“All my films have in a certain sense been defined by the collapse of the Soviet Union and thirty years later I still remember every single moment of that period, in 1991”, testifies, in an interview with Adnkronos, director Vladimir Khotinenko, for which, “in those days, it seemed like nothing was really happening”. The end of the USSR “was a great tragedy, but it appeared as a comedy, a very sad comedy, but a comedy”, underlines the author of several historical films including, in fact, “Patriotic Comedy”.
In 1991 Khotinenko was busy on the set of this film, the plot of which is written day by day, according to the political news, the events that the protagonists of the film follow on television. “Everything that is described on TV corresponds to something that happens in the film, the protagonists are witnesses of the events of that year,” he says.
“It is as if your country of origin was no longer your country”, adds Khotinenko who, at the end of the seventies, was Nikita Mikhalkov’s assistant and who is in Rome these days to present the first episode of a series. on Dostoevsky and the film “The Demons”.
“We didn’t realize anything. We didn’t know anything, we didn’t know what was going to happen, nobody predicted that history would take this turn,” he stresses, admitting that “it’s very difficult to reconstruct the very strange feelings you felt then. And even now it’s a lot. difficult to understand what happened “.
Ukrainian father, Russian mother, a signatory in 2014 of a statement by Russian cultural figures in support of Vladimir Putin’s policies in Crimea and Ukraine, Khotinenko was 39 when the Soviet Union collapsed. On December 25, 1991 he was in Paris to shoot some scenes of “Patriotic Comedy”. “I left one country and returned to another”, comments the director.
What if you were to make another 1991 movie today? “That would be what I signed in 1990. Today I would talk about the end of the country as I did, a year before the breakup of a family of beekeepers in the Siberian taiga,” he concludes.
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