To Play Tired, You Need A Lot Of Strength: Samal Yeslyamova On "Hayk" And Cannes

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To Play Tired, You Need A Lot Of Strength: Samal Yeslyamova On "Hayk" And Cannes
To Play Tired, You Need A Lot Of Strength: Samal Yeslyamova On "Hayk" And Cannes

Video: To Play Tired, You Need A Lot Of Strength: Samal Yeslyamova On "Hayk" And Cannes

Video: #Канны2018: Самал Еслямова (лучшая актриса фестиваля) — интервью 2022, December

The film "Hayka" about the fate of a Kyrgyz migrant in Moscow became a big event in Russian (and not only) cinema - last year Sergei Dvortsevoy's drama thundered at international festivals and entered the Oscar shortlist, and actress Samal Yeslyamova won the Best Actress Award in Cannes. Recently, "Hayka" has appeared in the news again - albeit for a less pleasant occasion: the director said that the Ministry of Culture now owes more than seven million rubles to the Ministry of Culture for violating the production deadline and can hardly find the means to live. The Minister of Culture expects the professional community to help the Palace.

While this situation is awaiting resolution, we talked with the leading actress Samal Eslyamova about what it was like for her to play a Kyrgyz migrant who left her child in a maternity hospital, how her life changed after the award in Cannes, and how she will always remember the shooting of Aiki.


ksyusha petrova

About choosing a career

I never dreamed of becoming an artist. As a child, I was very impressed by the announcers who voiced programs, and I always wanted to do the same - when I grew up, I became interested in journalism. The year I was finishing school, the first Kazakh theater opened in our North Kazakhstan region. They wanted to recruit local guys there, and so we launched an experimental acting course. When I was advised to him, I was surprised - I thought that an actress should go to study in Almaty or Moscow. I sometimes went to performances, but I never thought about acting. But I decided that since I graduated from school early - at the age of sixteen - I could take this course for a year, if anything, I would go somewhere else. Of course, I liked it, and I stayed in college. When I was in my fourth year, there was a casting for Sergei Dvortsevoy's film "Tulip" all over Kazakhstan, and they came to our city. The girls and I went to the casting just like that, to try it - and after a while I was invited to the second round in Almaty, and in the end I starred in "Tulip".

Once I read in the memoirs of some artist that he graduated from GITIS, and it entered my head that this is just an incredible place. I dreamed of going there, but after college, filming began, which lasted three and a half years. After "Tulip" I was twenty-two, and I decided to try to come to Moscow - in GITIS that year there was also an experimental course, it was recruited by Evgeny Borisovich Kamenkovich and Dmitry Anatolyevich Krymov. It was a director's-acting-scenography course, where everyone studied together - this was done for the first time.

GITIS is primarily a Russian school, of course, but there are special courses that recruit children from Asia and foreigners. We had a regular course, so I was the only Asian. It was very interesting to study. Each semester we had a thematic one - dedicated to a specific author or direction. The scenographers and directors took those scenes and fragments that were interesting to them, and invited us to play in them. So we outplayed all Ostrovsky, all Chekhov, all Shakespeare. There was a lot of prose and modern drama. It is very interesting to study with directors: although they are still students, it is already clear that they are all different, each has his own ideas and his own approach.

About working with Sergei Dvortsev and preparing for "Hayk"

I immediately understood that "Hayka" would be a very complex picture. I already knew Sergei well from "Tulip": although he moved away from documentary films, he believes that there must be an unconditional truth on the screen. It was clear that I would have to immerse myself in this world and play a person who is absolutely not like me - neither by fate, nor by psychophysics. It was necessary to play an exhausted woman who had just given birth.I myself do not have children yet, and I cannot fully feel and understand what a woman feels the next day after giving birth. But I, of course, interviewed all my friends, all my relatives, patients of the maternity hospital where we filmed. It turned out that although it is not easy for everyone, it goes very differently for everyone. Someone was very hard, but after childbirth someone could walk calmly, even dizzy. To understand if a woman would have enough strength after giving birth to make such an escape as Hayka, I asked everyone: "And if a lion were chasing you, would you be able to run?" And everyone said yes.

I did not play a Kyrgyz or Kazakh woman, but history. It's true, there is such a story: migrants from Central Asia come to Moscow, they live like this, they find themselves in such situations. From the very beginning, I was hooked on the topic of mother and child, the strongest connection that can be in this world. When Sergei told me about the film, he somehow formulated it in such a way that I immediately thought - yes.

For the film, I needed to learn Kyrgyz. It is similar to Kazakh - these are languages ​​from the same group. But this is also the difficulty: at some emotional improvisational moments, “auto-correction” in the brain worked: you start speaking Kyrgyz - you continue in Kazakh. We didn’t strive for perfect linguistic purity, something remained in the film. Sergey came up with the idea that Hayka is from the north of Kyrgyzstan, and this is close to Kazakhstan, that is, she really could talk like that. One Kazakh expression remained entirely in the film: there is such a moment when her partner deceived her, and Hayka swears - she says something like “I'm hitting you in the nose now” in Kazakh, this is such a stable expression.


About filming

All these six years of filming have been our life. There were day and night shifts, we all the time looked at the weather forecast, waited for snow. We planned one thing, then changed it abruptly. Someone looks at the forecast and says: "At eight o'clock in the morning there will be snow with a ninety percent probability." Everyone is getting ready urgently, but I understand that I need to start preparing from six in the morning.

We left very early in the morning to catch the traffic jams. Five in the morning is the time when you want to sleep the most. I will forever remember how we drive, I doze in the car and wake up from time to time, and Vyacheslav Agashkin, Sergey's first assistant, who was also a driver and casting director, and starred in the film, is the only one who does not sleep and is taking us. I will also remember how we quickly change clothes on the street and our sound engineer Natasha lifts her jacket to get the microphone - she warmed it for me so that I would not be cold to cling the microphone to my body. It was difficult, but such human moments are very strong, for the sake of this it is worth continuing. I remember how Olya Yurasova, who was both an artist and a make-up artist, rubs her hands to quickly correct wet strands on my face - it's cold outside, but you can't do it with mittens. At such moments, you especially understand how important the work of the whole team is. I constantly felt the shoulder of these people. They are real movie fans, without this nothing would have happened.

Support is very important, because being the main character is not only a dream, but also a huge responsibility. You need to keep the weight all the time, don't cut your hair, avoid the sun - you can't remove a tan with make-up. In sunny weather, I still cross to the shady side of the street.

To play when tired, you have to get really tired, because the camera sees everything. Before each shift, I prepared physically for a long time - I ran down the street, then danced indoors to get a sweat on my face. By the end of the film, when the heroine's fatigue reaches its peak, it took a very long time to dance and do exercises before filming in order to catch a certain breath. This is a delicate job: you had to be very tired, but so that you still have a little energy left to concentrate. Every small movement - how you take a mug, how you drink tea - is rehearsed, they must be very precise.If I got tired a little more than necessary, then after several takes my eyes began to change - we laughed that the eyes were already “setting” and ended up filming. It turned out that to play tired, you need a lot of strength.

About immersion in the world of migrant women

Both before and during the filming, we talked a lot with migrants who live in Moscow - and at the stage of creating the script, Sergei talked with women who, like Aika, left their children in the hospital. We read articles together, studied statistics. Situations like those of Aiki do still occur. One can only imagine what state these women are in - how terrible the conditions in which they live, that they are ready to abandon their children. But every girl, of course, has her own personal reason. Many are ashamed that they gave birth out of wedlock - relatives will not understand, they will not help.

We talked a lot with the Kyrgyz women, whose children stayed at home while their mothers work in Moscow. They talked about how occasionally they come home and the children hug them and do not want to let go. The most difficult thing is to leave - you have to do it early in the morning, while the children are asleep, so that they do not cry. I remember that when our mother went to my grandmother for one day, as a child it was a real disaster. And these women have not seen their children for years.

Almost everyone who plays in Ike is not professional actors, but real migrants. There was a special casting for them: some were found through the center of the Kyrgyz diaspora at VDNKh, some on the street or in a cafe - they noticed a type, an interesting face, and were invited to the shooting. Working with non-professional actors had its own difficulties. They all continued to go to their main job, continued to live their lives. Someone could be deported. There were different stories - for example, one actress got married and said that she could no longer act as her husband would not let go. Since the actors were not used to the camera, they could accidentally look at it or forget the line, there were a lot of rehearsals. It was both difficult and helpful. These are all talented people - not professionals, but people with an acting nature, and they were all very truthful, and this is important. Their lines did not sound as if they were staged, and they played well - not themselves, but their characters, and were convincing in this.

The reactions to the film were different. Some wrote to me: "You are a Kazakh actress, how dare you play a Kyrgyz woman!" But how will I play a Kazakh woman if there are no Kazakh migrants here? Almost every day I receive messages with gratitude - for bringing this topic up. From time to time they even send me news reports - about stories like Aiki's.

About Ike and motherhood

Ike is very different from me. She is a very brave person: for nine months alone, half-starved, she works and hides her pregnancy - not everyone can survive this. She is very strong. She has big plans - and I have no commercial streak at all, I'm not a business person. I do not know, of course, how I would have acted in her situation, but it seems to me that I could not leave the child. My parents really wanted many children, I have four nieces, we treat every childbirth in the family as the most important miracle. I myself really want children, but it doesn't work out yet.

Aiki's story is that nature can be stronger than all your beliefs and plans. She did not want this child, but in the end she suddenly realizes that the child is now the most important thing for her. She wanted to push these feelings away from herself, wanted to close this topic and forget - but at the very end she still takes her son and feeds, and then we feel that she will not give him up. What happened after the ending of the film? I would like, of course, to believe that someone opened the door and hid Ayka, that she found a way to get out, or some kind people helped her. The most important thing is that she did not become an animal, her human qualities still prevailed. That she stopped before this line, could not cross it.

As for the hard work - well, probably, if my children were hungry, I would be able to do any work, and wash the floors, and butcher chickens too. The episode in the chicken workshop was difficult, of course, there was a peculiar atmosphere and smell. But there was no turning back - it was necessary that my hands did it, not someone else's. Since I have agreed to play a migrant who does the hard work to survive, and the day after giving birth, processes the chickens, I have to do it.

I was told that there are physiological moments in the film that are difficult to watch. As a person, I understand this - blood, it’s unpleasant, what to do. But how can such a story be told without blood, without milk? I was even asked if I was ashamed at such moments. But what's the shame? It seems to me that Sergei was able to find the right edge so that we showed exactly as much as needed. How we shot scenes with milk is, of course, a different story: there is an artificial breast, a complex system of tubes. Final - combined shooting: my face, and the chest of another artist. I am very grateful to her for how we were able to synchronize to film this. The scene was difficult: we were in a real entrance, where people walk, with two babies - waiting for whoever wants to eat first.

About Cannes Film Festival and award

In the last month before the festival, we were absolutely exhausted - I slept for four hours, Sergei - two. The Cannes selectors looked at the finished material, and the rest - forty percent - we completed and completed in one month. After the end of filming, there were two days left before the trip to Cannes - but even then I could not get enough sleep, my body simply refused to sleep. So at the festival I was in a strange state - I understood everything, but at the same time I was as if in a case. Even going on stage, I was not as worried as I could now.

Cannes is, of course, a real festival of cinema, there is an incredible atmosphere. Thanks to Sergei, that both my first and second pictures ("Tulip" was in the "Special Look" program) allowed me to be there. All this is very interesting, perfectly organized. It's sunny, warm, life is raging in the city - pitches, meetings with producers, screenings take place. When we watched Tulip, it was amazing to see your film in this quality and sound. This was not the case with "Aika" - the copy was dark in color, some moments were incorrectly edited, the sound was not in Dolby, but in stereo. After Cannes, we spent the whole summer finishing everything - many key episodes were included in the film after the festival. For example, a dialogue with the bandits, where Aika offers to give up her child.

I have two of the most important memories from Cannes. The first is when I asked Sergei if I lived up to his expectations, if the film turned out the way he intended. And he said yes - for me as an actress, this is the highest praise. The second is what happened immediately after the show. I was rather upset: in the version that we showed, there were a lot of roughnesses, technical inconsistencies, there were almost pieces taken from rehearsals. I thought: "We shot a film for six years - and we show it like this?" I stopped in the corridor to wait for the others, and did not notice how someone came up and hugged me - as tightly as in childhood, as your sisters and aunts who have not seen you for a long time approach you. It was Cate Blanchett. She hugged me so kindly, sympathetically. As if she thanked me, and without saying anything, she went on.

I can't say that going on stage, I was absolutely happy - I understood that the film would only be given one prize, and I had the feeling that I had taken something away from the rest of the film crew. I was not the only one who created this role - if it turned out to be so amazing, then the whole team coped with their task. I did not prepare a speech in advance - I just thought that if I find myself on stage, I want to thank Sergei for such a strong faith in me. Because he believed that I could play such a difficult psychological role.When you are 99% of the time in the frame, this is a huge trust and a huge acting success - maybe I won't have this in my life anymore.


About life after Cannes

Of course, life changed after the festival. I am now being offered many different projects. It's funny that many of the roles are of mothers. I say that this should be postponed for now, because Aika is such a role, after which you need to rest.

I am often asked who I would like to play. When I was nineteen years old, at the casting in "Tulip" I answered like this: "I only want to play the main roles!" Very naive. I can't say that I want to play something specific - Desdemona, there, or Medea. There are many roles, first of all I would like to play a person with an interesting destiny. It would be interesting for me to play in a war film, this is a gigantic topic that is still quite close to us.

Money, of course, is needed to exist and there is something, but this is not the essence of the profession. It is in what roles you could do, yourself, to be honest. While we were filming "Aiku", we were all the time immersed in this picture, we did not work on any other projects. Therefore, it is a shame, of course, that this situation has turned out with a fine. We didn't plan to shoot for that long - but what if there is no snow? The laying is not real - it will be seen. If you are serious about making art, you cannot say with confidence, "I will do it in five days." Hope this story will be resolved soon.

Art really has no boundaries - you can watch a film from any country and understand it, feel it on a human level. One way or another, we are all alike, we are all touched by human stories. For example, recently I saw a movie with Scarlett Johansson - "Marriage Story". I was shocked by the way she plays: you seem to know that this is a Hollywood star, that she is only playing this woman, but you believe. For me, as an actress, this is aerobatics - when I do not see the seams in the game. I would love to film with some foreign director - it's very interesting, there is a completely different school. I like Asghar Farhadi, especially his first paintings: "The Divorce of Nader and Simin", "Ellie's Story", "Wednesday of Fireworks". So far, we plan to work with one French director, and then we'll see.

Photos: Volga


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