The 39th MIFF presents a retrospective of the restored movies by the outstanding Russian filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky. Instead of an introduction to the retrospective here are a few quotations from the interviews the director gave at different times.
…The director should not explain his films. Firstly because in this case I would have to appear before each screening and provide the explanations. Secondly, everyone understands life and arts to the best of his inabilities or abilities. When someone asked Tolstoy “Could you sum up in a few words what you intended to say in “Anna Karenina”?” he got angry and replied: “If I could express it in three sentences, I would have written those three sentences, but as it is, read the novel”. We make movies to be seen, but not to explain something. We make them so that people could feel what I feel, love what I love, laugh where I laugh, think about the same problems as I do, because in a way I am sharing all of it. How successful I am only the viewers can tell. One does not make movies with the aim of producing a masterpiece. When an artist starts believing, that he is making a masterpiece, that is the end of it, the game is over. I think an artist makes moves as best he can. And the public or history turn his work into a great one or a common film, into a good or bad or some other one…
…Art cinema, if it can be called art cinema, is closer to what can be called religion. I don’t want to use the high-flown wording “Let’s pray”. Religion in the sense of being able to concentrate on something, to meditate. Meditation entails a specific frame of mind. When a person is watching that sort of movie, his emotions spill outside, he no longer thinks what it is about, whether it is contemporary or not, topical or trite. He does not think, he hears music in his soul. If you can achieve this, then your movie works. ..
…Success is not about having success, it is about finding the financing for your next movie. When having completed your movie you can’t find the money and you do not have work, then it is horrible. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it does not, because the critics can come down on your movie but the public might like it. My films were never especially popular except for “A Lover's Romance” and “Siberiade”, but the times were different then, people were more tolerant. They wanted to watch everything. Today movie criticism has become more Russian, it is like the people. It is equally unpolished, rude, equally divided into clans and interests. So you can’t blame it, it is Russian journalism just like it has always been, even before the revolution. The critics are who they are, one can only pity them, many years will pass before we can start respecting each other.