Vladimir Bortko: “Europe remembers, but we forgot”
Weekly “Arguments and Facts” No. 01-02. Why did Kazakhstan burst into flames? 12/01/2022
“History repeats itself. During the war with Napoleon, all of Europe came against us! But the closer our army came to Paris, the more former enemies turned out to be our allies.
Who was "first violin"
Valentina Oberemko, "AiF": Vladimir Vladimirovich, you are planning a film about Napoleon and Alexander I, about the war of 1812. But This is a story from two centuries ago! The younger generation perceives the Great Patriotic War as something from the distant past. But mostly they go to the movies. Will this topic hook them?
Vladimir Bortko: I wanted to make an 8-episode film not for cinema, but for TV and the Internet. Young people are looking at the computer screen! To learn that after the Battle of Borodino the war continued for another 2 years, and to look at the entry of our troops into Paris, I think it will be interesting for the younger generation. Unfortunately, little is said about this. Today, few people remember that before 1914, before the First World War, the entry of our troops into Paris was celebrated on the same scale as the capture of Berlin in May 1945 is now. But first, the tsarist government made friends with France, and then the Soviet government did not want to remember much about Emperor Alexander, therefore he was pushed aside by Kutuzov,, who became the main hero of the war of 1812. I do not underestimate the merits of Kutuzov, but he was far from the “first violin” in that war, it was precisely Alexander. And it seemed to me important to tell not only about how our people entered Paris, but also about two people who do not exist without each other in this story, – Alexander I does not exist without Napoleon, and Napoleon – without Alexander I.
One – military genius, leader of almost all of Europe. Second – a king with a peculiar character. Alexander was inferior to Napoleon in everything except one – perseverance and desire to defeat him, which he eventually did. That's what I wanted to make a movie about. And also – about the biggest battles of that era, from which we emerged victorious.
But it turned out that nobody needed it. There is no money for this… We are told: “Let's make a movie about our history, let's tell the younger generation what kind of people we had, what good fellows we were, set an example for them!” I would love to tell the story of our greatest victory, which we somehow forgot about. But… Do we really have such a short memory now that we only remember 100 years ago? ” height=”300″ width=”800″ style=”display: block;” />
Napoleon's entry into deserted Moscow (1812) and the entry of Emperor Alexander I into Paris (1814), whose inhabitants greeted the winners on the streets. Feel the difference. Photo: reproduction/Paintings by Alexey Kivshenko
– Perhaps the realities are changing too quickly and too drastically?
– Don't you think that history keeps repeating itself? Napoleon's army gathered people from all over Europe. All of Europe was against us! And then European countries began to come over to our side. The same thing happened in 1945.
By the way, there might not have been a war with Napoleon. After all, he wooed Alexander's sister, but was refused. And if she had not refused him, world history would have taken a different path.
Once Sergey Bondarchukfilmed “War and Peace” about those events, this movie became a classic. It is difficult to find a European capital where the name of Alexander I would not be mentioned. In Berlin there is Alexanderplatz, in Paris – two streets and a bridge named after him. This is a great man recognized by the world, our compatriot! Europe remembers him, but we have forgotten. Even in St. Petersburg, not everyone knows in whose honor the column was erected at the Winter Palace, but in Moscow – why is the main temple called the Cathedral of Christ the Savior…
– We are actively studying history today, making a lot of films about the Soviet era. Will such a passion for the past do any harm?
– It doesn't matter what time they talk about, it all depends on how they talk about it. Many on the screens blame the Soviet era: how, they say, everything was bad, how the bloody NKVD killed everyone. Such a view of history forms in the younger generation more hatred for their country, rather than love and pride for it. Now it often sounds: patriotic education must be strengthened. But the education of patriotism – it is first of all a talented story about what you sincerely believe in. But while they are strengthening this upbringing… peculiarly.
Who needs to talk about eternity
– Last year, for the anniversary of Dostoevsky, your TV series The Idiot was shown again. Do you think Dostoevsky's work is in tune with today's time?
– In each era, a certain type of art prevails. In Ancient Egypt it was architecture, in the Middle Ages in Italy – painting. We once had a flowering of literature. But today, literature, alas, is inferior to other forms of art. People began to read less.
But there are things in literature that are consonant with any time. Tolstoy, Dostoyevskyspoke to us about the eternal, about the life of the human soul. It's always up to date.
– And Vladimir Medinsky proposed not to load children with the study of Dostoevsky at school, because he is too complicated a writer. Agree?
– This is the personal opinion of Mr. Medinsky. Of course, Dostoevsky is complicated! But it's still good if young people read it.
Do you know how literature was taught in ancient Rome? I'll tell you. There were many writers: Ovid, Virgil with Plutarch…The younger generation had to study them in order to differ from the barbarians in the level of knowledge. According to the memoirs that have come down to us, including those of the Roman emperors, those who studied poorly received a flogging. And you know, judging by the quoting of these authors by the emperors, it bore fruit. The same system existed in England. Byronflogged – for the benefit, a great writer grew up. There, the universities stopped flogging only in the last century. And things immediately went from bad to worse. I'm kidding, of course. But you need to force yourself to study, to force you to memorize the poems of the same Pushkin – necessary. Like it, don't like it, you understand, you don't understand – teach! “I remember a wonderful moment” hellip; Remember, it will come in handy: you will read it to the girl at the right time. Or you will remember your Motherland… Here, the Soviet school is remembered not only with a kind word, they say that children were drilled in it, they were strictly treated. Me and my friends were drilled. And it turned out well, we are satisfied with ourselves.
– We talked about Dostoevsky, and if we take Bulgakov, “Heart of a Dog”, which you also filmed. Is it more in tune with today's times? Do professors Preobrazhenskys, representatives of the endangered intelligentsia, still walk our streets?
– Bulgakov is easier to understand than Dostoevsky. I love one and the other. Bulgakov – a very good writer, but the level of Dostoevsky – this is the pinnacle of the human spirit.
As for the heroes, they were, are, and always will be shvonders, just like Professors Preobrazhensky. Professor Preobrazhensky – an intellectual, not a dying intelligentsia. What is intelligence? There are a lot of definitions of this term, but no one has fully understood who it is and what it is. Lenin also had a definition of the intelligentsia. I do not adhere to his point of view, but nevertheless it was written by him: "intelligentsia– not the brain of the nation, but Mr & hellip;». And today, it seems to me, there are people who also think so.