Moscow Travelblogue

On my last night (Sunday June 30), Seder-Masochism won the Prize of the Moscow Jewish Film Festival Selection Committee!
The previous Tuesday (June 25): rain in Chicago before leaving for Moscow…
…and rain in Moscow for several days.
On Friday I gave a talk at the American Center, part of the US Embassy.
The US Embassy is on the right.
Before my talk was a presentation of students who participated in a US program focused on environmentalism. I hated to break them up because they seemed to be intensely engaged with one another.
While the students did their thing, I got a tour of the American Center, which had a Maker Space.
My hotel, taken during a brief break in the rain. It was in the low 50’s Fahrenheit. Glad I checked the weather forecast before I packed; I brought waterproof boots and long-sleeved shirts.
On Saturday I took a big honkin’ walk to the Zvezda Theater where they were showing Seder-Masochism.
This side street was less than a mile from my hotel and had some nice greenery and old buildings that contrast with the modernism and brutalism that characterize the rest of the area.
A typical mix of old and new and lots of concrete in this huge city.
Street view.
Misogyny + Capitalism = places like this
So many huge and interesting buildings in Moscow.
The Zvezda cinema. I got there very early, so I had time to walk 2 miles further to the center of Moscow.
I passed this old church…
On my first visit to Moscow, in 1999 or 2000, the streets were torn up everywhere. On this visit, they were only torn up on my way to Red Square.
More beautiful and interesting gigantic Moscow buildings.
Almost at Red Square…
This was after 8pm on a cold overcast day that had been mostly raining. I shudder to imagine how crowded Red Square is when it’s sunny.
Obligatory selfie in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral.
The same cool old church I passed, on my way back to the theater.
Russian subtitles at the Zvezda cinema. It was a smallish screening room and it was happily packed with a very sweet crowd.
On Sunday, my last day in Moscow, the sun actually came out. Here’s some old and new glass architecture near my hotel. The big brutal building on the right is part of the 1980 Olympic complex.
Entrance to Ekaterina Park, also near my hotel.
Ekaterina Park had many of these retro ice cream carts.
Moscow ducks with unusual (to me) calico color patterns.
A photo op from behind.
I popped out of Ekaterina Park on another street to see this majestic Moscow building.
Behold social media creeping into the real world. This fecebook-style “like” is nicely juxtaposed by the toilet.
The other side of the “I <3 Moscow” photo op in Ekaterina Park.
A big brutal Olympic complex building from 1980 dominates the view from Ekaterina Park.
I don’t know what this Ekaterina Park feature once was — a fountain? a pool? a skating rink? — but it has seen better days.
Leaving Ekaterina Park
Just one Moscow Olympic building, a concrete brutalist behemoth among many.
It rained again after my Ekaterina Park walk, but then the sun came out again, allowing me to walk 3 miles to the MJFF’s closing night ceremony. This interesting old brick church was about half a mile from my hotel.
The streets in Moscow were really clean. Street cleaners like this one ran frequently.
Moscow is encircled by concentric ring roads. I tried to cross one here before realizing you have to use underground pedestrian tunnels.
I emerged from the pedestrian tunnel to see this gorgeous old train station. Unfortunately I was on the wrong side of the tracks with no way to continue to my destination, so I turned around and went back underground.
Ah, there we go, now I’m on the right side of the tracks and highway and oh my god the traffic. But I made it onto the bridge, which had a sidewalk except in a few places.
See? It’s not so bad once the sidewalk widens and a comforting traffic barrier fence appears.
Looking back the way I came.
The bridge afforded awesome views of this rail yard.
Communism meets Capitalism.
A typical view of my walk to the Kosmos cinema.
While I was taking an obligatory picture of this, a gregarious Moscow street lunatic was cheerfully yelling at me in Russian. I stood there taking more pictures until he walked away.
The Kosmos cinema, where the Moscow Jewish Film Festival had its closing night festivities.
Yay I got a PRIZE!! I seriously didn’t expect that. I was surprised and happy.
Here’s a picture of the people who did the work of the festival. Notice they’re mostly women (the official jury was mostly men). The feminist message of Seder-Masochism was well received.
We walked to dinner afterward, while the sun set and Moscow’s famous Tower lit up.
The next morning I was at the crowded and chaotic Moscow airport for an Aeroflot flight to Helsinki, followed by a much-delayed Finnair flight to Chicago and a long ride home. It was about 24 hours of bleary-eyed travel, but I’m glad I went. Thanks, MJFF!

Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

8 thoughts on “Moscow Travelblogue”

  1. Congratulations. I finally got a chance to see the movie for myself last weekend and I’m glad to see it getting some positive reviews. Thank you for making such a beautiful, thought provoking, and funny movie.

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