– It seems to me that any problem which is covered in the cinema can be global. The only difference is that the global theme which arose on certain grounds has its own accents. For example, a few years ago the series Salam Maskva (2016)
which touched upon the topics of xenophobia and racism was released. Surprisingly, there are very few such projects. On the other hand, it is not surprising at all because Russians have an idea that the problem of racial intolerance is not about them, that this is the favourite topic of Americans. But we face this problem much more often than we think. Since this has become more discussed in public space, there is a hope that this will be filmed more frequently. There is something to think about and what to shoot and it will be much more interesting than, for example, another comedy about rich parents and their children.
If we talk about national features, then, for example, there is a phenomenon of Yakut cinema which is being ascribed to the Russian cinema. But it is a separate cinematography with its own history, biography, cultural codes in which the Soviet past is mixed with Yakut life and folklore. And the influence of Japanese cinema is very strong there.
By the way, I think it is very interesting that many films touch upon the themes of history and our past jokingly or seriously, show attempts to interact with the past. For example, we can say that the film Serf (2019)
is a reflection of our serf root. There are many questions about how this is shown. Some people believe that this is a kind of banter and a story about the benefits of flogging for the Russian viewer. It seems to me that the film would be more ambiguous if there were no final scene which showed that flogging helped to cure even Roma Acorn.
In general, the topic of history and how we should perceive historical experience - as exceptionally traumatic or as nostalgic - is a great field for reflection. The time for a global understanding of this topic has not come yet. There are some private cases, but mostly history is used in cinema as a background, often heroic. For example, the film Sputnik (2020)
which has become one of the online hits of this year shows the 1980s in the Soviet culture very carefully. Of course, there are certain cultural cliches how to show the era of the 80s. But at the same time, it is interesting to see how time influences the person, how the experience of the past affects descendants, how descendants perceive that time. This topic is touched upon here tangentially, but it is still relevant throughout the world.
Each country has a time period which people want to reflect about. In this sense, Russia doesn't differ from other countries at all. Somewhere it is just more noticeable, somewhere - not that much. After all, we can correlate the so-called "new quiet ones" (that was the name of the group of such Russian directors as Popogrebsky, Serebrennikov, Khlebnikov who were shooting in the early 2000s because they were not as fiercely charged as, for example, the English new wave called angry young people) and the films that were called trash in the 2000s. But that was the cinema that tried to comprehend everyday reality in its not always pleasant language. And it means not only swearing but also the way that actors play. They speak non-cinematographically, stammer, behave illogically and too emotionally as if in horror films. Such cinema provokes thoughts about how this life differs from the happy cover of the film Heat (2006)
or another glossy blockbuster where the sun is always shining, production placements are everywhere, luxurious foreign music plays and people pretend to live not in Russia but in Los Angeles. And this flirtation with the remnants of the post-Soviet American dream, which had a rather large force in the 1990s when foreign culture flooded our market, is also an obvious reflection of the time.
It seems to me that there have been a lot of events and attempts to reflect something in haste during these 30 years that have passed since the collapse of the USSR. We'll take a long time to sort it out. But, maybe, some directors believe that this doesn't need to be sorted out. Because the problems arise as soon as the audit begins. Someone makes the movie The Bull (2019)
and someone makes the series World! Friendship! Chewing gum! (2020)
Everyone sees something in different ways. The main irony is that there is no era in the Soviet past of Russia which can reconcile directors and viewers. This brings us back to what we started from - the absence of the central vector and disparate views on everything are potentially productive for cinema and society. Because attempts to impose some central line lead to misunderstanding. Therefore, now the main direction which Russian cinema is moving in is the awareness of itself as a non-universal thing. And when people say that something is bad in the Russian cinema (sometimes it has unsuccessful years) we need to understand that not any Russian matrix or Russian idea but many disparate views with their own aesthetics and themes can rally people and make cinema better. We need local projects like those which gradually appear in Hollywood. Here we are close to the world vector but with a certain delay. And there is always fear that a backflow will start and there won't be such free series as Chiki, reflecting on what we haven't thought about before.