IN THE RUBRIC "VIDEOTEKA" our heroines talk about their favorite films and TV shows - important, vivid, inspiring, those that are hard to forget once you see them. In this issue, film critic Yulia Gulyan recalls her university studies, which brought her to the world of cinema, and shares her impressions of the cinema of the 50s to the present day - “Mid 90s”, Paul Thomas Anderson and Sean Baker are right there.
INTERVIEW: Alisa Taezhnaya
PHOTOS: Ekaterina Starostina
MAKEUP: Irene Shimshilashvili
Film critic, screenwriter for the Bazelevs film company, co-founder of glukk.com
Even before the advent of Russian MTV, you could have more than a sip of life, and video art, switching
from advertising in the "Star Hour"
to adjacent channels
I remember the shock from what I saw in the cinema "The Sixth Sense": I was ten years old, and why my mother took me to the cinema for this particular film is a mystery. On the other hand, age restrictions were not accepted at that time (as, apparently, and trailers). I love Night Shyamalan to this day and I still hope that he will shoot something equally deafening.
In general, I cannot boast of a cinematic childhood: I grew up in a text-centered family, where literature was tacitly considered the main art, followed by music - they were supposed to keep me and my younger brother occupied. And if the list of books and the repertoire were compiled with all attention, then no one particularly nagged at what we watched. The remote control from the only TV was always broken: in fights with his brother during the airtime, the compromise version - "Dandy" often won. In any case, it was still necessary to grow up to serious cinema, so for the video, dad solemnly brought "Aladdin" (both parts on the same VHS), "The Lion King" and - guilty pleasure - Indian cinema. However, due to the fact that childhood fell on the most liberal years of television, even before the advent of Russian MTV, one could more than sip both life and video art by switching from advertising in the "Star Hour" to the few neighboring channels.
My grandmother always loved detective stories, so I remember how we looked together at the dacha, first "Moonlight Detective Agency", then "Colombo", and even later "The X-Files". By that time, tastes with my brother were about equal and we became friends on the basis of love for The Simpsons, a few years later, Futurama and Family Guy appeared - this must have determined in many ways my attitude to the comic. And of all the Soviet comedies, which, as now, were shown without stopping on all holidays, I was most familiar with the "Office Romance" - now I understand that, apparently, due to the fact that all the characters there are most like schoolchildren: they write notes, take offense, read poetry, fight absurdly and are wildly shy about everything. It seems that I am now latently looking for such kidals in films.
Everything was interesting at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences of St. Petersburg State University, but by the end of the second year, it was necessary to choose a concentration program from all the arts. It was possible to get to the courses on mythopoetics and semiotics of fashion in cinema with Zhamila Dvinyatina only by choosing “Cinema and Video” as my major - I chose, without even guessing what gift of fate awaited me. Hong Kong, musicals and horror films by Dmitry Komm, psychoanalysis of cinema by Nina Savchenkova, screenwriting and comics by Olga Davtyan - these were happy, inspiring years. And although now I probably watch even more films (if you count all the festival marathons), then there were only masterpieces. It would be unbearable to choose the top ten of them, so I tried to focus on my favorite films from more or less recent ones, although I still couldn't do without classics. I am very glad that the previous guests of the column have already named the films of Bob Fosse, "Chapito Show", "Victoria", "Manchester by the Sea", and "Miracles" by Rohrwacher - I can only add them.
Lulu Wang, 2019
My personal winner of the 2019 Sundance is a tragicomedy about a Chinese family arranging a grandson's wedding to hide her fatal diagnosis from her grandmother. An autobiographical story, in the center of which is the awkward girl Billy (Aquafina), reminding by her disorder that in her native New York, that in the family circle of all the heroines of Greta Gerwig at once. She alone seems unacceptable for such a lie to save her, but out of love for her grandmother, she willy-nilly joins in this farce. Death here becomes a figure of silence, reminding of itself both in everyday life and in the rituals of the holiday.
"Farewell" is a rare case of expressive cinema in which every artistic gesture, whether it be the ghost of grandfather in the neon lights of the hotel or the musical number at a wedding accompanied by the soundtrack "Killing Me Softly With His Song" does not destroy, but supports the plot in the course of which Billy will and come to terms with mortal corporeality, and remember unconditional love. And the more surreal the scenery of the photo studio or the landscapes of Chinese new buildings, the more authentic, as in "Bitter!", The absurdity of the wedding action, the more clearly against their background the pain flickers from the impossibility of contemplating the loss. And now Billy herself photoshopped the results of the biopsy - after all, as we know from The Man Who Surprised Everyone, if you cannot defeat death, then you can try to outsmart it.
Paul Thomas Anderson, 2015
The first documentary, but not the first musical film by Paul Thomas Anderson (if you count his clips for Fiona Apple) captured the work on a joint album of Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood, their staff producer Nigel Godrich and Israeli composer Shai Ben-Tzur with brilliant Indian musicians - the band will be called The Rajasthan Express and will later tour with Radiohead. It is difficult to call this trip to Rajasthan a Starship Trooper - rather, a pilgrimage to music gurus. Anderson's signature style is barely discernible here (steadicams and drones do not count): as if the director did much less for Greenwood's music than he did for his films (Greenwood is the author of the soundtrack for all of Anderson's latest films, starting with Oil).
However, "Junun" is already too expressive. Synthesizers are piled up to the ceiling of the Mehrangarh fortress, where a temporary recording studio has been set up, seven people play on the wind instruments alone, the same number of musicians simply clap their hands, and all this is immersed in the cobalt and saffron of Jodhpur. The album was recorded for a month, and the film looks like one dress rehearsal - like Godrichev's release of From the Basement on the road. Junun is a great collage that Parajanov would have approved of: an immense layering of musical cultures, carpets and gods. “I respect all gods of all religions, it makes no difference to me,” one of the musicians will say and go to pray.
Jonah Hill, 2018
The film about the growing up of a thirteen-year-old boy Stevie, nailed to a skate party, was released recently, and it was not praised only by those who have not yet had time to watch. Nevertheless, there is a feeling that the "Mid-90s" will remain in the heart for a long time, squeezing out the equally subtle, skillful and personal directorial debuts of Paul Dano ("Wild Life") and Greta Gerwig ("Lady Bird"). Despite the outward lightness and even posture, Hill still made it difficult for himself by choosing to shoot on film and casting simple skaters from the street, which made him even closer to street lomo photography.
An amazing property of talented cinema: like the Californian 90s, in which John himself grew up, with hip-hop, skateboards and the cult of T-shirts - these are at best our zero, or even the beginning of the 2010s, but everyone was thirteen years old, and - a fatherly kind look at a confused self in childhood - rather a message that everyone wants to send to a teenager: be true to yourself, get up when you fall, and do not be afraid, and if it is completely unbearable - take a board, or a camera, or whatever you have and go outside.
Sean Baker, 2015
On duty, I watch a lot of New Year's and festival films, this one is one of the most dashing in both categories. The story of two Los Angeles transgender sex workers seeking justice on Christmas Eve blew up Sundance. The issue of diving has been resolved here with all conscientiousness: the second line of the film unfolds in the cabin of a taxi driver of Armenian origin (he is also the producer of the film Karen Karagulyan), an exemplary family man and a regular client of the main characters, who is in a hurry to deliver a variety of passengers for Christmas.
But the film has in common with "Taxi" Panakhi, first of all, the feeling that a good movie can be made in spite of everything - there would be friends and an iPhone, scary to say, 5s! And even though Sean Baker will shoot his next film "Project Florida" with Willem Dafoe and at 35 mm, he will not betray his author's style: an outrageously wide angle, orange-lavender palette, mischievous aesthetics of fast food and marginalized people with a heart of gold are isn't it proof of Delluc's "Photogeny"?
Christy Puyu, 2016
Tired doctor Larry, his younger sister with a baby, an obsessed with conspiracy theories, a forty-year-old dilda, a communist grandmother who will bring any liberal to tears, Aunt Ophelia and her walking husband, teenagers who have strayed from their hands - only sixteen people slowly gather in a Romanian panel for forty days death of the father of the family. The priest is late for an hour and a half of screen time, the audience disperses to the rooms. Cabbage rolls are bubbling in the kitchen, the chorba is being warmed up for the tenth time, but they still don't sit at the table - and we have to talk about politics, sick relatives and betrayals.
In these parallel ongoing conversations, rituals and absurd habits, mounted by constantly opening and closing doors, an amazing and painfully familiar world of a post-Soviet apartment grows, from which it is not so easy to escape - the author does not impose the degree of generalization, but this flickering somehow itself goes to the universal level. The heroes of the film, however, manage to get out - both times, however, into the car, where two unforgettable conversations between Larry and his wife take place: a funny one about costumes in Disney cartoons, and a confessional one about his father.
Wong Kar-Wai, 2000
In the mood for love
Wild Days, Chungking Express, and Fallen Angels are no less dear to me, but In the Mood for Love stands out from the filmography of even such a Renaissance director as Kar-Wai. The love story of two lonely in their misfortune, but outrageously stylish people (Maggie Chun's dresses and Tony Leung's ties change according to each scene), chamber and decorous as much as the entourage of Shanghai communal apartments in Hong Kong of the 60s, where the younger generation is still conscientious enough, allows burn with shame from only one condemning glance of older neighbors.
What in the hands of less talented people would have slipped into unbearable sentimentality turns out to be pure poetry, albeit Mannerist - as often happens with films at the end of some national new wave. As you know, Kar-Wai edited the film until the premiere in Cannes and at the last moment cut out all the erotic scenes, the title song and, apparently, something else that would make the film too cloying even by the standards of Southeast Asia. And so it turned out a great film of silence, in which the innermost is not spoken, but the authors, and actors, and their heroes mean it.
Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1954
Clouseau overtook Hitchcock by buying out the rights to "The One That Was Gone" by Boileau and Narsejak. Frustrated Hitchcock because of this ordered the authors "something equally talented", and it turned out "Dizziness". Talented, according to Hitchcock, is, as you know, suspense, in which it would be good to keep the viewer until the very end. Clouseau's golden years fell on the 40s and 50s, but the singers of the French new wave considered him old-school.
But today in the story of how a devout wife and resourceful mistress decide to get rid of their common harasser, everything seems beautiful and modern: the play of Vera Clouseau and Simone Signoret, the feeling of doom within the walls of the French school and almost the only twist in the world, the knowledge of which can spoil your first viewing pleasure. Even the film's closing credits ask the viewer to refrain from spoilers.
Georgy Danelia, 1982
Tears were falling
Anderson's sad tale about how a splinter of a mirror gets into the eye of an official (soul-man) Pavel Ivanovich Vasin (only a comedian could play such a drama, and why there - only Leonov), and from that moment he sees the worst in people, about what hurries to inform them. First of all, Vasin kicks out the children from the house, leaves the house ahead of his own time, and at work, in spite of everyone, initiates the demolition of garages (it is strange that a dissertation has not yet been written about this fetish of Soviet cinema).
Leonov's hero has dreams, either from Sayat-Nova, or from the still unfinished Kin-dza-dzy! Danelia recites Shpalikov's poems “People are lost only once” behind the scenes and materializes in the back seat of the tram. And it seems that nothing will be able to interrupt the heartbreaking scene in the restaurant, where everyone except Leonov is dancing, and he hears instead of music either a heartbeat or a dull beat, but wait for the last scene - Fellini praised her, and she will not touch only a rock.
Dmitry Kalashnikov, 2016
Winter, spring, summer, autumn and winter again - thousands of DVR recordings make up a journey along one endless Russian road, along which, as you know, you cannot reach the end. Forests are burning, uncontrollable trucks are rushing past in deadly proximity, hysterical pedestrians rush to the hood - a real encyclopedia of Russian life, from which it becomes both funny and scary. But the striking effect of this found footage of the film is that when the camera of the DVR is turned outward, the sound conveys what happens to the passengers, that is, viewers of the road, that is, to all of us, imperturbable, ready for anyts of fate and yet vulnerable people who are not lost when a meteorite falls (you must lower the visor so that it does not blind), but acutely feel melancholy when the earth is smoking around - and literally.
Igor Kovalev, 2016
As a child, I, of course, did not know this, but it turned out that Igor Kovalev had a hand in all my favorite cartoons - from "Plasticine Crow" and "The Koloboks are Investigating" to "Oh, these kids!", But actually all these years In parallel, he also made adult films, which won dozens of festivals. "Milk", "Flying Nansen", "His wife is a chicken" - films that act on the viewer as if directly, bypassing the symbolic register, as befits pure art.
"Before Love" is Kovalev's most recent film, where again confused and too ambitious heroes, already habitually awkward Kovalev's lugs in search of love find themselves in the midst of existential loneliness, which, however, does not deprive either them or the viewer of hope for happiness.