Fortunately, the second half of the 1990s marked a new turning point in the Russian film world; motivated producers have finally appeared among cinephiles with sufficient capital. Some ancient themes of Russian art have resurfaced in the cinema: the question about the future of the great country in full transformation, the eschatological destiny of its people, the crisis and the search for moral values. Michalkov Končalovskij, who returned home after years of work in Hollywood, contributed to the dispute over the national future with Kuročka Rjaba (1994; Asja and the goose that lays the golden eggs), a Franco-Russian co-production, which the director has made by taking up the character of his 1966 film, Asino sčast′e to show how his country had changed after more than thirty years and to suggest, with sometimes dangerous theories, that liberalism and democracy in Russia are destined to fail as Marxism did in its time. Other directors on the crest of the wave such as Michalkov, Vadim Ju. Abdrašitov, author of P′esa dlja passžira (Pièce for a passenger) with which he obtained the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1995 and Vladimir I. Chotinenko, director of Musul′manin (1995, Il Muslim, prize-winning in 1996 at the Moscow Film Festival) and Strastnoj bul′var (1999, The avenue of passion, Fipresci prize in Moscow in the same year), appeared more concerned with asking questions about what to do than at building truly new cinematic perspectives. An image of Russia plagued by moral and spiritual crises emerged from many films of the 1990s, in which men who are unable to assume both individual and civil responsibilities move. In Chotinenko’s 1995 film a nerve is touched in the recent history of the former USSR, the return from the Afghan front of a Russian soldier who converted to Islam, which brings back from the war a message of peace, of tolerance between xenophobic and intolerant Russians, victims of the most unbridled consumerism, and who see in him nothing but a traitor. At the end of the nineties, the revival of entertainment cinema, especially comedy, also began, with well-packaged films such as, for example, Vsë budet chorošo (1995, Everything will go well) by Dmitrij Ch. lightly jokes about the aberrations of the new Russian society – alcoholism, crime, unemployment, prostitution, poverty – seeking in it the seed of a new solidarity that compensates for the harsh pessimism of auteur cinema. In the romantic comedy Moskovskie kanikuly (1995, Muscovite Holidays) by Alla I. Surikova, a young Italian arrives in a Moscow wounded by crime and decadence to bury her grandmother’s dog; he will end up falling in love with a handsome taxi driver and, after hilarious adventures, the two will leave together for Italy. The new millennium has opened with some significant films by well-established authors loved by both Russian and European audiences. Sokurov continued to reap success, presenting at the Cannes Film Festival, in 2001, a film about the last months of Lenin’s life, Telec (2000), known under the international title Taurus, which forms a singular diptych with the previous Moloch, in which the physical and psychic decay of another political figure of the 20th century, Hitler, was presented. Russia in 1922 is destroyed, tortured, famine and hunger cause millions of deaths, Lenin sees his health wane, while the triumvirate formed by Stalin, Zinov′ev and Kamenev isolates him more and more from the country, taking his place in power. The title of the film recalls the image of the Minotaur, at the same time monster and victim, cut off from the world, as Lenin had been before his death in 1924. And again Sokurov managed to win in 2003 the Fipresci Prize of international critics at the Cannes Film Festival for Otec i syn (Father and Son). But it is not only Sokurov’s contribution that indicates a certain revival of Russian cinema. To show it there are many films of great value released between 2000 and 2001, from Nežnyj vozrast (2000, The tender age) by Sergej A. Solov′ëv, in which the events of a teenager in the decade 1980-1990 are narrated, against the backdrop of the war in Chechnya, in the refined style and complex montage typical of the famous director. Or Vtorostepennye ljudi (2001, People of the Second Floor), by the great Muratova, a stylized thriller, winner of the first prize at the International Sochi Festival, or, again by the same author, Čechovskie motivy (2002, Chekhovian motifs), which obtained good – awards both at the Moscow Film Festival and at the NIKA prize; or Jady (2000, Veleni) by Karen G. Šachnazarov, a phantasmagoric tragicomedy about a betrayed husband who intends to eliminate his wife’s entire family. The young directors who emerged with perestroika are always very active: Lopušanskij shot Konec veka (2001, The end of the century), an analysis of the role of memory after the collapse of the USSR; Aleksei O. Balabanov has confirmed himself as one of the most loved directors by young Russian spectators by making Brat 2 (2000; The big brother), a follow-up to the previous well-known Brat (1997; Brother), blockbuster in 1997 and now a cult movie, starring by Sergej S. Bodrov Jr, who tragically passed away in 2002, who had won the NIKA prize for this performance. Lungin, too, confirming his imaginative vivacity and narrative ability, shot in co-production with France a new film, fresh, optimistic, relaxed, Svad′ba, also known by the title La nut (2000; The wedding), which it marks a new phase for the director with respect to the trend of denouncing the pessimism and pain of his previous cinema. 2000 was also the launch year of the poetic Luna papa (1999) by Tajik Bakhtiyor Khudoinazarov, an international co-production film that showed how lively and original the cinema of the remote Asian republics of the former USSR is. Interesting at the beginning of the 21st century. the beautiful films by Aleksandr E. Zel′-dovič, Moskva (2000, Moscow), based on a screenplay by Vladimir Sorokin, awarded in Venice, and by Andrei Zvyagincev, who won the Golden Lion in Venice with the debut feature Vozvraščenie (2003; The return). The first, which opens up a truly new perspective on the existential void of the nouveaux riches, which suddenly appeared on the scene of the catastrophic upheaval of the former USSR, stands out as the most intense, profound and original portrait of the collapse that accompanied the decline of socialism in Russia.