The Sputnik over Poland Russian film festival has finished in Warsaw, which once again confirmed the inviolability of Russian-Polish cinematic friendship. One of its manifestations is the classic of world cinema, director Jerzy Hoffman (“The Flood”, “Pan Volodyevsky”, “With Fire and Sword”). The master spent his childhood in Siberia, and his youth in Moscow. Today he is working on a new film – “The Battle of Warsaw. 1920”. When we visited Mr. Goffman in his editing studio in Warsaw, the director suggested wearing fashionable 3D glasses and showed a short excerpt. The effect of being on the battlefield was impressive
The Sputnik over Poland Russian film festival has finished in Warsaw, which once again confirmed the inviolability of Russian-Polish cinematic friendship. One of its manifestations is the classic of world cinema, director Jerzy Hoffman (“The Flood”, “Pan Volodyevsky”, “With Fire and Sword”). The master spent his childhood in Siberia, and his youth in Moscow. Today he is working on a new film – “The Battle of Warsaw. 1920”. The Izvestia columnist visited Mr. Goffman in his editing studio in Warsaw. The director suggested wearing trendy 3D glasses and showed a short excerpt. The effect of being on the battlefield was impressive.
Izvestia: Why did you choose this format for your new film?
Jerzy Hoffman: We are the first in Europe to shoot a full-fledged 3D cinema on location, not on a green screen, as science fiction films are usually shot. Even TVs are already being released in 3D! So why should those who make films persist?
Q: You decided on an experiment when the technologies have not yet been worked out.
Goffman: This is so interesting! I am glad that I agreed with the proposal of our cameraman – the classic of Polish and Hollywood cinema Slawomir Idzyak (“The Decalogue”, “The Fall of the Black Hawk”, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” – “Izvestia”). The spectacle in 3D looks very impressive. If the bulk of the cinema goers – and these are people between the ages of 14 and 25 – are already accustomed to this format, then I have to comply with it. I am responsible to investors for the box office. By age I am already a grandfather, but this does not mean at all that I have to shoot a “grandfather” movie.
Q: You spoke about responsibility to investors. Decipher, please.
Goffman: Then we will have to remember the experience of the 1990s, when my producer Jerzy Mikhaluk and I conceived the screen version of the first novel from Sienkiewicz’s trilogy “With Fire and Sword”. During the times of the Warsaw bloc, they could not do this for political reasons – the authorities were afraid of offending Soviet Ukraine. But the bloc fell, and so did the censorship. And government funding along with them. And all my life I dreamed of making “With Fire and Sword”. And then Jerzy and I mortgaged our apartments, dachas and a car to boot. The bank issued the amounts strictly on schedule and monitored expenses even more closely. And it was necessary to have time to remove and close the estimate by a certain date, otherwise there would be fines. The market test was tough, but Jerzy and I – two “grandfathers” – invited young professionals to the film crew and were not mistaken. After six weeks of rental, the bank sent a letter that we no longer owe him anything.
Q: After the film “With Fire and Sword” Alexander Domogarov was recognized in Poland as a star.
Goffman: Awesome charisma and talent actor. He became our national hero. And in my new film he plays the vivid role of a Russian Cossack.
Q: Why did you turn to the events of 1920? They said that you are writing a script about your childhood in Siberia.
Goffman: Yes, I did several versions of the script, but I couldn’t manage to put the entertaining stories into a coherent whole. Suddenly, businessmen turned to me and offered to work on the theme of the Warsaw battle. They offered money both for the preparatory period and for the creation of the script. Then the Polish Film Institute joined in with finances, and my film company also added money. The editing period is now underway. The premiere is scheduled for September 19, 2011. I invite you in advance.
And thanks. But are you not afraid that in Russia your film about Tukhachevsky’s campaign to Warsaw will be perceived ambiguously? Pan Wajda for Katyn got …
Goffman: My co-author Jaroslav Sokol and I used all open documents. Was there a hike? Was. Tukhachevsky could not fulfill Lenin’s decree? I couldn’t. The plans for a worldwide revolution have been stopped for a while? There were. And the speeches of Trotsky, Dzerzhinsky, Stalin in our film are authentic. But I didn’t make documentaries. It’s just that the life of most heroes takes place against a historical background. One of the heroines named Sofya Nikolaevna is played by your beauty Olga Kabo. The film also has characters suggested by the prose of Babel and Sholokhov. In Poland, they also said: they say, the anti-Polish film “1612” was shot in Russia. I looked at it and made sure: there is nothing “anti” in it. As nothing “anti” will not be in my picture. I grew up in Siberia and cannot make anti-Russian films.
Q: How did your family end up in Siberia?
Goffman: We lived in the town of Gorlice, near the Czech border. In 1938, the Munich conspiracy took place. My parents, knowing what fascism brings with them, moved to the east of Poland – to the city of Ternopil. In 1939 the Red Army entered there, and it turned out that we were no longer in Poland, but in Soviet Ukraine. When the exile to Siberia began, our family was included in these lists. Thank God we were taken out in the summer. But a great paradox happened in my life. From our “Siberian” branch we lost only four, and from the branch that remained in Poland, more than twenty people died in German concentration camps.
Q: You returned to the USSR in 1950 to study. Did the Soviet regime frighten you?
Goffman: Everything inhuman, cruel and incredibly evil was from the authorities, not people. Thanks to the attitude of ordinary people towards us, our family was able to survive in Siberia and return to their homeland. And therefore, leaving for Moscow, I was not afraid of anything or anyone.
I: I studied at VGIK in the 1980s. And I heard many legends about you. For example, about how you, excuse me, got drunk on your teacher Vladimir Belokurov, who plays the role of the legendary pilot Valery Chkalov.
Goffman: It’s true. Vladimir Vyacheslavovich himself came up to me and asked: “Are you the Pole who is said to have a good drink?” And he invited me to the Sovetskiy restaurant, formerly Yar, where the old luxury has been preserved. And there were also waiters who had served since tsarist times. Belokurov and I went to a restaurant bar, and he suggested to me: “We drink LNG – that’s what they called 150 grams, spin on bar stools, and then hit each other on the shoulder. Whoever falls down first pays.” Belokurov knew that, as a foreigner, I received a scholarship larger than the Stalinist scholar. After four LNGs, I defeated Vladimir Vyacheslavovich. Youth has won. After this evening I enjoyed great respect with Vladimir Vyacheslavovich. He took me around Moscow at night, showed me old brothels and underground taverns. They drank beer and ate crayfish. We even went to see the gypsies in Khimki. There was excellent cuisine there. And how they sang!
Q: This was in Stalin’s Moscow ?!
Goffman: Yes. Until 12 at night, restaurants began to work only under Khrushchev. And before that they were open until morning. True, very few people went there. For a Soviet person, this was considered indecent. But there were foreigners.
Q: What else do you remember from your life in Moscow?
Goffman: Stalin’s funeral. VGIK was in the convoy in full force. But on Trubnaya Square, which was later called “cadaveric” for a long time, there was a crush. And I, Edik Skuzhevsky, and another student from Hungary went towards Gorky Street. The Hungarian was in a huge hat, Edik was in a funny hat, I was in Polish officers’ boots, in a trench coat, but with a red tie. And they began to tell the soldiers, who were standing in a cordon, that “we should beat the delegation, but get lost, and we should be told that it is not necessary to go where the tolpa is, but to go where there is no tolpa.” So we reached the Column Hall of the House of Unions. Suddenly, a number of officers parted – and they let us in! We walked among the wreaths, approached the coffin. All the spotlights are on us, the film reporters are filming. These tapes should be in the Krasnogorsk archive. But when they came out, they gave a drapak – already the heels sparkled. It was scary that they would be caught, exposed.
I: Moscow is not only memories of fighting youth …
Goffman: Yes, the main thing is the people with whom fate brought me together. One of such happy moments is friendship with Vladimir Vysotsky. When Volodya went to Paris via Warsaw, he stayed at my house. I am so sorry that our joint film project with Volodya and Daniel Olbrykhsky about three pilots did not happen.
Q: And what about your documentary epic “Ukraine. Formation of a Nation”?
Goffman: In Ukraine, they tried twice to buy our cinema, but during the negotiations the authorities changed, and our film did not coincide with the political situation. I could not praise the Orange Revolution, which deceived its constituents.
Q: Share the secret of your inexhaustible energy.
Goffman: I am a Siberian. He returned to Poland at the age of thirteen as a real man who survived a stabbing and learned the taste of alcohol, tobacco and women. The best example of what Siberia is can be found in one of the Warsaw cemeteries. There are buried the rebels of 1863, who returned to their homeland after exile in Siberia. The youngest buried are 80-85 years old. The rest are over 90, or even over 100. Siberia tempers character, body, soul. There is still a long way to live and work. I’m only 78.
“Sputnik over Poland” summed up the results
The jury under the direction of director Andrzej Жuławski watched 15 competitive films (a total of 160 films were presented at the festival in various programs). The first place was given to Andrey Khrzhanovsky’s film “One and a half rooms, or a Sentimental journey home”. Second – “Bury Me Behind the Plinth” directed by Sergei Snezhkin. The third is Igor Voloshin’s painting “I” (the monetary value of the awards is 6, 3 and 2 thousand euros, respectively). The People’s Choice Award, as well as awards and 3 thousand euros from the TV channel “War and Peace” was awarded to the picture “Bury Me Behind the Skirting Board”.