Yuri Vasilyev: "Baku is a great place for filming"
On November 4 Russia celebrated the Day of National Unity. Yesterday, Russia's "Channel One" broadcasted television premiere of the film "Hero", directed by Yuri Vasilyev. The events of this movie take place during the First World War, the February Revolution and then the Civil War. Yuri Vasilyev discussed his movie and Azerbaijan in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza. First part: "Yuri Vasilyev: ten astonishing things in Baku"
- Your movie is about emigration. This topic is being discussed everywhere since this year is the 100th anniversary of revolution. What do you think about those events?
- Based on the discussions I see, I understand that there are still many different positions on this issue. But it seems that common sense, discussions without shouting, without fighting and without conflicts should prevail. I showed this movie to descendants of white emigration who returned Russia. These people are 30-35-years-old. They work in Russian schools, they are doctors, they organize scout camps, take our children to France. I met many descendants of the first wave of emigration in Paris, and I was amazed by how they love to talk about Russia. There's an inscription on the monuments in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois: "God Save Russia". I'm a Soviet man, a former member of Komsomol and a communist, but I always had a feeling that these people had to suffer because of injustice.
Revolution made the country follow completely different path. In this movie, I showed how people reacted to emperor's abdication, what officers said. People who went through war fainted when they heard this message. Its a movie about how everybody has to make a choice during these historical events. Someone becomes a traitor, someone does what he must do till the end, even though he understands he will perish.
Now we have this wonderful movement "Immortal Regiment". I participated in this march two years in a row. It's amazing. It's real. When Poklonnaya Gora was built, people from Germany came to work there. I have a friend from Germany. His ancestors were held captive in Russia. He says: "We apologise to Russia." He gave Russian names to his three children - Masha, Dasha and Yasha.
- You also presented your movie in Azerbaijan. After the collapse of the USSR, level of Russian language began to drop in many republics. Have you ever had a situation when you couldn't find a common language with someone?
- There were problems in Lithuania, but Azerbaijan has amazing Russian schools, so there were no problems.
- What can you say about filming in Azerbaijan?
- I really fell in love with historical films. I think that Baku is beautiful place, it's a great place for filming. Historical films can be very beautiful, there are a lot of costume, you have to think about the terrain, the landscape. There are many possibilities in Azerbaijan. The development of culture and art really depends on the country's leader. President of Azerbaijan is a modern, intelligent man. When he builds relations with anyone, he puts his country's interests at the center. In addition, people of Azerbaijan respect Russian schools and Russian language.
- You manage to pursue both directing and acting. A couple of years ago you were in Azerbaijan as an actor. Is Baku theater different from Moscow or any other? What do they think about Russian theater in the capital of Azerbaijan?
- It costs a lot to take your theater on a tour, so people are missing their favorite actors. Baku viewer is always waiting for you. The reception there was crazy. We sang songs to the Minister of Culture, and they took us to amazing restaurants. They were very hospitable. In Moscow, viewers react to performances in different ways on different days. On Monday, after the weekend, it's hard for them, on Friday - they welcome you, before the New Year's day - the atmosphere is tense. In Baku - you always expect applause.
We have connections with Baku thanks to director of the Moscow Academic Theater of Satire Mamedali Agayev. He's a wonderful director, a unique person. He idolizes all elderly actors. He's a man who has no envy. He's happy when actors buy cars, apartments. He had a wonderful teacher - Gennady Mikhailovich Zelman, chief administrator of the theater. He has an amazing family, which we all know, which we love. He builds this connection with Azerbaijan, and it's really great. Recently he was awarded with the Order of Friendship. He now has two orders - Russian and Azerbaijani. We're truly glad for him.