On Sunday 28 September the Russian Oscar committee met to determine our contender for the Academy Award in the category “Best Foreign Language Film.” Their choice fell on the film by Andrei Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan”.
In recent years, the committee chronically unlucky all nominated films they did not reach until the “short-list”, which allows the film officially considered nominated for “Oscar”. Possible in the first place because the committee members tried to guess the possible tastes of American academics or focused on the commercial success of the paintings in the domestic box office on its big name director. But the game is in the “guessing game”, as shown, has never led to success in such a serious matter – because art as in such cases are taken into account in the last turn.
the development of the theme
The greatest chance to be among the nominees were, of course, the two films – Andrei Zvyagintsev’s drama “Leviathan” and in many ways groundbreaking film by Andrei Konchalovsky’s “White Nights postman Alexei Tryapitsyna.” The first was not only the most prestigious prize of the Cannes Film Festival for best screenplay, but also numerous awards at other festivals and almost unprecedented level of enthusiasm the international press. This film, like its author, has developed a strong reputation in the world, new works Zvyagintsev always waiting with great interest, and this time, according to the world’s leading newspapers, he took off his best picture. “Lefiafan” is already out in the car in some theaters of Russia, so that compliance with the formal conditions of the Academy it is also all right. A significant role in his life in the world screens, as well as in the promotion of the award, will play and that his car came from one of the largest companies – Sony Classics.
On the eve of the meeting of Andrei Konchalovsky, also received the prestigious award – Venice Film Festival Silver Lion for Best Director – wrote a letter to the chairman of the Russian Oscar committee, Vladimir Menchov, which shot his film from the list of applicants. His position, he put it, “In recent years, I am quite sharply criticized Hollywoodization Russian market and the pernicious influence of the commercial American cinema on the formation of tastes and preferences of our audience. Due to this struggle for the possession of premium Hollywood seems to me simply absurd.” In the absence of the film Konchalovsky majority of the members voted for the “Leviathan”.
“… the Americans Himeyere I heard back in 2008, we long walk around this figure. Later came another source: Heinrich von Kleist’s novella “Michael Kolhaas.” These two stories – just twins, even had a thought – whether to make a film based on Kleist?
The theme of the film … finally formed, when we went to Hobbes. He believed that man – a “war of all against all,” and in an attempt to protect themselves from the people of this war created a state, giving all of their sovereign freedom in exchange for social benefits and security. Hobbes considered the most perfect way out. (the name of the biblical monster called the work of Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher: “Leviathan, or the Matter, Form and Power of ecclesiastical and civil” – Ed.) … I thought was important, that a person sacrifices his freedom in exchange for social security and the security of justice. It is, in fact, deal with the devil: to give his freedom in exchange for the illusion. And what is this if not an illusion – all of these guarantees?
… Initially, our script was different: house demolition is not the main character as a residence, and under the federal highway. And since Himeyer in a similar situation took the caterpillar tractor, soldered inside a multi-ton of armor and carried a factory, with whom he had a lawsuit – and then our hero in the first embodiment, the tractor demolition of the building of the city administration. But we felt that something was wrong, something stirs, not a final here! And it’s a solution: Nicholas does not reach the desperate revolt, he just quietly goes nowhere. It is this final, I think, gives a sense of truth, crushing your spirit and at the same time elevating him over what’s happening.
… Here it is: the story happened in America and could happen anywhere – but the details are taken entirely in Russia “.
Letter Andrei Konchalovsky
Chairman of the Russian Oscar Committee VV Menchov.
24 September, 2014
Dear Vladimir V.!
For various reasons I have not been following the events after the Venice Film Festival, and was not notified that my film “White Nights postman Alexei Tryapitsyna” was qualified for consideration Oscar committee for the nomination.
I would like to inform you that I revoke the film from consideration by the Committee, and ask him not to discuss. The reasons for this are two – personal and social.
In recent years, I am quite sharply criticized Hollywoodization Russian market and a detrimental effect of commercial American cinema on the formation of tastes and preferences of our audience. In connection with this struggle for the possession of premium Hollywood, it seems to me simply absurd.
On the other hand – herself an Academy Award today is extremely overvalued certain part of the filmmakers, it creates the illusion of global recognition and is a kind of testament to the indisputable qualities cinematographic, that is natural, not a fact.
The very wording of the category “Best Film at the” foreign language “- should raise a laugh at the film artists of the world, in fact, is the segregation of world cinema from the anglophone world (USA, England, Australia and New Zealand), which is in my opinion, is moribund Western idea of its cultural dominance.
In the modern world, the development of world film culture has long been determined not massive success or psevdoamerikanskogo American cinema, and artists from Asia, Latin America, the Far East, including Russia. I can not even rule out the creation of the world in the future of the cinema, where a separate category will be allocated “a film in English”.
In view of the above, I ask you to delete ” White Nights “from the list of films discussed.