Karen Shakhnazarov on the air of the radio station “Komsomolskaya Pravda”
Photo: Ivan MAKEEV
“IN GILYAROVSKY, UNLIKE MODERN WRITERS, THERE IS NO HUMILITY”
– The film was shot simultaneously on the basis of documentaries by Vladimir Gilyarovsky and Conan Doyle’s story “The Sign of the Four”. How did you come up with the idea of crossing these works?
– Well, in general, this is a rather difficult question … I really like Gilyarovsky, I read everything, this is a very entertaining figure. But at the same time, he really wanted to shoot a detective story, he had never worked in this genre. Gilyarovsky in his stories has such a character – Raja, an Indian who is killed, but this does not find any continuation. And in The Sign of Four India is also mentioned… Well, it kind of coincided, and we wrote the script.
– But Gilyarovsky describes Khitrovka as hell on earth, an absolutely terrible place. And you have it clearer, brighter and almost joyful.
– The fact is that I shot a genre film, a light adventure, in some ways a romantic detective story, maybe even for family viewing. This is not a social drama. So, in my opinion, in Gilyarovsky, unlike modern Russian writers, there is no feeling of endless darkness. From your descriptions of Khitrovka, I do not have a feeling of hopelessness, all the same, there is some kind of inner light there. And this is a movie based on motives, we combined the texts of two authors and made our own version, as we wanted… The detective story has its own rules. You can’t end it with tragic music. The ending must be happy, evil must be punished. We have a character: a princess; she is from aristocrats, she speaks French well, but she ends up in Khitrovka. But at the end of Gilyarovsky, her lover beats her to death, she dies in the hospital. But this is for another movie!.. This cannot be done in a detective story.
Film director, screenwriter, producer, People’s Artist of the Russian Federation, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mosfilm Film Concern visited Komsomolskaya Pravda radio
Photo: Ivan MAKEEV
“THEY HAVE DRIVEN US TO ARTHOUSE”
– You mentioned modern Russia, some hopelessness…
– No, in modern Russia it is not impossible. I want to say that, unfortunately, for a part of our creative intelligentsia, this has turned into an absolutely gloomy and hopeless picture of the world. What we call obscenity. And I wanted to make a light film, which is very rare nowadays. There is a lot of cinema in Russia that moralizes, teaches something, and it is good if it teaches well, but there is little spectacularity. And I love the show. I also photograph art and rehearsal, I know how it is done: I set up the camera and let the hero walk in front of it for half an hour, say something, preferably in the dark and obscene. Then the critics will tell you: oh, how deep it is! This is how we have been educated in recent decades. And in that sense it will be necessary to rebuild. Now, under the conditions of the boycott of Hollywood, we will have to make entertainment films ourselves. And it’s nice that such large pictures like “Challenge” or “Cheburashka” appear. This kind of movie should be the main one. The public needs to rest. And not because I’m dumb… My late dad was an extraordinary person, the most intelligent, the thinnest, he knew not only “Eugene Onegin” by heart, but also Camões, the 16th century Portuguese poet. But in movies, he loved Big Waltz, Sun Valley Serenade, and Merry Fellows. He did not look for metaphysics in the cinema, he already had enough. He came to the cinema to relax, get some kind of load. He loved musicals and funny movies. I loved detectives. And I think that this attitude towards cinema should be respected. This does not mean that only cinema should be. But in the last thirty years, we have been driven into an art house.
By the way, it is no coincidence that during the Great Patriotic Comedy they filmed mainly: “Heavenly Slug”, “Restless Economy”, “At 6 pm after the war.” They understood what was needed. And American cinema during the war was all about entertainment. Although “Ivan the Terrible” was filmed during the war…
Karen Shakhnazarov talks about her new movie Khitrovka. The sign of four”
Photo: Ivan MAKEEV
– We recently interviewed your colleague Klim Shipenko, and he said that he was sorry that his film “Challenge” was not distributed abroad. Now there’s the Cannes Film Festival, where our films are simply not allowed. There is a cancel culture in relation to us, we can say that we are now culturally and economically disconnected from the West. We can handle this cancellation or maybe you can say here: and that’s great, guys, are we working?
– And “Correo” was removed from the “Kino Classic” program at the Venice Film Festival … Well, I somehow take it easy. It seems to me that the film “The Challenge” in another situation would have chances to win an Oscar. A worthy image, and a job of directing and acting. This picture is the apotheosis of the producer’s idea, and we must pay tribute to Konstantin Lvovich Ernst, who came up with all this. This image, taken in space, is such a scenario in cinema. Like “The arrival of the train.” But on the other hand, I don’t see the tragedy in this “cancellation” story. We must use what we have.
– By the way, the art critic’s question about the “Courier”, which seems to us a masterpiece: there is a theory that the hero of Dunaevsky ended up going to the army, ends up in Afghanistan and dies there. Did you post it or is it speculation?
– I don’t know. When you are filming, it cannot be said that you always put some secret meanings… You go to some scenes purely empirically. You understand: you have to do this. Why don’t you know But you think it’s good. Maybe it would be better if there was a happy ending in Courier, so that Ivan and Katya would still be together. I would add viewers. Although the picture has already sold fifty million tickets in the USSR …
Karen Shakhnazarov, CEO of Mosfilm Film Concern, visiting Komsomolski
Photo: Ivan MAKEEV
“WHAT IS AN OUTSTANDING FILM BECOMES CLEAR 20 YEARS AFTER THE PREMIERE”
– Do you think that the vulgar consumer society in Russia is already fading away? Is something coming up?
– It seems to me, to some extent, it is born. It seems to me that in general a new Russian nation is being formed. It stands on the shoulders of the Soviet nation, but still it is something else. After all, the concept of the nation is never constant, it is formed anew at certain moments. This is a very interesting process. It comes from below, the authorities are not aware of it in any way, and in general few people are aware of it. Maybe I’m not the only one who comes up with such thoughts… And it was the New World Order that stimulated this process. In my opinion, this will be our main achievement.
– Is Russian cinema in crisis now? Do you have real art?
– What is art, in twenty or thirty years it will be clear. When The Courier came out, the public really liked it, but the critics scolded me. In 1987, this picture was taken by the San Sebastian festival, almost guaranteeing the main prize, but it was transferred to the Moscow Film Festival. And then there was an idiotic installation – do not give prizes to Soviet paintings. The festival was great, Fellini took part in it, Robert De Niro was the president of the jury. Fellini got first prize, I got second. Well, I bragged … But that’s not the point, but the fact that I remember how it was perceived by Soviet critics. “How can you reward this image, why is it necessary?” Moreover, the tongues were already loosed there, perestroika was in full swing … And now you say to me: “Oh, “Courier” is a brilliant film!” Art is never really appreciated at the moment it appears. The score will come after a while. Therefore, I am not saying that now there is no Russian cinema at all … I think that there is definitely less of it than there was in the USSR. Because there is no ideology. The art is arranged in such a way that it appears alongside a powerful sociopolitical idea. Renaissance: Christianity appeared. It is empty. Russian icon painting on what has matured? Also about the idea of Christianity, about the idea of Orthodoxy. Pushkin: the rise of Russia as an empire. The imperial idea, that’s what was behind the appearance of the great Russian classics of the 19th century: Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy. This is not to say that they wrote about the empire, but the very idea of imperial Russia, which came with Peter I, stimulated the rise of a galaxy of great artists. The Soviet idea is the same, a powerful communist idea. Now there is no idea. But I am not pessimistic in this sense. It just takes time. For a person, this, as they say, is a moment, but for a country…
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