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Finam radio interview with Garri Bardin - part 2

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drawing, old man

Finam radio interview with Garri Bardin - part 2

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drawing, old man
This continues from part 1. The Russian original is here.

Again, good morning. Our guest today is Garri Yakovlevich Bardin, a man who's made around 15 wonderful, very talented animated films.

Twenty.

Exactly twenty, yes? Then it's twenty already. Among them are cartoons that you probably know, such as "Adagio", "Conflict", "Banquet", three "Chuchas", "The Flying Ship"...

"The Flying Ship" is the most...

It's the most famous, yes. Well "Grey Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood" is also a fairly popular film. Four "Nika" awards, a "Palme d’Or", a huge collection of prizes from Shanghai, Leipzig, Los Angeles and so on. Now on to "The Ugly Duckling". Now... answer one question for me; of course it's a rhetorical question, but still try to answer it. Here's the question: You've made an animated film, feature-length, 1:16, a musical. You have Spivakov (well, not even to mention Tchaikovsky). Andersen, Tchaikovsky - these are already brands. You yourself are a brand. Spivakov, Rutberg, Turetskiy and so on. And now you're telling me: "You see, it's unclear what will happen with the distribution, because you see, we don't have some miserable 2 million rubles to print the copies, and so maybe it'll be in the autumn, or maybe there won't be any at all". What nonsense is this? What's the deal? While at the same time distribution slots are filled with "Let's Go To the Moon", "Let's Steal from the Table", and more Hollywood rubbish!

Lena, what can I say? This is truly a rhetorical question, because I cannot answer it.

Okay, wait. Maybe you're an unpleasant person? Maybe you're unable to have normal relationships with people? I don't understand, what's going on?

If I was an unpleasant person, I would have been left alone in my studio. Everyone would have abandoned me. So, probably, I'm not that unpleasant. That is, for my profession I'm of course a tyrant, but in a soft package. I'm not being abandoned; on the contrary, I love my colleagues, and I hope that they feel likewise, because without love a child is not born. There were three years of filming and preproduction; we passed a very big stage. The difficulties were enormous, and I raised the whole team, how shall I put it, in an atmosphere of acceptance, of wanting to do good work, and in this sense I was very lucky with the team I had. We came to the end with the sense that we are doing something that is very much needed.

Something important, yes?

Important. Otherwise... I have a phrase that I'll reveal to you - [note: the following passage contains a spoiler - highlight to read it] in the end, I myself say "We now leave our hero, but we do not leave the hope that in each ugly duckling lives a wonderful swan; otherwise, why live?" With this phrase I'm sort of purposely interrupting the final music, or rather muting it, and giving the viewer hope that if he is yet ugly, he will certainly be wonderful. That is basically the message that I'm sending with this film.

Garri Yakovlevich, I would like to ask your opinion on something. Do you have any feelings about the rhetorical question that I just asked? Do you have a feeling that this is perhaps some - I'm not afraid of the word - conspiracy? Of course, I'm kidding, but still. Or maybe just stupidity? Simply that no one is even bothering to think about where we're all going?

I know that distributors talked to Channel One, asking them to... They didn't even look at the material. Maybe they are connected to Nikita Mikhalkov; I'm not connected to him at all, thank goodness. I don't know why, maybe so that I feel like an outcast? And yet, I don't feel like an outcast.

No, you cannot feel like outcast; I have an enormous number of people I know who are not such fanatics of animated cinema, yet who nevertheless say: "By the way, what's up with Bardin? When will it be done?" In other words, they're waiting for the premiere.

Sometimes I follow my son's advice and go online to read about myself in blogs, and am very pleased to find that the young generation knows me and, I won't hesitate to use this word, loves me.

Yes, and waits for the premiere.

And waits. And I'm very happy knowing this. But people who work in distribution are a different story. They... I had one who looked at the studio's material and said, she said: "Garri Yakovlevich, you make art; we'd like something simpler". So distribution exists, it turns out, for cattle, counting on the idea that people are stupid and must be fed this poor-quality cinematic food that they will gorge on. This disrespect for people is, for me, unacceptable, because I certainly respect my "viewer", and count on him being on the same wavelength as me, on reacting negatively to the same things as me, and laughing at the same things as I do. I see him as my companion; smart, witty, emotional and intelligent. That is, I invest a lot of traits into "my audience", and I find them. Another matter is that distributors cannot find them.

It seems to me that the situation is on the brink of change, because there are now young people who can buy tickets with their own money, who want something different; this niche must be filled sooner or later. But really, it is just strange. Probably, you simply need to find competent PR people, because it should be possible to PR this project, and people will go to it. I mean, in any case, 10%, maybe 20% of the public wants something different.

I was once in Los Angeles, and I saw a long line-up on Hollywood boulevard. This was for some animated feature from Disney. The line consisted of adults and children; like we once stood in line to buy meat, they stood to buy tickets for this film. I'm not an envious man by nature, but upon seeing this I grew envious, and thought: "Good God, if only we had this!"

It will come. Very, very soon.

If only things were moving in that direction. So far, they're not.

Well, that's just...

You promise, yes?

I promise you, of course.

Okay. Now I can rest easy.

There will definitely be a growing trend of this; there just literally need to be two or three more financially successful examples, and then distributors will realize that this too can earn them money. Once they understand this, it will all be good for us. There are already examples; not so long ago, we had Mikhail Shemyakin here. Remember what was happening when he finished his "Nutcracker"? [Marinsky Theatre production]

Yes.

It's still impossible to buy a ticket. An enormous number of people are trying to get there, go there specifically to watch it, and so on. Yet this all began with "What's going on here, this is all confusing, we'd prefer something in the traditional style", etc.

Simpler.

"Make it simpler", yes. "The public won't understand," - everything that we've talked about.

Yes, I've always liked this phrase: "The public won't understand". Yes.

Okay. Let's take a break for another minute. Once again, I introduce today's guest. Our guest today is Garri Bardin, and that basically says it all. But if, per some unlikely chance, someone doesn't know who Garri Bardin is, he's a Russian animator, one of the most well-known.
  • tak(nimation)

    (Anonymous)
    The international premiere is at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland in August.

    http://www.pardo.ch/jahia/Jahia/home/lang/en/pid/1063
    -> PDF with the programm

    I am excited about the first reviews.
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