Ilya Povolotsky, Russian filmmaker beyond borders

Actress Maria Lukyanova and director Ilya Povolotsky, in Cannes, May 20, 2023.

I think what is happening is an incredible disaster” : calm, attentive, straight in his seat in this café away from the bustling center of Cannes, the Russian director Ilya Povolotsky does not hide behind his little finger: I am against the war in Ukraine, against the use of violence in general, against the policy of the government of my country. » Responding to the invitation of the Quinzaine des cinéastes to come and present his new film, There Gracehe had no difficulty, he said, in coming – “ Otherwise obtaining French visas, which took a long time to reach us… “On the other hand, we are worried about his return, we would not want to put him out of whack. He seems serene: I don’t know if it will be difficult. Or what will be the reaction of the authorities. Everything will depend on that… »

Read the review: Article reserved for our subscribers Cannes 2023: “Grace”, on the edge of the Caucasus, the spleen of the borders

Lucid, at 36, the director weighs his words: First, we must understand that there is no cinema, literature, artistic expression, culture, apart from the world around us, and in particular from what is happening today. Next, I salute the strength and courage of my fellow filmmakers who, in Russia, despite the circumstances, continue to do their job. »

Izhevsk, in the Urals, a thousand kilometers east of Moscow, 600,000 inhabitants, a large industrial center known for its arms industry where the famous Kalashnikov AK-47 was designed. This is where Ilya Povolotsky grew up. No cinema except for a large building devoted to culture where nightclubs are kings, he testifies. Only once a year are school and college students shown a film of the clic, heroic and warlike genre. Arthouse cinema circulates on video. Father an engineer in wood, mother a manager in commerce… In my family, we watched a lot of films: Tarkovski, Guerman, Sokurov, Paradjanov… these were names I knew. » He talks about the pirate VHS boxes that we p on to each other, crossed out: Back to the future, of Zemeckis, replaced by The mirror, from Tarkovsky…

“Informal Communication”

He left to study law in Moscow. His thesis will focus on constitutional laws. He smiled, thinking about the current situation. But during his first year in college, he was “cast” – recruited – to play in a series. And I was fascinated by everything that was happening on the other side of the camera. These people who seemed a bit crazy to me and spoke a language I didn’t understand. » Thus was born his desire for cinema. “I was young and y enough to tell myself I could do it myself. »

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