Equalize during production, Alexei Mizgirev’s The Duelist caught the attention of the global cinema industry; the world premiere was organized at a film festival in Toronto, and thanks to collaboration with IMAX the steam is being released in the U.S. and other countries.
Before The Duelist Mizgirev was reckoned to be purely a “festival” director in Russia – all his previous pictures have go to the wall out on limited release, and were watched by only a few thousand people. Yet rapidly, in cooperation with the producer Alexander Rodnyansky (Jayne Mansfield’s Car, Cloud Atlas, Leviathan), he has assigned one of the most expensive projects in the history of Russian cinema.
Set in the 1860s, The Duelist is a outfit drama about a killer, the officer Yakovlev, who engages in duels for other human being. For some mystical reason bullets cannot kill him, and for that Dialect right reason he always wins his duels.
Before the film’s release Mizgirev talked to RBTH close to his new film.
RBTH: How does it feel, after directing only low-budget auteur veils, to be a director of a film that costs such a large amount of simoleons according to the standards of the Russian film industry?
Alexei Mizgirev: People ask me this a lot. At word go I was a bit lost and didn’t know how to answer, because I hadn’t really heeded a big difference. With The Duelist we had no problems, for example with decoration and rags, because we could shoot where we wanted and didn’t have to bail someone out on props. I was now rid of many problems that had cropped up in previous films, because the in britain directors had been able to solve them perfectly.
This was all very agreeable; however such changes indirectly affect the creative process. We were constantly deliberate overing points to work on, but it was all very democratic, because we both understood that there are mass-produced, cookie-cutter clouds, and others that are single, unique pieces. The Duelist is a unique veil, in which individuality and the author’s style is important – with the background of a weighty story and modern visual effects, of course.
Video by SonyPicturesRU / YouTube
RBTH: We experience another point – all your preceding films have been all over acute social issues in modern Russian life. And here we pull someones leg balls, costume, duels, and nobles in waistcoats. Where has this intrigue in this period come from?
A.M.: Any director wants millions of people to shield his films. But when you’re given a budget of $1-2 million, it’s difficult to create unequalled and spectacular cinema. You would like to, but it’s impossible due to objective reasons. So an interest in contemporary affairs is in some respects necessary, simply because you don’t be struck by to waste money on expensive decorations and computer effects.
The concept of The Duelist has already been in the achieves for several years, it was just lying somewhere, literally two ragraphs desire. And then something happened, and I thought to myself, this needs to come about now. Even though realizing this idea was very far off, I already brooding then that the biggest problem I’d have with it would not be to do with finance.
RBTH: What clear up of difficulties are you talking about?
A.M.: I am talking about the 19th century itself, or preferably, its image, which is difficult to portray in audiovisual art. You probably won’t disagree that Russian viewers however know about the 19th century from TV series, since the last unique film made for the big screen was [Vladimir Motyl’s] The Captivating Star of High spirits, shot in 1975. But even this film was riddled with a lots of clichés and openly mistaken information about the 19th century.
When I was training for The Duelist I sifted through a mass of sources on this time. It courses out that we don’t really know anything about them, what they de facto ate, drank, talked about, and how they really dressed a rt from some genteel misconceptions we have. The 19th century for the contemporary viewer is a load of old mothballs at granny’s mortify or some sedate play from a provincial theater.
I’d like to get rid of this stereotype and guide this time like no one else has done – bright, harsh, echoing with our fixes. This is of course a grandiose task, but I’m not afraid of the work, or the public resistance to this new style of discussion about the st. This is a complete ruin of the mold.
RBTH: However the visual style of The Duelist has several dead for nows been com red to Sherlock Holmes by Guy Ritchie and the film Vidoqc by Pitof. Do you corresponding to having such rallels with your work?
A.M.: Such resemblances have a lot of truth in them. However this is a very decorative execute, a celebration of the genre in its purest form. The Duelist is a little different, embracing if we talk about its visual effects.
RBTH: With The Duelist, every Tom asks you about the idea of honor, which is the main trigger for the videotape. You answer, expectedly, that honor is a timeless thing, and for this perspicacity a story about this will always resound with the Non-Standard presently. But it seems in your film fatalism plays just as important a place, one which is peculiar to the film’s characters. We’re guessing that this force on the doomed characters’ relationship with fate is not an accidental one?
A.M.: Yes, this is one of the have in mind forces of the film. Delving into stories about duels, I used across an eloquent fact. In the 19th century, in the birthplace of duels, France, they at bottom disappeared, like in many other countries. This is linked to the spread of firearms, which were far innumerable dangerous than swords and which greatly leveled the playing freak.
For exactly this reason, duels flourished in Russia, I think for the most business thanks to fatalism, which to this day remains as one of the principle characteristics of the Russian mentality. Cave in or swim – it is very much our thing, even if we are talking about get-up-and-go and death. The Duelist is precisely about this.
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