One more Odessa-story of quite a different flavour. Vassilis Economou has for Cineuropa interviewed Sergei Loznitsa, whose fiction film, ”A Gentle Creature”, was shown at the festival. As always it is interesting to listen to the director, whose documentary ”Austerlitz” has travelled the world. Read the whole interview, link below, here is a clip:
Cineuropa: A Gentle Creature is loosely based on the short story of the same name by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Do you think that he still remains an inspiration for current events?
Sergei Loznitsa: I believe that nothing much has actually changed in Russia since Dostoyevsky wrote his story. Dostoyevsky was a prophetic author. He predicted the horror that arrived in Russia soon after. In The Demons, one of his most prophetic novels, he describes a very particular type of human being – immoral, very devious and dishonest. They appeared in
Russia at the turn of the century; they multiplied massively and at a certain point took over the country. Dostoyevsky depicted this atmosphere that generates the “demons” and encourages this type of devious behaviour. I was inspired by this concept introduced by Dostoyevsky, and I used it as a starting point for my film.
Are we still facing the same demons? If we compare the Dostoyevskian era to our contemporary situation, I feel that we are in a worse position now. In a way, this is quite logical if we consider the millions of people who have perished in this country over the past 100 years. Those who were sacrificed certainly represented a different spectrum of the human character, totally opposite to the one of the demons. The negative selection in the population led to devastating results…
Looking forward to seeing the film and to the upcoming documentaries by the super-productive director: I’m working on two documentaries. The first, entitled Victory Day, was shot in Treptower Park in Berlin on 8 and 9 May; it’s a place that ex-Soviet citizens, now German residents, visit to commemorate the victory in WWII. The second is a montage of archive footage of the show trials that were held in Moscow during the Stalinist period. The film will be called The Trial. I’m also preparing a new feature film, and I just came from a location-scouting trip in Central Ukraine.