Fyodor Bondarchuk: “I Won’t Be Surprised If Movies Shot By Bots Appear”

Fyodor Bondarchuk: “I Won’t Be Surprised If Movies Shot By Bots Appear”
Fyodor Bondarchuk: “I Won’t Be Surprised If Movies Shot By Bots Appear”

Video: Fyodor Bondarchuk: “I Won’t Be Surprised If Movies Shot By Bots Appear”

Video: Fyodor Bondarchuk: “I Won’t Be Surprised If Movies Shot By Bots Appear”
Video: Netflix’s First Holiday Film Made By Bots | Netflix Is A Joke 2023, March

The outgoing decade has marked an almost vertical takeoff for Fyodor Bondarchuk. He finally established himself as almost the only real Russian movie star - in the Hollywood sense. His name in the credits or his face on the poster is a guarantee, if not a frenzied box office, then at least increased interest. In the director's incarnation, Bondarchuk swung at the creation of no less than his own cinematic universe. This new territory was opened by the picture "Attraction", which became a box-office record holder and proved that Chertanovo is very serious (according to distributors, in the south of Moscow, a film about the visit of aliens was especially popular). On January 1, The Invasion will be released - the second film of his author's universe, which will allow the viewer to expand their ideas about this wonderful new world. Besides,quite recently Fyodor Bondarchuk shot his first TV series called "Psycho", in which the main role was played by another hero of Russian culture, director Konstantin Bogomolov. Simply put, it is difficult to find a person in Russian cinema who would be better able to take stock of the decade, both personal and global.

- Now is the end of the decade, everyone is summing up the results. Do you somehow feel the end of an era, the solemnity of the moment?

- Is it solemnity? Is it fear of a new decade, interest in it, confusion? In my case, this is probably interest. The world is changing very quickly before our eyes.

- Do you remember what Russian cinema was like ten years ago? What is it like now?

- Ten years ago - it turns out what year? 2009? 2009 is such a heyday for the new Russian film industry. Everything is complicated, everyone is fascinated by the viewer's first successes, let me remind you that there was practically no filmmaking for ten years before. For me, the beginning of a new Russian film industry and, of course, distribution - this is Vladimir Khotinenko's film "72 meters" in 2004. It was shown on screens - until that moment, there was really nowhere to even see the movie. I remember very well the advertisement on Channel One: "We were watched by 700 thousand people." It was just an amazing feeling. Then came Turkish Gambit, 9th Rota, Dozory - a 30% share of Russian cinema in the general box office. Everyone was fascinated, they said that now we will try to return the cinema to the screens, and the viewer to the cinema.

- Can you somehow compare with what is happening now? What happened in ten years?

- A lot has happened, actually. It is important for me that new names have appeared - among directors in the first place. I'm talking about Kantemir Balagov, and about the recent success at Kinotavr of debutant Boris Akopov with “Byk”, this is still a completely new generation. On the other hand, there have appeared companies that can operate at a global level in the technological sense, there are not many of them, but they exist. I am very proud to intersect with them in my work. Well, new sites and digital platforms have appeared. You don't need a distributor, you don't need, in principle, a producer. The countdown of the decade, as it seems to me, should be dated from the day when Zhora Kryzhovnikov posted this "short man" on YouTube (a short film - "RBC Style") …

Photo: Olga Tuponogova-Volkova
Photo: Olga Tuponogova-Volkova

© Olga Tuponogova-Volkova

“Curse, right?

“The Curse, of course. Everyone started talking about the actor Tribuntsev, and they started talking about the director. In a second, they became incredibly in demand. Everyone had a fantastic opportunity, bypassing intermediaries - producers, distributors, TV channels - to declare themselves. I remember this morning when I turned on my phone and I had everything in YouTube links. This was a new stage in the life and development of cinema, in relations with the audience. In addition, over these ten years, film has gone, and new professions and directions have appeared in the industry.

- Are you sorry that the tape is gone?

- It's a pity. I remember very well how, in preparation for Stalingrad, I saw the first tests of the image and realized that we would shoot digital and right now the moment of parting with the film is coming, it was sad.

- But Tarantino nevertheless continues to shoot on film.

- If I had the opportunity - of course, I would shoot on film. This is a completely different organization. Now you turn on the camera and work with the actor - as long as the memory card is enough for you. Still, the film organizes in a different way, this is a completely different space, a different distribution - I am now judging from an actor's point of view. Here we can talk for two or three hours, and then we will edit for five minutes, the material is definitely enough. Alexander Nikolaevich Sokurov told how he wanted to shoot the entire film "Russian Ark" in one shot, but the film did not allow this, then he came up with a technology: during his trip to the Hermitage, an assistant with a large digital recorder walked behind the operator, which made it possible to shoot one uninterrupted frame.

I remember the times when you counted this precious film: for actors 1: 3, that is, you only have three takes for one shot, for children and animals a little more. This phrase - "there is not enough film" - let's work in a different way, or I will change the nature of the drama. Today, the most important thing has changed: almost everyone has the opportunity to film and show anything: a documentary film, a blog, a video clip, a cartoon. Any - I don't like that word, but - content.

- And it's easier for artists to shoot samples.

- Yes. When the casting directors are sent selfie videos, it seems like a small, but also a change.

- By the way, how do you feel about such tests?

- I'm somehow embarrassed. Earlier in the auditions there was respect for the artists: they came to the studio, worked … Now, in the preparatory period of Invasion, I watched hundreds of artists from 15 to 25 years old - there is no time for that, but I want to see all the faces, not to miss them. By the way, I myself have also been in such a situation. I repeat: there is an opportunity to freely declare about yourself - everything depends on you there.

Photo: Olga Tuponogova-Volkova
Photo: Olga Tuponogova-Volkova

© Olga Tuponogova-Volkova

- My colleagues and I regularly say that the industry is working - a lot of Russian cinema comes out. But at the same time, there are many failures, films often earn poorly, the audience does not go. What is the reason for this, what does the viewer lack in Russian cinema?

- Drama, script in the first place. It seems to me that they have learned to shoot long ago. They just take topics that are of no interest to anyone. This is on the one hand, on the other - films are being made that simply should not be shown in cinemas. There is a place for them on television, on the phone, on the same platforms, this is a completely different kind of conversation with the audience. Today, the viewer mostly comes to the cinema for a visual attraction, and it is a great achievement if the film has artistic expression and complex characters. However, the world is changing, and "Joker" has proven it among other things.

- I just wanted to ask about him, there is really no visual attraction there.

- But before that, the DC universe was invented, there were many stages and films - remember the great Joker-Nicholson. This is a completely different genre, a different Gotham City, in general, everything is different. It seems to me that Christopher Nolan in The Dark Knight rebooted this genre for the first time, invented a new stage in the development of comics, and Joker became its apotheosis. This is a big drama about our same complexes, illnesses, traumas, parents, about society, the system in which we live - all this resonates in each of us. But initially it is a comic character.

- Do you think people go to "Joker" because of the trust in the DC universe, or is it for some other reason?

- They go because they see this material and it intrigues them incredibly. They feel something very familiar and at the same time new - something that resonates in their hearts, something that they face every day. This world, this Gotham - like this is not New York or Moscow, but it is so close, so understandable, you directly feel it, you know. And of course, Joaquin Phoenix as an artist is pure magnetism.

“Yeah, Nolan came up with that too. His Gotham became Chicago, and now has moved to New York.

- Yes Yes. “This is a revolution,” screams Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight. As I said, this was also the beginning of a new period in the history of cinema. Terrorism, explosions, anarchy, sick people with machine guns in schools, a secret Chinese army of digital hackers … But okay, this is already from another movie, from the series "Mr. Robot". (Laughs.)

- Now we will finish with the comics and move on to you, but I can't help but ask you about the performance of Coppola and Scorsese and their words that risk has gone from modern cinema and Marvel is killing cinema. What do you think about it?

- I don't quite agree. But if you take the total mass of movie comics, then this world is really quite plastic. In principle, I would not be surprised if after some time there will be films prepared, filmed and edited by bots. The Avid program already has a script: you upload the script, and the program issues the first draft editing. So far pretty bad, but … Having heroes or the universe, making cartoons or serials based on comics without a man - I think this will soon become a fait accompli. Here I am on the side of Coppola and Scorsese. But we just talked about great paintings, and it seems to me that this is all … It's just that their conclusions and judgments were made after a certain stage, and they did not appreciate what is happening here and now and what will happen tomorrow. Pearls appear in this huge variety of plastic pictures. In a way, this is similar to the situation with Russian cinema, by the way. There are many films that simply do not need to be shown in the cinema: the desire for a large audience can be realized through Internet platforms. And it often happens that it is better not to show anyone at all! (Laughs.)

- Still, it is believed that you will earn less on the Internet.

- Yes, there is still little monetization on the Web. But here, too, everything changes, and for once we are not very late. It's very interesting - I also shot my first series.

Photo: Olga Tuponogova-Volkova
Photo: Olga Tuponogova-Volkova

© Olga Tuponogova-Volkova

- Let's get back to talking about the MCU, because you have a second film coming out in your own MCU. How risky was it?

- Everything is risky in Russia. You may not be able to guess how we ended up with Inhabited Island: we lost $ 8 million in one day, known as Black Monday. I'm still worried, worried about cinema - nothing has changed since my debut. Then I was told that a war drama in a movie is unreal, no one will go. Then they said: girls invite boys to go to the cinemas and try to argue with her, otherwise your date will not work. All this, too, passed and discussed for a long time - will or will not go to the "9th company". Further in IMAX 3D military drama on a sacred theme for all our people - about the Great Patriotic War, with a huge amount of computer graphics. "Yes, you made a game!" But the first line in the Russian box office - I won. Then you see that they are following in your footsteps. See the image that was the first to come up withwhen you were criticized for being a plastic game. But I somehow found a language in which to speak, first of all, with a young audience. The universe of "Attraction" - that was also very scary. All the time it seemed that we came up with something very original, and then - that we unconsciously copied and had to redo it. You are ready to work with the actors on the set, but you need to redo everything and achieve originality.

- I remember you told me before the "Invasion" about how you invented this world …

- Yes, I came up with it, and then I watched a short episode from "Love, Death and Robots" (animated mini-series Netflix. - "RBC Style") and saw almost the same alien ship. This was my original solution that has already been implemented. It had both texture and texture, it was already inlaid in space. I had to urgently redo everything.

- Have you changed it?

- I redid it, it still seems to work. Both the sound design and the visuals are a long journey, very, very difficult and scary. Of course, Chertanovo helped the "attraction". Don't be embellished, I told myself. The sky is gray, the clouds - so this is how we shoot.

- Normal Russian sky.

- Yes, that's it. This is not the day after tomorrow, this is today, so there is no need to redo anything, paint over and specially dress the actors beautifully. Everything was built on this, and I treasured this effect of the collision of aliens with the world familiar to us. In the process of working on "Attraction" we already came up with a lot of things, so we went ahead and made a new film.

- The universe is always a story about different characters. Do you have something like that in your plans?

- In general, in Invasion, all the heroes and their lines have changed a lot. First of all, this concerns Alexander Petrov, because during this time he played everything: he was Pushkin, a mosquito and a hawk, he was a lake and a football player. He is an artist of a huge range …

- He recently played the phone.

- Yes, the phone has already played, and now it is working on the wire. (Laughs.) And I am sure: this will be the most convincing wire, I will worry and connect to this wire like no other. I will cry, cry and laugh from this wire performed by Alexander Petrov, empathize with him. Seriously though, I really value what Sasha did and the fact that he agreed to change so much. Another role of Oleg Evgenievich Menshikov became the main one not only in terms of volume. He talks a lot, not only commands: "Left flank, right flank, from bottom to top, and now from top to bottom."

- "Defend the gate!"

- "And now we defend the left gate!" No, he and his daughter are talking about life, about death.

- And a solo film about one of the heroes - for example, the hero of Oleg Evgenievich …

- Yes, you wait!

- Well, have you thought about it?

- I thought, but it's too early.

Photo: Olga Tuponogova-Volkova
Photo: Olga Tuponogova-Volkova

© Olga Tuponogova-Volkova

- You very laconically at one time formulated the idea of "Attraction" as a film about the acceptance of the Other, about the collision with the Other. Can you tell us about Invasion as well?

- First of all, there is an eternal theme here - is the life of one person worth saving millions. Only it is presented in a slightly different way: it is not a victim of one, but a collective decision. That is, we are investigating not one character, but on the contrary - the collective consciousness and the collective unconscious. The influence of technology, the influence of information, the ability to control, gradually, not directly, a large human mass. We are incredibly led, we can all go together in rows along the path of delusion and aggression or ferocious rejection. Holding hands tightly, we will go to destroy one little weak person or even not weak - just the Other, but all together.

- That is, it is about the fact that any of us can become the Other.

- Yes. And how one person can stop this avalanche. And about how the collective unconscious in one second can be transformed into the collective consciousness.

- Before filming "Attraction", as far as I know, you made a choice - you had an offer from a Hollywood studio …

- A contract was signed with Warner.

- But you decided to do "Attraction".

- It was not quite so. I really decided to do "Attraction", but above all because there was a crisis, and at that moment I could not give up everything, spit on 25 years of my life in the cinema and leave for the USA.

- Why do you continue to work here, although you have the opportunity to leave?

- Ambition, people, responsibility.

- Can you formulate ambitions somehow?

- Yes, they are about the same as when we filmed music videos in our youth. There was no cinema yet, but we already thought that we had a real studio, in the role of which was a small room in Vykhino. Then we dreamed about the industry, now it is: film schools, a new generation of filmmakers. I'm very interested here. I would have time to do what I have outlined and conceived … And now, by the way, I do not exclude at all that maybe next year I will take off a project abroad.>

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