Kantemir Balagov comes from Kabardino-Balkaria, a area within the Russian Caucasus that may be very poor and has a excessive degree of youth unemployment. Balagov studied below Russian director Alexander Sokurov for 3 years, and made his debut characteristic with “Closeness,” which was in Cannes’ Un Sure Regard in 2017, and gained the Fipresci prize. “Beanpole,” his second characteristic, performs in Un Sure Regard this yr. Set in 1945 in Leningrad, which was devastated in World Battle II, the movie facilities on two younger girls, Iya and Masha, who’re struggling to rebuild their lives.
What affect did Alexander Sokurov have on you as a filmmaker?
Aside from giving me an understanding of the occupation of the director, he helped me to attain self-consciousness and taught me find out how to love literature. To me these two issues are interconnected, as a result of consciousness feeds on literature.
How do you describe your method to directing?
I’m not curious about how an individual thinks however how they really feel. For me cinema is a spot of emotions slightly than ideas.
Which movies have influenced you most?
“Fists within the Pocket” by Marco Bellocchio, “My Good friend Ivan Lapshin” by Alexei German, “The Cranes Are Flying” by Mikhail Kalatozov, “Rosetta” by the Dardenne brothers, “Breathless” by Jean-Luc Godard, “Rome, Open Metropolis” by Roberto Rossellini, “Rocco and His Brothers” by Luchino Visconti and each movie by Marcel Carne.
Why is your movie known as “Beanpole”?
The plain reply is that one of many lead characters may be very tall. However the Russian title, “Dylda,” suggests clumsiness, awkwardness, gracelessness. The 2 heroines really feel clumsy as a result of they’re experiencing severe difficulties in studying find out how to reside once more after the warfare.
What led you to decide on this time (1945) and place (Leningrad) because the setting for the movie?
My major inspiration was the guide “The Unwomanly Face of Battle” by Svetlana Alexievich, which opened up an entire new world for me. I got here to understand how little I knew in regards to the warfare and about girls within the battle. This led me to a different thought: What would occur to a girl after the warfare, when there’s a tectonic shift in her thoughts, her nature?
Leningrad survived a horrible siege and the results of that had been an vital a part of the movie. It was vital for me to really feel this house and background within the movie, and you’ll really feel this even now in as we speak’s Leningrad.
How would you describe the psychological state of the 2 central feminine characters?
The easiest way to explain their inside state is to say it’s in ruins.
The synopsis describes the town as wanting like a “terminally unwell particular person.” How is the aftermath of warfare portrayed within the movie?
You possibly can see the aftermath of warfare within the house the place the motion takes place, and the colour palette of the movie, however most significantly within the faces of our heroines. It was vital to indicate the results of warfare of their faces and eyes, not simply via deserted or destroyed buildings.
Does the movie discover a modern-day resonance in latest conflicts?
Sure I imagine so however solely usually talking as a result of the nuances of this story are totally different. One of many issues that makes this movie precious as a chunk of artwork is that it takes place particularly within the 1940s.
Your final movie “Closeness” had a definite coloration palette. Can we see one thing comparable in “Beanpole”?
That is my second movie and I’m nonetheless trying to find my type. The function and significance of the colour palette is totally different to “Closeness” however it nonetheless performs a significant function due to the environment of the movie. I might describe the palette as rusty — the rust of life.