Krzysztof Zanussi: "We don't see evil's potential soon enough"
Polish director Krzysztof Zanussi arrived in Moscow for a retrospective of his films dedicated to his 80th birthday. The program included 11 films, including "The Year of the Calm Sun", "Сamouflage", "The Death of a Provincial", "Hypothesis", "Spiral", "Computers", and Ether, which Russian viewers will see for the first time. "Ether" is another film adaptation of the story of Dr. Faust. Zanussi transfers the events of this story to the First World War tomes, during which military doctor makes experiments to gain unlimited power over people.
"The film is co-produced by Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Hungary and Italy - countries located between the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean Seas. This is a special part of Europe: some things divide us, but some things also unite us. The story of Faust is a very European myth, nothing like that appeares in other cultures. When we think that it’s safe around us, that we are going in the right direction, we're not afraid of evil, but we must remember that evil is a dynamic force," Zanussi says.
According to the director, this film was based on the book “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil”, written by Hannah Arendt, who was present as a correspondent at the Adolf Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem in 1961. He was in charge of the Gestapo department, which was responsible for "final solution of the Jewish issue." "Speaking of the banality of evil, Hannah Arendt meant that Eichmann was a simple man, but the evil he brought was enormous. We don't see evil's potential hidden in the world soon enough. The task of art is to show that this danger is real. We imagine ourselves to be angels and look at our ancestors as barbarians who resorted to violence. But we are not better than them. This moral is relevant for any generation," Zanussi believes.