You are currently viewing “Let’s make a movie, we have nothing else left.”  Zvyagintsev’s first interview after a serious illness is about the war, censorship and the return to life.  Key Quotes

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The guest of the new issue of Radio Dolin is director Andrey Zvyagintsev. This is the first interview of the filmmaker after a long illness. Meduza briefly retells this conversation in a few quotes.

Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev has been going through a difficult rehabilitation for almost a year after the coronavirus, a month and a half artificial coma and the ensuing polyneuropathy. In an interview, he talks about how this experience and the state on the verge of life and death influenced his worldview and relationships with loved ones.

Zvyagintsev states that he has always been against the war. The message of his films, in particular, “Helena” and “Leviathan”, in his opinion, remained unheard – many Russians still see the main opponent not in the state, but in imaginary “enemies”. Zvyagintsev believed that he was addressing the “little man” in order to speak the same language with him, but in the end it turned out that this man “only needs a TV.”

The war in Ukraine, according to the director, is a consequence of the “civil war” that has been going on in Russia in recent years.

All that is happening is a “civil war” simply forced into foreign territory. We, as conductors, are prolonging this war. We must stop this war within ourselves.

Culture should not be confused and confused with propaganda, Zvyagintsev believes. And a culture that has always been in opposition to authority will always find a way to talk about the important.

Before his illness, Zvyagintsev began work on a new film. Without the ability to get up and move around, he cannot directly participate in the preparation of filming, such as choosing actors or locations. Colleagues sent him photos of filming locations while he was in the hospital.

I just sat and lamented that I couldn’t [походить] over these spaces. And you must definitely touch it all, see how the walls look. In general, all this must be tested for strength with your own hands.

There was self-censorship in Russian cinema even before the war, says the director. But now it is especially brightly visible.

Just say to yourself bravely, “I can talk.” Here is the slogan “I can speak”, this phrase from the “Mirror” [Тарковского] memorable, she inspired me. Not this phrase itself, but in general the feeling of such hyperboreanism or some kind of chivalry, when you say to yourself: “Why are you smoking the sky then if you can’t say what you think is right to say? Then why is all this necessary?

Now Zvyagintsev is waiting for the rehabilitation to end, he will be able to walk again and return to work. Although he is forced to stay in Germany, he is not going to leave Russia forever.

We will make a movie, we have nothing else left. I don’t know where I’ll be in six months. I have no decision on where I will live. But I don’t want to leave my house.

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