Last year, he released seven films, including the box office film The Naughty and the popular TV series Aunt Martha. As Yuri Kuznetsov himself admits, this is a lot for an actor of his age. He knows that St. Petersburg actors earn less than Muscovites, he takes on roles with a desire and cannot refuse the young. On February 23, the film by Nikolai Rybnikov “Chekago” is released. It shows the harsh Siberia, where everyone is fighting for survival as best they can. “Izvestia” talked with the people’s artist about why catch-up shooters in the cinema have become obsolete, young people need serious support and who can become the hero of our time.
“Other plots for cinematography may be born in Siberia”
– The producers of “Chekago” won the competition of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation in order to develop regional cinematography, they conceived a film with great artists. On their own, without the support of large studios, they brought them to shoot in small Khakassia, where the movie had never been shot. You are from Abakan. Therefore, they starred with the young director Nikolai Rybnikov and thereby supported fellow countrymen?
“Of course, this too. And as an Abakan citizen, I am also very concerned about the problems about which the film was made. Rybnikov and the guys wrote the script about what they know, what worries them. What to do with young people in Siberia? On the set of Chekago, we had a chance to visit small towns. There is no work there, and people have nowhere to go. Yes, and attack – drunkenness, and sometimes drug addiction. No one thought that this infection, drugs, would make its way to Siberia, especially to its remote corners. But it does penetrate. This is, of course, a serious problem.
But once Siberia was the focus of strong men, a moral, moral force. Not for nothing that Siberians, including Moscow, defended during the Great Patriotic War.
Shot from the film “Chekago”
Photo: film studio “Wind of Change”
Did you have any drugs when you were young?
– God forbid! What are you! We were embarrassed to smoke. I didn’t smoke. I remember how filtered cigarettes appeared, with such an orange spot. It was a terrible deficit. Some of my friends were brought almost from abroad. I studied at school number 1 in Abakan. And our guys at the big break ran behind the shed in the yard, where they sipped cigarettes. Well, this is typical of boys, what can I say. I wanted to be adults.
– Where did you film the movie?
– In the village of Chapaevo, about ten kilometers from Abakan. Lovely houses, children, swings and ropes, there is a musical instrument. But what kind of future awaits children depends on their parents, on their upbringing in the family and at school. Adults need to watch that the child on the street is not very naughty, he is busy with business, there is a hobby. But this is a village where everyone is in front of each other. And in cities, of course, it is more difficult.
There was a powerful production in my native Abakan. And now one or two and miscalculated. Everything is trade-trade-trade. What, however, to buy something there, is unclear.
Is that why people leave?
— And where to go? From the same Abakan. To Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk? They are also filled. There are guys there. Moscow, Leningrad? It is very difficult to find a place here. Therefore, young people end up on the reservation, if you like. And that’s scary too.
Passengers on the platform of the Abakan railway station
Photo: TASS/Kirill Kukhmar
— But what about it?
“It’s up there who should be thinking about it. What to do, to captivate the young. This is the deepest problem. And then find and give a job worthy of them. And you know that now young people do not want to work, they are corrupted. They want to get good money and do nothing.
When we were filming a picture in Siberia, I talked with the local guys. They say that you can find a job, but you can’t earn money.
And even the fact that we came with the Chekago film crew to them, this already local population was involved in the process. As Nikolai Rybnikov admitted to me, he has other plans for the cinema to flood into Siberia and into my Khakassia in particular. In the same place, as they say, nature, nature unexplored by anyone. Other subjects for cinematography may be born in Siberia. Not all the same about a beautiful life to shoot.
“Cops are normal, live guys”
– “Chekago” will be difficult to compete at the box office with “Cheburashka”. Does it upset you?
– Yes, “Chekago” is not “Cheburashka”, not even “Chuk and Gek” and not “Naughty”. But still people are waiting for the movie. At least there, in Siberia, there will be full houses. Through the efforts of Sergei Selyanov, the picture of the young director will receive an all-Russian distribution.
Shot from the film “Chekago”
Photo: film studio “Wind of Change”
– The main characters were crime bosses and young guys who fell into the sphere of their interests. Are viewers nostalgic for the “dashing 1990s”?
– No I do not think so. Nostalgia is all the same for artistry. A huge number of cops and crime series with the same plot. And people don’t want to see it. Well, by God. Shooters-catch-ups in the movies have become obsolete. Yes, and in our life this should not be. This is a sore spot.
Although there is shooting in our film, there is a deeper idea in the film. It raises serious social and moral issues. And they apply to young people.
– In the 1990s, bandits were a role model, an opportunity to have a beautiful life. And who can be a hero now?
– Who? No one. Pavka Korchagin and Maresyev have long been gone. And not always young people wanted to go into bandits in the 1990s. Just remember our “Streets of Broken Lanterns”. The cops are normal, live guys. After the release of the series on the screens, 25-30-year-old guys went to police schools. Romance, not romance, but “Lanterns” completely changed the attitude towards the profession. Real job for real guys.
Yuri Kuznetsov on the set of the film “Foundry, 4”
Photo: Global Look Press/Russian Look/Natalya Loginova
“Where to now?”
– Well, we know where, in the military.
“I believe Stanislavsky, not shamans”
– Only the most patriotic guys go to the military.
– It’s true. Where to find them? You won’t find it in big cities. I think all hope for Siberia.
– In Khakassia, if not a family, then there was a shaman in the family. Are there any in your family tree?
– There was a shaman. My dad is a police officer (laughs). Yes, what are you talking about, what shamans. In Khakassia, there are 13 percent of indigenous Khakass. And they live in uluses, in the steppes, in the Sayans. But there are few of them in the city. That shamanic tradition, of course, does not exist. Although they exist. But already, it seems to me, such decorative, more theatrical guys with feathers and tambourines.
— You don’t believe in shamans?
– I believe Stanislavsky, not shamans.
What helps you in life?
– Work work. I had seven films last year, including The Naughty and the TV series Aunt Martha. For an actor my age, that’s a lot.
Yuri Kuznetsov (left) in the movie “Naughty”
Photo: Mego Distribution
Are you tired or are you happy?
– No, no, what a joy. There are physical possibilities. By the end of the year, I could hardly wear my legs. And then – I’m in St. Petersburg. And I have a feeling that I lived more in Moscow. He came home to take such a shift – and again to Moscow.
The money in the cinema is Moscow, as you know. And everything was filmed there. In St. Petersburg after “Lanterns” I had nothing. Nothing!
– You are not noticed in St. Petersburg? Movies are also filmed there.
– So what? It is considered that I am for Peter, sorry, dear artist. There is such a concept. Once Sashenka Abdulov, the Kingdom of Heaven, told me: “This is the role you would do better. But I will receive 10 rubles, and you – 3. Because you are from St. Petersburg, and I am from Moscow. Moscow artists get more, without talking.
Even students who have not yet received a diploma, having not learned how to work, first count the money. Therefore, we see these empty, thoughtless, average faces on the screen. Well, teaching, of course, is no longer at the level it used to be.
– This year marks 40 years since the release of your first film “Torpedo Bombers”…
“This is not the first film. Wikipedia is lying. The first picture is “My friend Ivan Lapshin” by Alexei German. And he still lay on the shelf for five years. Therefore, “Torpedo bombers” appear in the filmography earlier. Although this is my third painting.
Yuri Kuznetsov (right) in the film “Torpedo bombers”
– Do you compare your first works with those films that are being shot now?
– The artistic level of such films as “My friend Ivan Lapshin”, “Torpedo bombers”, “Confrontation” is higher. At that time, we did not shoot the series “Confrontation” in six days. There was a tough state plan for surrender. I don’t remember the exhausting race for speed, the conveyor, when it’s filmed 15-20 meters a day. I’m talking cinematic concepts. And we were not in such a pen. Now there are times when you need to shoot 20 episodes a day. But where is it? This means that there can be no talk of any artistic level, comprehension. Just to say the text, change clothes – and again into the frame.
We have already forgotten what a serial television feature film is. “Seventeen Moments of Spring” or “The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed” cannot be called series, but we will offend the creators. Because there in every frame you can see the serious work of everyone.
– Do you often remember working with Alexei Balabanov in the film “Brother”?
“They don’t let me forget about Brother.” They ask all the time: “How did you work with Balabanov, what was Bodrov like?” I had four days of shooting for the film. And the feeling that this is a big role. Lesha shot “Brother” in just a month. Why does it seem like a big picture to us? Because the film is full of great thoughts and events. And now “Brother” is no longer just a classic, but a golden fund.
Yuri Kuznetsov (right) in the film “Brother”
Photo: STV Film Company
“If we take care of ourselves, who will need us?”
– You starred in the classics, and now you are exchanging for an easy, non-committal movie. Do you like such projects?
– I like. It is a pleasure to work with Volodya Kott. I met his brother Sasha at Yolki. You see, this is not something base, but in a good sense, folk cinema. Light humor, not funny. I enjoyed working with the Kotts.
And “Naughty 2”, in which strange stories take place with his father Anatoly? Where he suddenly returns to his youth. Why not folk cinema? People wanted to see another “Naughty”. And he showed up.
– Will there be a sequel?
– I don’t know yet. You see, here’s the thing: we made Naughty 2 because the first film did well. Producers, I’m sorry, they made money. Although it often happens that remakes fail, but they dared to take a swing at him. And it worked. “Naughty 2” became the second largest after “Cheburashka”.
– You say the producers have earned. Don’t artists get royalties?
We are not America.
– God bless.
– They earn much more from the rental than under the contract. And Russian artists do not receive a penny. We don’t have this. Previously, the entire film crew had “staged”. There were categories – the first, second, third. For the same “Confrontation”, as I remember now, I received a thousand rubles in the first category. A thousand! It was crazy money.
And Aleksey German’s “Lapshin” received an order from his superiors – to wash the film off the film. That is, to destroy. Why is unclear. There was no provocation. And now the film by Lesha Chupov and Natasha Merkulova “Captain Volkonogov escaped” is on the shelf. It seems that in our time no regiment can exist. However, the film is not shown. They took it down three or four years ago. I think it will show up sooner or later.
Photo: press service of the film company “Atmosfera Kino”
– What are you working on now? Where are you filming?
Thank God, nowhere. I’m so tired. Worn out last year. Now I finally have the opportunity to think about my health. I’m really worn out. And I need not just to recover, but to thoroughly heal in order to move on. I also have a theater, a small enterprise. And in order to go on stage, so that your knees do not tremble with old age, you must be in shape.
– Do you need to go to a sanatorium?
– Yes, what a sanatorium for me. I was here at the clinic. Didn’t want to go there. They say to me: “No, no, we have such doctors there. Come”. Well, the doctors found a bunch of this and that, which I did not suspect, of course. Now I have to fix it somehow.
– The main thing is not to get sick, take care of yourself.
Thank you so much for saying, “Take care of yourself.” So how can we take care? If we take care of ourselves, who will need us? You either lie on the couch at home and take care of yourself, or act in films and give people joy. I choose the second.
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