MY LITTLE NIGHTTIME SECRET
Directed by: Natalya MESHCHANINOVA
Written by: Natalya MESHCHANINOVA
DOP: Artem Emelyanov
Produced by: Sergey Selyanov, Natalya Drozd
Production: CTB, Forest Fim
Cast: Taisia Kalinina, Stepan Devonin, Elena Plaksina
Runtime: 91 minutes
Word Premiere: 52nd International Film Festival in Rotterdam
Mira is fourteen. Her life is fine: she has a mother, a stepfather, a little sister, there are gifts for Christmas, and a cat. She has a girlfriend, and she is even allowed to party at her place the night of the New Year. But there is something wrong about Mira. One little nighttime secret.
Natalya MESHCHANINOVA (1982, Russia) is a director and screenwriter. She graduated from Kuban State University, where she specialised in television and film directing. She worked for a TV station in Krasnodar for a period of time. After her documentary debut, Herbarium (2007), she decided to move to Moscow to pursue her career in filmmaking further. Her feature debut, The Hope Factory, had its world premiere at IFFR in 2014. Since then, she has continued to make feature films. Core of the World (2018) won the Grand Prize at the Kinotavr Film Festival in Sochi. She was awarded a grant from Hubert Bals Fund for script and project development in 2021, and the result is her most recent film My Little Nighttime Secret (2023).
(selection) Herbarium (2007, doc), Good Intentions (2008, short doc), School (2010, TV series), The Hope Factory (2014), Another Year (2014), The Red Band Society (2015, TV series), Anna’s War (2018), Core of the World (2018), Shtorm/Storm (2019, TV series), My Mom’s Penguins (2021, TV series), Alyssa (2022, TV series), My Little Nighttime Secret (2023)
For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Making her return to IFFR (The Hope Factory, IFFR 2014), Natalya Meshchaninova’s Hubert Bals Fund-supported film My Little Nighttime Secret shows the blindness around a teenager torn between the need to be rescued and the impossibility of communicating. Bookending the film are just a few scenes in which Meshchaninova engineers a precise depiction of family dynamics: the glaring Christmas colours and decorations becoming the backdrop to an atmosphere that hints at quotidian power games and intimations of abuse. Mira’s quiet despair is fleetingly transformed into acts of intense, magical courage or of clamouring self-harm. The double bind effected by older, protective figures jumps from the home to the party: it is reflected in both Mira’s mean friendship with 16-year-old Lera and her experience of first love.
Meshchaninova poignantly conveys what it means to live with a terrible secret enclosed in your chest, dragged like a burden, endured in silence and shame: a great unsaid colouring every interaction, self-perception and hope about the other. The film presents a girl’s teenage years as an impossible test, with Mira longing for an escape into adulthood or a return to lost childhood.
– Cristina Álvarez López for International Film Festival in Rotterdam, 2023