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Director of Maidan documentary Loznytsya said about his new movie

Director of Maidan documentary Loznytsya said about his new movie
Photo: Fotobank.ua

Over the first weekend in Ukraine Serhiy Loznytsya’s documentary film Maidan, released in theaters on July 24, has collected more than UAH 140,000 in box office. This is a good result for the film of national production and unprecedented box office proceeds for a documentary film. Moreover, the film was given a wide release - Maidan opened in 49 cinemas all over the country at the same time, which is a unique case for a Ukrainian documentary and for Loznytsya himself.

After he graduated from a mathematics department in university, Loznytsya started shooting documentaries: he made 15 short and feature films. International fame came to him after the first feature film titled My Happiness. The movie about truckers with a complex structure was chosen for the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010 for the first time in the history of contemporary Ukrainian cinema. The second feature film, based on Vasil Bykov’s In the Fog, was also presented at the Cannes Festival and won FIPRESCI – one of the most prestigious awards in cinema.

Loznytsya’s next film will be a historical picture about the tragedy in Babyn Yar. However, the director interrupted his work on the project to return to documentaries and made a film about events that took place on Kyiv’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti Square in November 2013–February 2014. The world premiere was in the parallel section at the Cannes Film Festival in May and in Ukraine the film was presented at the Odesa Film Festival in July. In a conversation with Capital Loznytsya talks about why he likes criticism of his works and the most interesting subjects for shooting.

- Should a documentalist be impersonal?

- Directors owe nothing to anyone, but even if I wanted to achieve some “fairness”, it is impossible by definition – see Einstein's theory of relativity.

- Hasn’t too little time passed since the events on the Maidan – was it not too soon to shoot a movie about them?

- I find it difficult to answer this question, because I have already made my movie. When I was working on the picture, I did not ask myself this question.

- Does involvement in the events about which a documentalist tells people help or hinder?

- Involvement in events usually interferes with the process. It is difficult to control emotions as they interfere with the vision of the state of affairs. I always try to keep my distance.

- People criticized Maidan more than your previous films and commented on “proper and better” ways to shoot such films. Is this due to the relevance of the subject or are there other reasons?

- It is hard for me to measure the amount of criticism regarding Maidan in comparison with reaction to my other films. All my films have caused stormy reactions – both strongly negative and very positive. I think it is wonderful. This means that films do not leave people indifferent. It is much worse when there is no reaction at all. Just like Picasso said: “No, painting is not interior decoration. It is an instrument of war for attack and defense against the enemy”. It is pointless to discuss proper ways to make films. If you know how to make movies you should make them. Discussion makes sense only in the artistic space. Only another film can be a counterargument for the movie.

- You edited Maidan when the annexation of Crimea happened and events in Ukraine turned even worse. Did it affect the process of editing?

- Events that followed the victory of the Maidan did not affect editing of the film. Events, which unfolded after February 2014, are a different story altogether.

- In a recent interview Kira Muratova said: “I loathe when people kill each other. At such a cost I do not care whether Ukraine is Europe or not”. What is your opinion of everything that has happened and what is happening?

- Unfortunately, over its whole history mankind has not found a way to resolve conflicts avoiding violence. No matter how hard people try to show authorities through peaceful protests that they are no longer in power, the authorities had neither wisdom nor understanding of the situation. It provoked violence. Nobody gives freedom for free. People have to fight for freedom. Alas, there is no alternative.

- Will there be a sequel to Maidan about the events that happened after those shown in the film?

- The topic of Maidan is closed for me. For now I see no possibility to shoot a sequel.

- What has more creative freedom for you – a documentary or a feature film?

- I like working in both genres. There cannot be more or less creative freedom. It is either there or not.

- Your first feature film was about the present, but with excursions into history, the second was completely historical. Babyn Yar is again based on the story of the past. Is this by accident or a certain pattern? What is more interesting for you – to shoot about the past or the present?

- For me it is more interesting to shoot about problems that exist here and now. But the roots of these problems go back deep in history. We are currently solving the problems raised by history a hundred years ago and those which have not been resolved to this day. That is why I look to the past which turns into our present.

- Is that why for the next movie you chose the subject of Babyn Yar?

- I had this film in mind for a long time. I was strongly impressed by Anatoliy Kuzentsov’s book Babi Yar, which I read when I still had no idea that I would become a director. As a child I lived close to the places where these terrible events took place. In the USSR the history of extermination of the Jews in the occupied territories was a taboo. It is surprising that over the last 20 years of relative freedom no one made any feature films on the subject.

- At what stage are you now in your work on the film?

- We had to suspend preparations for shooting last December because of the events in Ukraine. I hope I will have a chance to shoot Babyn Yar next summer.

- Does your success at festivals help find funding for your next projects? Did participation in the Cannes Film Festival affect your career?

- I think now I have more opportunities for funding than when I first started making films. Babyn Yar is a co-production of France, Germany and possibly Romania and I would really like Ukraine to take part in its financing as well.

- What is your perfect audience? For whom do you shoot?

- Kira Muratova once said: “It is most important that I like my picture”. I totally agree with that.

 

INFO

Director of documentary and feature films Serhiy Loznytsya was born in 1964 in Baranovichi, Belarus. In 1987 he graduated from the Kyiv Polytechnical Institute then worked at the Institute of Cybernetics and as a translator from Japanese. In 1997 he graduated from the Russian State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow. In 2001 he immigrated to Germany. Loznytsya made 15 documentaries (Blockade, Portrait, Landscape) and two feature films (My Happiness, In the Fog). He won numerous awards, including the prize for best director’s work at the Kinotavr (2010), the Grand Prix of the Federation Internationale de la Presse Cinematographique (FIPRESCI) at the 40th Molodist Film Festival (2010), the Grand Prix at the international Film Festival in Lodz (2011), and the FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes Film Festival (2012).

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Он Точный 13 August 2014, 05:14

А майдан 3.0 он снимать будет?
Укропы, создав майдан 2.0, смещали законно избранного Президента на деньги госдепа. Сместив, вместо одного олигарха, посадили себе на шею штук 10, затеяли гражданскую войну, потеряли Крым, обесценивают национальную валюту, рушат свою же экономику...Так кто выиграл? Кому нужен был этот майдан?

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