Yang Ge: “The Main Thing That Russia Has Taught Me Is To Endure”

Yang Ge: “The Main Thing That Russia Has Taught Me Is To Endure”
Yang Ge: “The Main Thing That Russia Has Taught Me Is To Endure”

Video: Yang Ge: “The Main Thing That Russia Has Taught Me Is To Endure”

Video: Yang Ge: “The Main Thing That Russia Has Taught Me Is To Endure”
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We meet with Yang Ge at the Gogol Center, where the actress and director resorts after another trip to the migration center. She is not exactly delighted: "again they are with this comma, are they doing everything on purpose so that I never deal with the documents?" - Yang Ge exclaims almost rhetorically, but immediately, however, noticing that he does not know how to get angry and is not going to get upset because of everyday troubles. The most frequent remark to any interview with Gash is the "laughs" qualifier. She really laughs a lot and is contagious, immediately letting her into her world and talking unadorned about everyday life, plans and real sincere feelings - love for food. However, behind the ease and ability to play a trick on oneself, there is a workaholism, which is difficult not to envy. Performances and rehearsals, concerts and recording of new compositions, scripts, preparation and filming. She doesn't want to choose one thing, instead managing to do everything at once. “I'm just Chinese, that's the whole answer,” Yang Ge laughs again.

- I want to start with the banal. Yang is your last name, Ge is your first name, but in the context of Russian speech, it seems that the opposite is true …

- Call me Gesha and give me "you" right away, I am so pleased.

- But if someone unfamiliar on the street addresses you as "Gash", won't that surprise you?

- It depends on how people treat me. It happens that someone is happy to see me, but I am also pleased. You can call me Geshi, you can call me Yang Ge - whatever. In the Chinese language, as in Russian, there is a reference to both "you" and "you", but I don't have such a thing that if someone told me "you", I was offended or began to be indignant. (Laughs.) In general, I am a very optional person, I do not have such rules that I should behave this way and that, and in relation to others, there are none either. I accept everything, I almost never get angry and I am also very rarely sad.

- Speaking of languages. You filmed your film "Trinity" in Moscow, but in English, and you gathered the actors so that he was either native, like Odin Byron, or ideal, like Andrei Kurganov, Georgy Blikshtein and yourself, without an accent and Landon from the capital ". Why did you decide that this story should be told in English?

- I have not found a reason why I should shoot it in Russian. This is not a story in Russian or in Chinese, it is international, especially since you see three skin colors in the frame. My co-screenwriter Greta Shushchevichiute and I wanted to emphasize this in every possible way, by the way, including with the help of space. We did not specifically show that this was Moscow, we hid it, we needed just a “certain” city where the plot unfolds, because it is connected not with the external, but with the internal.

Photo: Georgy Kardava
Photo: Georgy Kardava

© Georgy Kardava

- There are really no recognizable places that you usually cling to and recognize in the frame of Moscow, London, New York or other metropolis, in your film. But didn't this convention turn out to be deliberate? Any story still develops in the context of the place where the heroes of the culture laid down by it live.

- Yes, that was one of the problems when we were looking for money for the film. Many people liked the script, many wanted to help. They said that it was necessary to shoot in Russian and so that it was clear that we were in Moscow. But you understand, you can't connect all this with Moscow, because then you will have to make “Moscow” people out of heroes, and they are different in the same way as in the case of any other city. I wanted to show that we are not talking about the place, which in this context does not matter where the person is from, but about the character and what my heroine Margot has inside. I could not tie her to any particular city. And besides, as a director, I didn't want to express my opinion on Margot's actions and decisions. Everyone follows their own rules to find happiness, everyone has the right to do so, but what we choose may sometimes seem wrong to society. Sometimes this prevents us from being happy, because we are afraid of someone else's opinion. I wanted to show the story of one betrayal, based on real events. There is a place for both sorrow and light. And everyone who watches it will see something of their own, related to their own experience or not. And this is not an arthouse, this is a story that everyone understands.

- How does it feel to be on the set as a director and an actress at the same time?

- I am one of those directors who, before being on the set, have already shot a movie in their head. We had everything so clearly and precisely planned out that we did it in 15 shooting days. I knew what angles I needed, what camera departures - hello, VGIK. (Laughs) I felt very calm, no fuss or anything like that. But I have to tell you, I just can't stand myself in the frame as an actress. This is not coquetry, I know that I am doing everything that is necessary, I understand exactly what I want from this character as a stage director, what expression should be here, how exactly one should cry or eat, but I do not accept myself. I don't like the way I look, there is some kind of awkwardness, you look at yourself at the playback - just brrr. Okay, enough about that. (Laughs) I wanted to create the most touching Margot. She is an ordinary girl, like the rest of us. But at the same time, she is a princess, just like all of us, because no matter what we are - beautiful, ugly, adults, young - we are always special for a loved one.

- How much do you allow artists to improvise?

- If I trust an artist, then I expect any eccentricities from him. And since I want to work only with those whom I trust, here is the answer. An episode with Odin Byron, for example. He plays a psychologist and gives a long monologue at a great, wild speed. I knew from the beginning that no one would play it the way he did. With all these words, intonations, looks. By the way, we dubbed the film for festivals, made the Russian version. And I thought that Odin would kill me. Because when he played this scene in English, he did not expect that he would then have to voice himself and fall into his own rhythm already in Russian. (Laughs.)

- The premiere of the film was in the summer at Kinotavr. How do you like festival life: parties, attention of photographers and press, communication?

- I am a stay-at-home, definitely, but at the same time I am at home quite rarely, there are too many things. Such is the paradox. I don't like drinking, I don't always like dancing either, because there are a lot of things to do every day and by the evening I usually get tired, and in general, you know, after 30 I immediately began to feel age. Don't laugh, I'm not kidding. I turned 30 and a week later cellulite appeared. It's just like a blow to the head, you know? But seriously, I enjoy sitting and working much more than having fun. Writing scripts, making videos and all that. And also - to talk with people, to communicate in real. In the film there is a very important phrase for me, it is pronounced by the hero of Odin Byron: “People should not love you, and that’s fine”. I like those who, even if they do not like something that I like, will say their opinion, explain it. And this is really interesting to me. And the fact that you need to be photographed at events - I'm used to this. This is also part of the job, because everything is so arranged that the more they know about you, the more they are interested in what you do, your film. My PR agent Sasha Plisakova says: "There is a task." And I'm Chinese, so I'm executive. (Laughs.)

- By the way, for you, as for a Chinese woman, there is something in Russian culture and way of life that you, after so many years of living here, did not accept, that still seems alien to you?

- The only thing, perhaps, is the [administrative] system and the way it works - not at all for people. It is so hard. I am now applying for a temporary residence permit (temporary residence permit. - "RBC Style"). The place I need to come to is 7-9 km from Moscow. This means that I have to get up at five o'clock in the morning, spend several hours on the road, and then go to the window, find out that there is some extra squiggle in my documents, a comma, and hear: "Here is a comma, go redo it." And all this is repeated more than once or twice. They seem to deliberately find some small mistakes, they deliberately do this so that you don't get everything right away. These people in the windows look so evil. You cannot send them, you have to endure 40 minutes while they check each letter, find one comma and are glad that you will have to leave with nothing. There is so much suffering, many cry, shout at them. This is a place that has collected very bad energy. It's hard for me to come there. I seem to go out on stage every evening and nothing, but I'm afraid to approach this window, my heart leaps so much. It's horrible to hear this no. It means that you need to change everything in your plans again, to return there again.

Photo: Georgy Kardava
Photo: Georgy Kardava

© Georgy Kardava

- Do you think this system can be changed?

- I don't know, but I really want everything to be for people. Now, for example, technologies are so developed: I registered on the Internet, signed up, it would seem, what are the problems, why these painful queues. There are some things that I just don't understand. For example, in Russia, doctors and teachers receive the least amount, those people who treat people, teach people. Why? How is this possible? How can a nation be healthy? Why should they think about their own survival instead of caring for others? In China, on the contrary, it is they who earn the most, so we simply cannot understand this.

- And your own Moscow, what is it like? Let's say you have an extra hour after our conversation. Where are you going?

- Well, there is no need to guess. I will eat, of course. (Laughs.) Everyone knows about this. I just love to eat. By the way, we filmed some scenes in the space of Ilya Tyutenkov's project Leveldva. I love all of his restaurants. In general, in my free time, I always lie at home, I love my bed. It happened that my mother opens a special application on my phone, checks how many steps I walked in a day. My record is 163. This means that I came to the toilet with a phone, and then talked on it in the kitchen, walked a little back and forth. (Laughs.) I really can, like a sloth, just lie all day. I like it. Moreover, there is Instagram. You know all the information about the entire environment, but what's really there, you can even arrange a casting with the help of social networks. I do not impose on a person: "Let's meet and talk."Why waste his time and my time? I just scroll through, watch his videos, photos, style, and after that I understand whether it's worth dating at all.

- Many are now upset and like to discuss that social networks devour all free, and sometimes even not free time.

- Well, it depends what kind of person you are. For example, I like to flip through the feed, but not at the expense of anything I have to do. If there is a task, I will not "stick" on Instagram. It's all your choice. You have the right to everything: to love - not to love, to be sad - not to be sad, to do - not to do, to eat or lose weight. Wait, what's the choice though. Eat, of course. Why do I always reduce the conversation to food? It's not on purpose. (Laughs.)

Photo: Georgy Kardava
Photo: Georgy Kardava

© Georgy Kardava

- And you never have such that you want to postpone things, procrastinate?

- If I want to make a movie, it is important for me to do it right now, not in a year, not in two, when I burn out. And so in everything, with all ideas, not only with cinema. I cannot explain this by anything other than a national trait. I am a Chinese woman: we are hardworking and purposeful. For me, a deadline really means a deadline, and not that it has come and there are still a few days later to finish everything. There are cultural differences in general. Russians, for example, like to exaggerate. If I know that I can do something, I will say it as it is, no more and no less. As with English, let's say. You ask a Russian artist if he knows the language, and he is like, "yes, of course, I speak excellently." And then, when you check it out, it turns out that in fact he does not know him at all. So when I am assured that they can do so much, I do not immediately believe. Already got used to this passion of yours to exaggerate everything.

- Okay, but then how to prioritize? You are an actress, musician, director. How not to get confused in your roles and responsibilities?

- Here, look, my calendar. (Shows a calendar on the phone, where each cell is highlighted in its own color.) You see, there is no free space, no days off. But I arranged it for myself, no one forced me. Now I have such a stage: no relationship, no love. You will still find love if you do what you like. In the meantime, I want to give all the time to work, so as not to be sad, not to feel lonely. "Damn, I'm so unhappy, nobody needs me" - without that, you know? Work and then everyone will need you. Do not blame other people, blame yourself, become even better, even cooler, earn respect, but at the same time know that everything has its time, learn patience. In general, the main thing that Russia has taught me is to endure. The same situation is now with the documents. Everyone thinks I'm a naive fool who only repeatsthat there is no need to be upset. Really. Like, how can a girl be smart in a lamb fur coat and with such nails. I know if I dressed differently, communicated with people differently, probably everything would be a little easier, I would succeed faster. Because people have stereotypes, it is difficult to break through them. But at the same time, I do not want to lose myself, because the coolest thing that is, is that we are different, individual. Why should I be like everyone else?

This is how it works: the more they know about you, the more they are interested in what you do.

- Returning to the internal distribution of roles. Do I understand correctly that you are comfortable when you do everything at once?

- I just want to enjoy life, be happy. And for this I need to implement what I come up with. Have an idea? Let's do! I immediately light up. I didn’t deliberately come up with the idea that I wanted to become a director, an actress. I just wanted to tell stories. There is no specific profession, I just do the things that I like. Therefore, I probably succeed in it faster, because I do not torture myself. That is, even the process of all creative torment brings joy - I myself wanted it. My friends constantly say: "I never doubted that everything would be fine with you." Even they have no doubts. Why should I doubt myself then? On the other hand, I'm wondering why they suddenly have no doubts? In general, it is not in vain that the Russians repeat that “whatever you want, you will get everything”. I don’t treat cinema like a business. For me, this is an opportunity to talk about what I want to talk about. As in the theater. What does an artist change in this world? He just makes him kinder. And Kirill Semenovich [Serebrennikov] taught me this. If it were not for this place, the "Gogol Center", I would probably be a corrupt creature, I would count money, would do as it suits me. And here I give myself to creativity, here I am not for the sake of earning money, but for the sake of spiritual growth, my understanding of art and the growth of acting. As an actress, I need to maintain my level in order to be a good artist and play in a good theater, with a good partner, with a good director. And also, speaking of teachers. I can say that China taught me to love, Russia taught me to endure, Sergei Alexandrovich Soloviev, my master at VGIK, taught me to dream, and Kirill Semyonovich taught me to try. That's how we live. But the main,do not forget to eat. (Laughs.)

- By the way, I didn't ask the most important thing. Where to find Chinese cuisine in Moscow?

- What a question. At home, of course, where else.>

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