The director brought to life a dystopian past on a 13,000 square meter set in Ukraine, filmed for 700 hours as in a sort of Truman Show
«Everything has been said: that I am a dictator, a sadist. That mine would be a perverse experiment, with the participants involved in who knows what brutality… ». On the phone from Moscow, Ilya Khrzhanovsky, 46, has in mind the endless list of controversies and accusations that have accompanied her project since the birth “Give”. Dau, nickname of Lev Landau, Nobel laureate scientist, one of the fathers of the Soviet atomic bomb and quantum physics, the starting point of this daring journey. Which puts string theory into practice giving birth to a parallel world where 400 human beings are catapulted into a dystopian past, recreated on a 13,000 square meter set in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Where everything, from clothes to food, from underwear to objects and speech, was exactly as it was when he was there, the mustachioed and feared Stalin. Thirty years of the USSR enclosed in a space-time bubble where living and acting are the same thing – explains Ilya -. A journey into a time machine from which, as happens in black holes, no one, myself included, has come out the same as they had entered. Three years together day and night changed everyone’s lives. We loved and hated each other, relationships were born, children… Was there real sex on the set? Yes. Violence? No. Moreover, whoever accepts to enter the Dau world, is aware of what he is doing, can withdraw at any moment ».
A Soviet Truman Show
And now, that of this fluvial narrative puzzle that brings together cinema and theater, science and religion, filmed for 700 hours by Jürgen Jürges, the first of 13 films is about to be released, Natasha, from today in theaters distributed by Theodora, Khrzhanovsky suggests to those who go to see him to play the game, immersing themselves without fear in the dark whirlpools of this Soviet Truman Show. Like all performers, Natasha, the protagonist of this first chapter, is not an actress. Natalia Berezhnaya was a dressmaker. «I chose her for her beautiful face, her painful gaze. The selections were long and complex, attended by over 300,000 inhabitants of Kharkiv, artists, waiters, students, policemen, all willing to leave their lives and work, cell phones and internet, to move to another universe ». With them, a group of real scientists, real shamans and rabbis, real ex KGB, real neo-Nazi criminals specializing in vandalism, someone ended up in jail. In this claustrophobic institute, Natasha is in charge of the canteen. With his colleague Olya he serves brilliant and quirky researchers at the table, jokes with them, gets drunk with them. With one, Luc Bigé, Wilhelm Reich’s orgone energy theorist, goes to bed. What you see leaves no doubt about the truthfulness. «Whoever joins Dau renounces social responsibility. You are yourself and you are not, but if you look at yourself in another you are freer to look at yourself ».
Scenes of violence
The offending scene, however, is another. During a violent interrogation of a KGB agent, Natasha suffers unreportable violence. “In the crudest moments – assures Ilya – fiction has taken over”. The pig slaughtered in the finale of another of the films was evidently not informed. On the other hand Vladimir Azhippo, Natasha’s sadistic torturer, who was really part of the KGB and was known in the world for his less urban methods, thanks to Dau has had a sort of conversion. “After the film he changed his life, until his death in 2017, he was president of Amnesty International in Ukraine”. Miracles of an experiment bordering on reality, whose visionary and voyeuristic madness involved artists such as Isabelle Huppert, Gérard Depardieu, Isabelle Adjani, Marina Abramovic, Brian Eno, Peter Sellars, Romeo Castellucci in the installations created in Paris and Berlin. And among the scientists, the Nobel Prize in physics David Gross, Nikita Nekrasov, Shing-Tung Yau, Carlo Rovelli. As for Landau, who does not appear in this first chapter, we will discover him in the next films with the ecstatic face of Teodor Currentzis, conductor known for having created in Perm, Siberia, a community of musicians linked by a mystical understanding. A Russian oligarch, Sergei Adoniev, who was sentenced in the US to 20 years for fraud and trafficking in cocaine, financed this enterprise. Putin seems to have thought about subscribing the sentence. Which is certainly not Stalin, but in terms of censorship, violence, blackmail, he does not go for the subtle. Is Big Brother’s eye always the same? “It happened in Soviet Russia and it still happens today. Nothing has changed, the totalitarian bubble still exists in people’s heads. Then the ideals made that contrast stronger, today the cynicism makes it more obscenely acceptable ».
August 26, 2021 (change August 26, 2021 | 07:32 am)