Posted 7 декабря 2022,, 13:52

Published 7 декабря 2022,, 13:52

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

The truth is in Strength and Non-violence. A film about Alexey Balabanov is released

7 декабря 2022, 13:52
An outstanding Russian director, the hero of a documentary, Lyubov Arkus, makes unexpected confessions in the frame.

Dmitry Stakhov

As Novye Izvestia has already reported, on Thursday, December 8, Lyubov Arkus' film Balabanov. Belfry, Requiem "(producers Sergey Selyanov and Konstantin Ernst). Arcus started filming it two years before Balabanov's death in 2013. The film is of considerable length - 115 minutes - and it is dominated by close-ups (including from cited films), at times the image lacks clarity, the sound lacks distinctness, which, however, paradoxically works to create a convex image of Alexey Balabanov and people close to him - his wife, children, colleagues.

Strictly speaking, the picture consists of two parts. The first one is a short film criticism study of Alexey Balabanov's work, filled with the author's conviction that he is right. The second, much longer in terms of screen time, is a detailed description of the last months of Balabanov's life, and in this part, despite a clear line, with reference to the filming of Balabanov's last film "I also want", the chronology is broken - the second part begins with a funeral service for already to the deceased director, then shots from the filming follow, then the viewer is sent to the hero's youthful years, and so on.

Balabanov preferred American classics to Russian classics.

Of particular interest are those fragments in which Balabanov speaks to moviegoers in the St. Petersburg club "Order of Words", to the audience in Belgrade and at home, when the wife attracts her husband to influence his son who does not want to read "great literature".

In The Order of Words, Balabanov is extremely laconic (“Are you happy?” “No!”, “What makes you happy in life?” “Nothing!”), He speaks quietly, gets annoyed, or rather, boils internally when he is asked to speak louder, and one can understand from his glance through the shaded lenses of his glasses that he sees an indistinct, gray mass in front of him.

Balabanov is almost the same in Belgrade, except that he allows himself to speak a little more (“Are there any connections between your films and the work of Viktor Pelevin?” “Pelevin is a good writer, but there is no connection!” and, most importantly, “I killed so many people in their films, no matter how many bandits dreamed”).

But, being at home, in a conversation with his wife and son, Balabanov opens up a little. He is asked to confirm the need to read Russian classics, but Balabanov, with his usual, almost impassive expression, admits that he never liked any of the Russian classics, and even more so Dostoevsky. The interlocutors do not lag behind, and then a revelation follows - the most beloved writers of the one who was credited with almost fairness are Hemingway and Salinger (Balabanov specifically emphasizes that he read them in the original), Remarque and, of course, Kafka.

So what's the truth, brother?

Arkus is sure that it is Alexey Balabanov who is the chief director of Russia. Most likely it is. A lot of claims can be attributed to his films, but each of them is invested in a consistent creative line, each of them is original, cruel and ruthless to both the characters and the viewer. Arkus strongly opposes attempts to make a nationalist out of Balabanov, to identify him with Danila, the hero of Sergei Bodrov Jr., into whose mouth the director put the catchphrases “You bastards, you will also answer for Sevastopol!” and “You are not my brother, you black-assed nit”, to make him responsible for the fact that the words “Strength is in truth” were transformed in the mass consciousness into “Truth is in Strength”.

Arkus claims at the same time that Balabanov himself thought and, most importantly, acted according to a slightly different principle - "Truth is in force and non-violence". True, in his work he acted according to the law “The one gets of this kind”, and after “Brother 1-2” he released the brilliant “Zhmurki” and the great “Gruz-200”, where violence simply splashes over the edge to lead to genuine catharsis.

Most of the film acquaints the viewer with the preparations for filming and the filming of Balabanov's last, prophetic film "I also want" - in a gloomy fantasy about a dilapidated bell tower that can take a person to Happiness. However, there are no rules - she takes someone away, and someone dies, exhausted, without reaching the goal, on river ice powdered with snow.

In the finale of the picture, the already terminally ill Balabanov appears in the role of himself. Not accepted by the bell tower, his hero sits next to him, putting the unchanged Balaban leather briefcase on the snow. “I am a director, a member of the European Film Academy”, - he says to a fellow sufferer (of course, a bandit). Waiting for death and seeking Happiness, he dies right in the frame, and the bandit impassively steps over his body.

It is symbolic that the bell tower of the Church of Christ of the Nativity of Zapogost, which stood at the confluence of the Churovka River into the Sheksna River, collapsed exactly on the fortieth day after the death of Alexey Balabanov.