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Russian Helmer Kirill Serebrennikov Sets Off ‘Tchaikovsky’s Wife’

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Kirill Serebrennikov, the iconoclastic Russian filmmaker behind Cannes competition titles “Petrov’s Flu” and “Leto,” is reteaming with French banner Charades on his next daring movie, “Tchaikovsky’s Wife.”

Serebrennikov, who is under a three-year travel ban, sheds light on the tumultuous relationship between Pyotr Tchaikovsky, the most famous Russian composer of all time, and his wife Antonina Miliukova in his new film.

Set in 19th century Russia, the movie portrays Miliukova, a beautiful and bright young woman who became obsessed with Tchaikovsky after listening to his music for the first time. The composer will finally accept their union to put an end to rumors of his homosexuality. Blaming her for his misfortunes and breakdowns, Tchaikovsky will try to get rid of his wife in every possible way. Miliukova, meanwhile, decides to endure and to do whatever it takes not to divorce him. Humiliated, disgraced and discarded, she slowly slips into madness.

Serebrennikov has partnered up again with Hype Films who produced his previous movies, “The Student,” “Leto” and “Petrov’s Flu.” Co-producers are Charades Productions, Logical Pictures (“Revenge,” “Pleasure”) and Bord Cadre Films (“Monos”).

Charades is also handling international sales on the project (pictured) and will introduce it to buyers with a promo at the European Film Market.

“We’re very excited about this new explosive film by Kirill Serebrennikov who is never afraid to take risks and be bold,” said Charades co-founder Yohann Comte. “In this movie, he delivers a multi-layered portrayal of a woman and shows us Pyotr Tchaïkovsky in a way we’ve never seen him.”

The film stars Odin Biron (“The Optimists: A Cuban Affair”), Elenev Nikita (“Moya bolshaya tayna”), Ekaterina Ermishina (“Stand by Me”) and Philipp Avdeev (“Chernobyl”).

The critically acclaimed director wasn’t able to attend the world premiere of “Petrov’s Flu” and “Leto” at Cannes due to his travel ban. He was sentenced in June 2020 to a three-year suspended prison sentence and issued a fine over a case of embezzlement, on what his supporters say are trumped-up charges.

Serebrennikov, who is also a celebrated theater director, was allowed to leave Russia and travel to Hamburg in Germany where he’ll direct the play “The Black Monk,” based on Anton Chekhov’s short story by the same name.

Other highlights on Charades’s EFM slate include Zachary Wigon’s “Sanctuary” with Margaret Qualley starring as a dominatrix opposite Christopher Abbott; and Carlota Pereda’s rural thriller “Piggy” which just world premiered at Sundance and earned rave reviews.

At the EFM, Charades will also kick off sales on Shô Miyake’s “Small, Slow But Steady” which is premiering in the Berlinale Encounters section. The company’s EFM slate also includes “Forever Young” (“Las amandiers”), a 1980’s-set film taking place at a prestigious theater school with an attractive cast including Nadia Tereszkiewicz (“Possessions”) and Louis Garrel (“An Officer and a Spy”).