Workshop with Nikita Mikhalkov
In The Damned Yard cinema, there was not enough space for those who wanted to attend The Exodus - Burnt by the Sun 2, the new movie by the great, Russian film director, Nikita Mikhalkov.
In the beginning of the workshop, the founder and host, Emir Kusturica, thanked Mikhalkov for coming to Kustendorf again and stressed the importance of showing a movie that discusses things that we are slowly beginning to forget. Kusturica invited the famous film director to be a guest of the festival next year as well, and to show the third part of the movie. Addressing the audience and visitors of Kustendorf 2011, Mikhalkov said that today’s audience doesn’t like to watch these kinds of movie, that they are unpleasant for them and that they don’t see a reason for filming a movie such as his own, adding that,
- It is very dangerous. If we forget the past, we will become vulnerable and we will lose our identity. The absence of genetic memory will not save us from tragedy.
Mikhalkov explained that he worked on this movie for eight years, exploring historical literature, archives, and documents. He feels that The Exodus – Burnt by the Sun 2 discusses the war; that it is a story about the metaphysics of destruction, while the sequel is a story of the metaphysics of construction in which the theme of love dominates. He noted that his idea was to present what World War II looked like because there are people who did not fight it on their territory so the cannot understand what war actually is and what victims and destruction mean. Mentioning that the abstract discussions of democracy have not succeeded in preventing contemporary wars, and reminding the audience on the 1999 NATO bombings on Yugoslavia, Mikhalkov included that,
- It is one thing when someone flies at an altitude of 10,000 meters in a warm cabin when a computer tells him what to do and the goal is, and knowing that he can return to the base before his coffee gets cold. It’s completely different when you’re on land and you’re fighting for your country, for your nation, on your own territory.
Stating that he constantly reevaluated himself and thought about those essential questions like, “What is the truth? Is there justice? Whose blame is it? Why did someone have to die and others to survive? Why does it have to come to conflict?” Mikhalkov said that he thinks tragedy frequently comes from nowhere, that some small event or gesture can instantly morph into tragedy, going on to say,
- When something like that happens, then we turn to God and wonder why, and not for what reasons something like that occurred.
Answering the numerous questions from the audience, Mikhalkov told the young film creators that atmosphere, the energy that comes from their works, and the authenticity of it, are the most important elements in film.
Mikhalkov ended the workshop by declaring,
- Yesterday I was able to see three excellent movies that are competing for the awards of the festival. I am enchanted by the quality of those movies, their originality, and the freshness of expression, and that says a lot about the enormity of this festival as well as its importance. Many great worldwide film festivals could admire Kustendorf for that -and was then followed out by shouts of joy and applause.