Tuesday, 08 January 2013

"Innocent Saturday" was presented at the main competition of Berlin International Film Festival

February, 14th 2010

The press conference for the film took place the same day. Director Alexander Mindadze, while he was answering the questions of the journalists, mentioned: "I had long wanted to shoot a Тfilmic metaphorУ about the Chernobyl catastrophe. Not a documentary, not a blockbuster, not a film about who pressed the wrong button when... What really fascinated me was the question as to why people who knew about the catastrophe did NOT escape the city. Perhaps because the danger was invisible? For people who live unreflectingly, obliviously, who are satisfied with their everyday lives - for them it is the many little pleasant aspects of life that become increasingly valuable in such circumstances. When life has become intolerable and is reaching its end, it blossoms one last time before it vanishes...

This is what happens in the film. Valery, an insignificant young Communist Party trainer, accidentally finds out what happened during the night. Driven by fear, he grabs Vera, the girl who means the most to him, and tries to escape with her. But the heel of her shoe breaks before they're able to reach the station. Of course she needs a new pair of shoes, right away. OK, only the shoes, and then they're off. By car, on foot, no matter - the main thing is that they've got to flee. But now she needs her passport, which she left as security with her musician friends at a hotel. So now Valery runs into his old friends, in whose band he played percussion for several years. There are still lots of scores to be settled: who betrayed whom, who saved whom... There's jealousy, alcohol... In the end, Valery ends up traveling to the very heart of the catastrophe instead of away from it, literally in the same boat as Vera and his pals.

I don't know if it's because of the Russian mentality... I think it's a feeling that people have everywhere. A general feeling that's easier for us to understand because our history has helped us to cope with critical situations. When I met with Anton Shagin after he read the script, he told me: I'm not sure that I can do it. I have to find special buttons to press within me. This statement motivated me. I find him totally different in our film than how we know him otherwise on screen. Anton is a great Russian actor I don't know anyone I could compare him with. Valery Kabysh, Anton's character, cannot stop life, since it's stronger than death. That's why this story is positive, despite the dramatic circumstances.

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