Konstantin Khabensky - on the nomination of the film "Sobibor" for the "Oscar" and freedom in Russia
The Russian Oscar Committee put forward the military drama of Konstantin Khabensky "Sobibor" for the Oscar in the category "Best film in a foreign language."
In an interview with Ekaterina Kotrikadze on the channel Rtvi Khabensky told why he chose “Sobibor” for his directorial debut; how the Ministry of Culture of Russia influenced the work on the film; how foreign audiences perceive modern Russian culture; are there any chances of the film "Sobibor" to compete for the "Oscar" and about many other things.
Of course, I will ask the first question about the film “Sobibor”. What is he talking about? About the tragedy of the Jewish people or the feat of one person?
I would not share and would not put the accent somewhere stronger. It is composed of many facets. We can not say that he is only about this or only about this. I do not think that in films on a similar subject something should dominate.
Of course, the death camp is a death camp, and, naturally, we talk about people who are within one to two to five seconds or minutes from days of death. Physical. From destruction.
This is probably, as I suppose, a special state of a person who, at the subconscious level, feels the fragility of his life. Feels that everything can stop at any time. The people who were driven, gathered specifically in the camp Sobibor - these are people from Europe, from Russia, that is, many, many mentalities of one nation, let's call it that.
This is a film about the fragility of human life, this is a film about sudden, it is not clear where the arising love comes from under the given conditions and circumstances. Not at the right time, out of place. If we are talking about Pechersk, this is a film that in any circumstances, in my opinion, in any situation there is always at least one person who can make others believe that they are people too.
If we are talking about the feat of one person ... Although, the feat probably takes place to be assigned to many people who are out of fear, who are out of horror, who believe that this is possible, everyone has different motivations, but everyone went to one the side. It is very important. It seems to me that here it is somehow “dissected” and it will be wrong and dishonest to comb one by one comb.
Because the emotion is human, and this, I think, and I would like to consider and consider in the film from the point of view of the emotional component. It is this emotional explosion that raised people to a qualitatively new level, which, probably, contributed in one way or another to the accomplishment of this uprising, which at first glance, to be honest, seems fantastically unrealizable, impossible.
What you are telling is a huge number of different details and important things that must be observed and that must be thought of during filming, planning and editing. You as a director made your debut in this film. Why did you take this very difficult story? Why did they blow at the incredibly sensitive topic, so important, so painful for so many people around the world? You understood that if you do not hold out somewhere or, on the contrary, overdo it, it will be ...
Understood. He understood perfectly, and I will say very simply: I was offered to dream up on this subject. I was offered this story as a debut, and not any other.
And who suggested it?
Producers. Apparently, in my life some of the previous stages were about the same level when I was offered to take a new peak, which I had not dreamed of. I thought that this was probably another such challenge of fate, and no matter from whose mouth it comes. I thought, and everything that I knew, everything that I could and understood, and felt at that moment, I tried to invest everything in this movie.
Is there something personal for you in this story?
Not. There is no person. Maybe it's easier to shoot such topics. Because if I had a connection, I guess it might be a little disturbing for me.
So, as I still have a part of Jewish blood, so I have the right to argue on this topic, and sometimes even, maybe, quite tough enough to joke about the Jewish question. I have a right. I think everything was quite delicate in the film.
I will say it again, probably, nevertheless, the view not connected by family biography played more plus.
There is another interesting detail, it is that you are the director and the actor who plays the main role. I've always wondered how this happens. Here, you are playing in your own film. If you feel that you need advice or you do not fully understand whether you played a particular episode well or not, that is, how does it happen? Who do you consult with? I saw your conversation with Dud. Seriously, how does this assessment of your acting skills happen, if the director is you, in fact, you are?
Yes I understand. You know, to be honest, in this situation, in this film I didn’t spend much time on myself.
In what sense?
In the sense of working with an actor. The work of director Konstantin Khabensky with actor Konstantin Khabensky. I still gave more strength and attention to my colleagues.
Well, you did not rehearse at the mirror? This is how you, as a director, would appreciate this work, this episode, this is how I look, how much my face corresponds to the situation?
I did not do this in previous works either in movies or in theaters. No, not rehearsed. I looked at the monitor, of course, and if I thought that “yes, this is normal, we move on,” that means we moved on.
The main task I had as an actor in this film was not to spoil the movie. This is the main task. All other efforts and attention were given to colleagues.
How did your colleagues react to you as a director, the people who were with you once?
I do not want to seem so sure, but it seems to me that we all found a common language. With all. It seems to me that the simplest thing is when the director offers the actor specific tasks, maybe, sometimes unexpected, maybe they saw their characters a little differently, but they were reasonable and reasoned. I immediately found a response, and not a single person was on the court from my acting workshop, who would not have become infected with this story and this form of existence. Because the existence of this film, it was somewhat exaggerated.
In what sense?
In the sense of what we started with: a person who is in a situation of near-second physical destruction, his body cells work a little differently. He starts thinking a little differently, starts talking, starts to exist - this is a little bit different. I will not now formulate how. Because it was probably more understandable when I spoke with an actor. We looked at each other, and it was practically, maybe, even sometimes “dancing”, when I explained and at the same time, maybe, it was spinning like this. All means are good for making contact. And this contact was made.
Did you like being a director?
It's damn hard, but very interesting. I was very, very, very tired on the set. The quality of fatigue later, during installation, information and everything else, is a different quality, but it is the same. This is a great pleasure of something new, of some new school. Such a school of life.
You must have been prepared for the critics to say: “God, there was such a cool actor, where, why bother, what about directing?”. This happens often with many actors, especially here.
Of course I was ready. I see a lot of examples in front of me. I'm not saying that I became a director. I returned again and I continue to work quite remarkably in the profession that I have recorded in my diploma, “actor of theater and cinema”. Another thing is that I understood that there is only one way out - to take it off honestly, to tell an emotional story, maybe in some places "to break." The only thing that I understood was that I would shoot an actor's story, through the actors I would tell everything, through their capabilities.
You quote the "Schindler's List", as I understand it, in this movie, based on what I read.
I do not see anything wrong with that.
No, I also do not see anything wrong with that, but it is such a scale. This is a cult movie, this is a movie that we all watched, and we remember it and weep. Do you think you were able to do something comparable with your work? I understand that it would probably be wrong to compare it somehow. But this is a very difficult topic, I repeat. Here's how you were able to uncover the tragedy of the Holocaust and the death camps, is it worthy, for example, of the movie that you quote?
I'm not to judge. I can only say one thing: it was honest.
In your work, in the film "Sobibor", is there state funding?
Yes of course. The Ministry of Culture helped, of course.
Here, I, probably, will be now banal once again, for certain you were asked about it. The same Dud, for sure, I just did not have time to inspect. Here is the argument about whether there should be government funding in creative works, in movies, productions, and so on; which side are you on?
I'm on the side of the viewer. The viewer should receive different good stories from different genres. I'm on the side of the viewer. The viewer will always distinguish the order from the honest story. The viewer is always right. I'm on the side of the viewer. Whatever the fate of any film, which is financed by the Cinema Foundation or the Ministry of Culture, or it is financed by private investors and so on, I am on the side of the viewer. He should not know anything, he should see a good movie.
And the Ministry of Culture somehow takes part in the script, they read, what will you do? How does this process occur?
Are we talking about “Sobibor”?
Well, for example, "Sobibor". Yes.
For example, "Sobibor". Well, firstly, the Ministry of Culture always presents new projects, it all goes through the Ministry of Culture. I'm not from this workshop, to be honest, so I do not know how all this is done.
Well, they do not interfere in the creative process?
No one intervened in my work.
I ask, naturally, because the case of Cyril Serebrennikov brought a lot of doubts and disputes. Because some say: “Listen, we cannot work without state financing. Russia is a country where we cannot, unfortunately, do without the support of the state. ” Others say: “No, we must heroically refuse, seek other funding.” What do you think, is it possible to make great cultural cultural educational projects in Russia without state support?
Perhaps I can, I just did not come across. May be. Just did not recognize. I think you can. But on the other hand, all the taxes that we pay, which go back and forth, why should they not be used for large, good, serious projects related to the cinema, theater space, maybe some kind of experimental space? I see nothing wrong with that. Just maybe, the moment of politicization of this or that situation may be a little less somewhere. Although, it seems to me, everything is done fairly enough.
The story with Kirill Semenovich, of course, is very ambiguous. It is not clear which side to fight for this thing. Our whole community, acting, directorial, we all keep our fists, but we just don’t really understand ... We are waiting for now.
Are you a free man in Russia? Feeling like a free man?
I am in the illusion that I am a free man.
Well, you probably discussed with your colleagues in the acting workshop, who can grasp the fate of Cyril Serebrennikov? Can there be a continuation, or no such sensation?
You know, again, if we continue this topic, I am not very familiar with the materials. Just need to know. Many, many in interviews, including myself, can say: while making any festival, it is faster to make certain stages of promotion of the festival, especially when it is already five days, three days before the start of work, it is necessary to do some machinations. Have to. Without this in any way. Hulking machine. You have to make some combinations. They do everything.
Well, this "cash" is translated somewhere, paid ...
If you talk about this, then here, of course, you can approach each subject of culture with passion. If this is a question of finance. If this is a question of some other, then it needs to be voiced. Here is what I can say.
Who should voice it?
Those who claim. The accusing party.
They won't do it, obviously. What are you here in the USA, how do you feel the Russian actor from your audience? Here you meet with some people, talk to them. How do they perceive modern Russian culture? Do they have any idea, interest?
Honestly, I am not so much here in order to create some even vague picture of how Russian, Russian, whatever art is perceived.
You know, there is a very simple situation. When I was still a student at a technical college, I made a very simple conclusion: there is no socialist and capitalist chess, chess — they are chess. The same is meant and under any manifestations of art, creativity, creative expression. It is either there, and it is clear to any person, maybe, except for some tribe of cannibals somewhere, who have completely different views and principles.
Another art. I also speak about it. They are different. They therefore eat people because they want to be as good as they are. The world is now so small and lightning-fast: the door has creaked here - it’s already audible there. All things associated with the manifestations of creativity, especially emotional, they are clear to anyone. Open, I mean. A person who is not afraid to be open.
"Oscar". You have been nominated in the long list, "Sobibor" in the long list. Do you think those people who make decisions in Los Angeles will understand and make your directorial and actor's statement?
I really hope. Well, in principle, I have no doubt that whether it is an academician, whether it is a simple viewer - if you come to the cinema, if you watch it, and if you do it, you have to be an open person. You should be able to keep it in yourself, and this applies to people who are professionally involved in this. I also identify myself with this team, because we need not to overwhelm and interrupt this “umbilical cord”, which connects us with compassion, sensitivity, and non-indifference, with a huge amount of views of performances, cinema, conversations with colleagues.
This is the basis of our profession. We cannot go any further. If you cut off this "umbilical cord" or connection with these feelings, you are further mechanized in the profession. Everything. You yourself do not broadcast and can not accept these impulses. Therefore, I very much hope that the people who are engaged in this profession should keep this feeling in themselves, regardless of rank and honor. It seems to me that this film is intended for such people.
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