Krzysztof Zanussi: people in Siberia have more liberty

30 Окт 2008, 18:59 Один из культовых деятелей современности, польский кино- и театральный режиссер, сценарист и преподаватель Кшиштоф Занусси в четвертый раз посетил Новосибирск. ТАЙГА.info предлагает интервью с ним на английском языке. Krzysztof Zanussi, one of the most outstanding contemporary personalities artist, a Polish director of cinema and theater, a scriptwriter and a professor has visited Novosibirsk the fourth time. presents you the interview with Zanussi in English.

Один из культовых деятелей современности, польский кино- и театральный режиссер, сценарист и преподаватель Кшиштоф Занусси в четвертый раз посетил Новосибирск. ТАЙГА.info предлагает интервью с ним на английском языке. Krzysztof Zanussi, one of the most outstanding contemporary personalities artist, a Polish director of cinema and theater, a scriptwriter and a professor has visited Novosibirsk the fourth time. presents you the interview with Zanussi in English. The last time you were in Novosibirsk you gave an idea that the narrative art contained the memory of the generations’ experience, of our forefathers’ wisdom. Could we say that we mistake because we haven’t read a book or seen a film in due time?

- I’m sure it’s true. Wisdom gets stored in memory. We can not obtain the whole world experience, we can not meet all the interesting people. But the mass media including books gives us chance to widen our personal experience. Just imagine, how many people you can come across in your life, how many stories you can hear. A certain number, but not large. These stories often don’t contain any verity while artworks are always searching this verity (only such art makes a sense!), they are the ones that present the complexity of the human destiny. That is the beauty of the narrative art! It only makes possible the expression of the generations’ experience. All has just told concerns modern Russia in particular. A tragedy occurred in your country – your memory was interrupted. Your people don’t know their forefathers because of ideology. Their achievements are not important, the fact you have their genes is of great importance but you have no idea of it. If your forefather made some mistakes in his life you would probably make them again. But if you knew them you could avoid them. I constantly say: what was the reason of your grandfather’s death? You can be 99% sure you will die of the same disease. But the disease can be cured on time! If your grandfather had a heart attack you should pay more attention to your heart condition. If we knew the same way how our forefathers fell in love, what they did in their life, what they did with enthusiasm, how long they kept it and in what way they lost it, it would be an important prompt. And if you don’t have personal, family reflections you have much more significant to use the experience of the theater, cinema and literature. Definitely, you have to select carefully because there are foolish, false and evil things in presenting of life. It’s up to you to choose what is wise and veritable. As we mentioned Russia, here is the following question. You gave lectures on the Higher courses for directors in Moscow and you can see the way young people change every year. You said once: “… it is a different style, a different way of behavior, but it is still extension of the Russian soul and Russian mentality…”. Does it mean that a Russian director, a Russian actor, a Russian can recognize everywhere?

- I’d rather say I see this difference as the difference between Latin Occident and Orthodox Orient. Orthodox mentality is completely different, Russians have much more in common with Greeks than with French or Poles. This is on the one hand but on the other hand it is the large state with its own traditions and its own experience which differs from the other counties’ experiences and this eventually determines Russian national character. From your point of view what are the relations between religion and culture? Is religion a part of culture or the contrary? Is it possible the art that has nothing to do with God or a religion without artworks?

- Both are possible but undesirable (he smiles). The inspire of religion, faith, metaphysics is very important for culture. On the other side any faith needs to be expressed in art. The art is a certain synthesis of symbolism, a synthetic expression of the inexpressible. The art realizes in material the things that concern spirit, that escape, slip through fingers. In this sense these two realities need each other. You are the member of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Could you tell about relations between modern culture and the major values of the Christian mind. Is there the opposite development between them?

- There is a great adverse development. It has been for two centuries since the French Revolution. Everything started up that times and strengthened under Marx and Engels influence. That is postmodernism and it deeply antagonizes to religious ideas, it tries to represent life in a completely different way. I resist that, I don’t believe that, I hope it will reveal its fallibility. A human has no progress without religious ideas because a human cannot live only in the material dimension. Of course, there are people whose life fills with materiality; their choice has to be respected. But I don’t agree with them (he smiles). You mentioned several times the Euratlantic civilizations’ competition where Russia with Europe and America participate with Islamic civilizations, China, India.

- We have common south-christian origins with Russia but they are not my native ones. It is like there is your own family and other’s.
Is peaceful co-existence of different civilizations possible? Can civilizations’ competition turn into a sort of festival, a variety of equal cultures?

- It is impossible. Can you imagine Olympic Games turned into a festival? You told once that the proportion between Hollywood and European films included home-produced ones is about 50/50 in Poland . What do you think about the huge popularity of the Hollywood production all over the world?

- This proportion is not constant, it depends on season. There were several seasons when Polish films got almost half of the audience. Now American civilization is supposed to be the winner. It is enough to look at lines standing in front of American consulates. If people want American visa it means America is more interesting for them. Who from scientists don’t know that the USA gives more possibilities to growth than any other country? We all know that. But it is not so bad because America consists of us as well. America - it is all the world’s countries. There are so many Russians, Poles, Jews, Czechs, Irelands in America – all the world’s countries created this cooperative named America. Of course America often annoys us, it often despites us but it is like our daughter. She is grown up and often comports improperly, but she is still our daughter. The last time you’ve been here you specified some stereotypes about Siberia. The first – the punishment, the exile to Siberia. The second – huge spaces. The third – Siberian frost. From your point of view do these stereotypes favour the region’s creative growth or they impede it?

- Stereotypes are necessary. They are a sort of icons or signs. If somebody says “Japan” I have to have a certain conception of this country, a certain image. The more exact and rich image, the less limitation I have. But I can’t begin my search without any image. I hear a name and have no associations; I hear “Tahiti” and have no idea of what it is. It is better to use some stereotypes. It is another matter that stereotypes are different. Some of them are more exact, developed, rich and complex, others are completely wrong. From this point of view the stereotypes about Siberia are not wrong, but aspects they accentuate are not the most important. Siberia is the most freedom part of the Earth, the space liberates the mind. This stereotype is positive. And Akademgorodok proves that. Perhaps, it’s not quite true today .

- I know how many people from Akademgorodok work in America. Nevertheless I consider Siberian mind as a form of Russian one and I suppose it is the most treasure here. There is no as great pressuring bureaucratic and functionary pyramid in Siberia as in Moscow . What do the Europeans know about Siberian art?

- You know, things merge if you look from afar. In times of the Soviet Union we didn’t even know what soviet films where produced in republics because all of them where dubbed into Russian. We wondered why films were Azerbaijanian or Georgian but characters spoke Russian. Sovexportfilm principle was never show films in native language. We found out much later that the films had another original language. We still can’t understand from afar whether this art is Siberian or not. But we have feeling that people can breathe deeper here. In our time of airplanes and Internet the province means not the outlying place but the place where people can be unhurried. This is positive moment nowdays. Can a human live without art? For example, you tell the people in Church that culture is the sphere to participate in and that they shouldn’t turn their backs on it. Whose duty to tell the common people, that culture is the important part of their life?

- It has to be an inner need. Who can tell me what I need? If I am hungry I’m looking for food. But people often are incapable to identify spiritual famine. And we have to feel hunger, it’s quite normal! If one is attentive to himself he will understand that he needs for culture or art but if he is not, he won’t notice that. There are people with weak heart that don’t notice their disease until they get to the hospital. The true art is  where a mystery and something unknown exists. Are you always ready to meet them?

- No, I’m afraid of mystery, I try to escape it, it’s a natural instinct, but I have to overcome it. There is the following dialectics. On the one hand I am a coward and lazy person, I am afraid of unknown but on the other hand this is my virtue to meet the mystery, to meet my Destiny.

by Alina Khabirova

Krzysztof Zanussi
was born on the 17th of June, 1939 in Warsaw. Studied physics at Warsaw University (1955-1959) and philosophy at the Jagiellonian University (1959-1962) in Kraków. Since 1958 used to filmed several amateur movies that won a number of prizes. Entered the director department of the Lodz Film School and graduated it in 1966. The author of a whole number of documentaries and video movies including “Face to face “ (1967) and “Pass” (1968). His first full-length film “The Structure of Crystals” (1969) defined his place in Polish cinema and gave him reputation of a cold rationalist and impartial examiner of modern Polish intellectuals’ moral, the one who stages the most complex existential problems. Krzysztof Zanussi is the author of several collections of telescripts and books including “Discourse on an amateur film” (1978) and “It’s time to Die” (1997). Krzysztof Zanussi received several prizes and awards, including the David di Donatello Prize of the Accademia del Cinema Italiano.

The conversation took place in “Pobeda” cinema during the retrospective show of Zanussi’s films before the Russian premiere of his new film “Black sun”. Photo of Zanussi provided by "Pobeda" cinema.

Интервью с Занусси на русском языке.

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