The Return – Interview with director Andrei Zvyagintsev
Rarely has a first novel was praised as high as The Return by Andrei Zvyagintsev. The prices gradezu overwhelmed with the young Russian film director starts 1 April in Germany. Alexei Karakhan spoke with the young Russian director.
How do you explain the resounding success of The Return – The return of festivals?
I find it hard to say why the film Auswahlkommitees so popular among the various film festivals was. But what reason did you have any, can not overestimate the importance of this phenomenon, it can only be underestimated. Such things happen maybe once in a lifetime. At the moment I live in a feeling of happiness that came totally unexpected. While we made the film, I always hoped that he would be selected from any large festival, and sometimes I say to my actors and let the team: We are working really hard, because one day we will climb the ladder to Cannes.
Does this mean that the festival success was calculated in advance?
No, it was not him. Although we will often said that we have operated in a highly aesthetic, which is popular in the West, it’s just a reflection of my taste and less of an attempt to please Selection Committee of the festival. And I hope that those who choose the movies you have seen him and have seen in my film, not only the personal drama of a father-son relationship, but also its deeper meaning.
What are the meanings shown in your movie?
I had vowed that I would not talk about what I can see in my film. I will leave the audience the film. I want the audience to decide for themselves what they dislike about the film, what they understand is not in him, why they like him – not that the comments directed them to come in the way.
After the screening, many critics of the atmosphere in her film with have compared Tarkovkis work. What do you think about this?
For a Russian director, it is impossible not to feel Tarkovskis overarching influence. Perhaps because he is the greatest individualist in our cinema. So I’m flattered when critics identify such similarities. Perhaps in the way in which time flows in my film. Whatever – I tried not to imitate Tarkovsky, nor to quote him.
There are many biblical themes in The Return – The return, although by and large not properly be said that the Film of religiosity is. Why?
You should not talk out loud about sacred or important meanings: When we talk about these things start evaporating, and immediately all of what is magical and sacred. One should not talk about what is of real importance, but only hint at it. This I have tried to do in my film.
Do you think that the return of the prodigal father had any significance, and it has helped your characters?
No meeting is in its essence meaningless. If a meeting would not be necessary, then it quite easy to find non-existent. The story is not a purely personal nature, it allows things to happen purely randomly. Everything here has a meaning, everything is preordained. This meeting has brought something good to someone? When we look at this meeting, but as something sacred, then it needs everyone equally. We can draw a parallel with an Eastern tradition: A meeting will be as important as the teacher for his pupil. But to be honest with you, I would not wish further to skip over it. Ask questions for which we must either go out of their way of answer, or immerse, but deeper into the film. And I have already stated that I would not do so willingly.
Then, I introduce you to the superficial question that comes to my mind. What’s in the box that represents the destination of the journey of father and sons?
It’s a secret. And actually this is not really important. It contains a secret that will disappear along with the mysterious father.
Alexei Karakhan ("Kommersant", courtesy of Movienet film distribution)