues, became a manifesto of sorts. He was supported by art workers from St. Petersburg, like the artistic director of the BDT Andrey Moguchiy. Not only freedom of art was discussed from the podium, but also inside cultural venues as well.

Suchopinions have been voiced by residents of St. Petersburg about the well-publicized exhibition at the Hermitage. The "Knight of despair- warrior of beauty" expo by Ian Fabr created a lot of resonance – a farcical display with stuffed animals does not fit in well with the classic interiors, according to a number of experts. The museum, however, did not succumb to provocations and did not shut down the exhibition. Worth noting though, that the exhibition did not see a large crowd of people, and particular interest to Fabr.

But a new trend was set in Moscow – kilometer-long lines to galleries, it seems, are now far more entertaining than exhibitions themselves. The exhibition of Valentin Serov’s paintings at the Tretyakovskaya gallery serves as a proof. It's unclear what attracted such a crowd – the burning desire to see the artist’s masterpieces, or the fact that the president visited the exhibition. In any case, the result was astonishing – half a million visitors.

It's not a coincidence that it was in 2016 that the Leningrad band released a music video called "exponat" – ridiculing the people who are not really interested in art. 

Only Ayvazovsky was able to catch up with Serov and even get ahead - 600,000 visitors. A similar expo opened in the Russian museum. There are lines of people there, although it's hard to call those gigantic. Well, the expo will be at the Northern Capital up until March 20, so it's early to draw conclusions.

The Russian painters had a heavy competition from foreigners this year – 35 paintings by Frida Kahlo were displayed at Faberge Museum. It is the first time that such a collection of the Mexican has been brought to Russia.

The art from St. Petersburg crossed all thinkable and unthinkable boundaries this year. As soon as gunfire died down in the Syrian city of Palmyra, musicians from the Mariisnkiy theater headed by Valeriy Gergiev came there with a concert.

Mikhail Piotrovskiy, director of State Hermitage: “Palmyra is part of our soul - that's why we've been talking about it so much.

And museum workers of St. Petersburg expressed willingness to resurrect the long lost gem – the ancient city has already been photographed in detail, archaeologists are preparing a blueprint. When war stops in Palmyra, the work could be transferred from Saint Petersburg to the Syrian city

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