In January 2012 the winner film of the 68th Venice Film Festival, Faust by Alexander Sokurov, comes to european cinemas.
Anton Adasinsky played one of the leading roles, the Moneylender (Mephistopheles). Renowned voice-over talent Santiago Ziesmer gave the character an inimitable features by dubbing the role as a native speaker in German.
On January 14th the public film screenings start in Germany, on January 19th in Austria. At the end of January 2012 the film is going to be released in Russia. St Petersburg Premiere takes place on January 26th in the Big Hall of St Petersburg Philharmonia. Moscow Premiere is set for January 28th at Barvikha Luxury Village Centre.
Meanwhile Faust has been presented as part of many different film festivals all around the globe, among them were:
Every interview started with the question “what do you feel now having the Golden Lion?” By the first one I gave a start “did we get it already then?”
“No”, said the journalist, “but if you will, then we’ll put it together, if not, then we’ll cut it out. We wouldn’t be able to do another interview, right?”.
So I had to sing a song about how happy we are, without knowing who’s gonna win the prize.
After fifth interview I couldn’t keep repeating the same text all the time. I began to falter, to become angry, to accuse the journalists of illiteracy and Venice of the heat. I was tired. During the lunch time I ran back to my room and took my recorder, feeling that I might not remember anything I’ll tell then.
Here are some excerpts of the afternoon conversations.
“What was the most difficult during your filming”
“The most difficult was to stare at the director’s back for 47 days. Sokurov not only used a huge mirror against the camera for the actual filming but to see the picture in the same way he was carrying a car mirror on his shoulder. Thus discussing the role I remained behind him and was talking to Sokurov’s shoulder. I got used to it so much that I didn’t recognized our director as we met in Venice.”
“Anton, could you tell us if there’s some material in the “Faust” that didn’t make it to the final cut?”
“Oh, yes! Right in the beginning of the film Faust actually dies. Don’t you wonder how keen director’s idea was. In the hospital a bed with a cadaver, which Faust was just examining and looking for a human soul, falls on him. Wagner, his disciple tries to free Faust and pulls some substance with little similarity to Faust, fat and messy. Though this is Faust melted together with the Death. This is my character, Mephistopheles. Faust keeps living inside me. Well, by the final cut the entire shot, about 15 minutes, has been left out. “It’s obvious”, Sokurov said, “why would we need to explain it?”. So Faust didn’t die but I remain there with a huge fat stomach.”
“Anton, could you tell us what was the most dangerous moment during filming?”
“The most dangerous thing was to walk backwards. Particularly on the Iceland’s lava. For the entire film was shot backwards, actors had to do everything in the reverse order. This is why the big part of material, the underwater fight for Margaret, has been left out. We were unable to swim backwards. And Sokurov didn’t want to make any compromises.”
I don’t remember who:
“The most unusual thing was that Valley in Iceland where we saw hundreds of faceprints on the ground around the geyser, just like somebody would press his face firmly against it. There were big holes in place of mouths. Well, it turned out to be the Famous Sniffing Valley. Each Sunday hundreds of people lie down with their faces on the ground and inhale the healing sulphur moisture. Our film crew tried it too but without habit to do it our director of photography has started to hallucinate and suggested to dye the Geyser red. “Go to Tarantino with this”, said Sokurov.”
RAI uno, Italy:
“The Frisean horses that we ride on the way to Underworld are rare and expensive. They also known for their ability to pronounce words with lots of G’s and R’s. One of them (mine) could distinctly say “Great Rumble” and “Rare Gift”, thanks to the Czech groom, a big fan of Pushkin.”
“Anton, could you tell us what funny moments from filming you still remember?”
“There was many funny things. In a break I went to the adjacent woods for a walk and rest. I came across a clearance full of wild mushrooms. Pure porcini! I had no basket or anything and started to fill my pockets, thanks to the oversized costume. Full of mushrooms I realised that I went astray. And I was scared by the thought that I may derange the filming. I started to shout in russian and italian for help. Czech family of mushroom-pickers has come around and ran off immediately – I totally forgot about my make-up. In fifteen minutes there were three policemen. I tried to explain in Czech about the filming and made a confident gesture to some fictional direction. There we went. After twenty minutes we turned on my command and lost our way entirely. One of them pulled his pistol, another one called for a helicopter. It came much later and there was no place for landing. In the twilight it showed us a way. When finally we came to the filming location, full of burdock, angry, the policemen couldn’t really accuse me of anything. Sokurov in turn couldn’t find a better question to ask me: “where did you find them?”
“In the forest”, I replied thinking of the mushrooms, “there’s lots of them.”
And on September the 10th we perfectly played the piece “Limousine, Red Carpet, Golden Lion, Photo, Limousine, Much Wishky, Night. Venice. Morning. Way Back Home”.
The excitement of these days has gone quite fast. What remains is “Faust” and an untypically long (for a festival) standing ovation for the director Alexander Sokurov.
Text: Anton Adasinsky
English text editor: Daniel Williams
Video: Elena Yarovaya
Anton Adasinsky & Alexander Sokurov. Photo by Jiri Hanzl. (c) Proline-film.ru
Hard work was worth it. The Faust by Alexander Sokurov where Anton played one of the leading roles of the Moneylender or Mephistopheles has been awarded with the Golden Lion at the 68th Venice Film Festival. The jury was headed by U.S. director Darren Aronofsky.
Anton is now on the way back from Venice. The next DEREVO appearance is in the russian city of Perm at the Texture Festival where DEREVO performs MEPHISTO WALTZ, inspired by the work on the Faust. Anton also gives a three-day workshop.
Some quite exciting updates can be found in our tour-plan. Sokurov’s Faust premiere at the Venice Film Festival, an appearance of DEREVO in the russian city of Perm with both a performance and a workshop, Anton’s appearances along with AVIA band in St Petersburg, then MEPHISTO WALTZ in Moscow and in Sochi. The first options for 2012 are published too.
On 8th of September 2011, Anton Adasinsky and Elena Yarovaya will attend the premiere of the Alexander Sokurov’s Faust at the 68th Venice Film Festival. In the film by the Russian film master Anton plays the Usurer or Moneylender as an incarnation of Mephistopheles. Incredible team has been working on the film, including fellow actors Johannes Zeiler, playing Faust, Isolda Dychauk as Margaret and Hanna Schygulla as the Usurer’s wife. With the stunning cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel (”Amélie”, “A Very Long Engagement”, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”) this film is one of ten favourites from the very strong line-up in the run for the Golden Lion.
After this DEREVO travels to Perm, MEPHISTO WALTZ was invited to the “Texture” Festival and then Anton Adasinsky does a three days of workshop.
In St Petersburg Anton performs with the AVIA band then two more MEPHISTO WALTZ performances in Russia come up in Moscow and in Sochi where growing numbers of the world class cultural events should help the city to perfectly slip into its role of the host city for the winter Olympics in 2014.
«let the good man in, otherwise he’ll break down the door» («Aibolit-66», USSR, 1966)
A very intense one and a half years have ended with a performance in Jyväskylä.
Both Anton and Lena are leaving for creative holidays to the Island of Monkeys and Butterflies to write the screenplay for a feature film. An offer from the Lenfilm studios has come rather surprisingly. Pre-production is going to start in October. And we had better keep the plot a secret now.
In September, as an exercise, DEREVO is going to film some videos to the music by Positive Band. We suspect it might become a film too. That’d be good.
Such a one – Anton Adasinsky
Chief Wow-Wow – Igor Timofeev
Ferdinand – Nikolay Gusev
DJ Cornflower – Andrey Sizintsev
Emmanuel Brüskind – Alexey Rakhov
Friendly Geometer – Viktor Vyrvich
Frigate «The Swift» – Elena Yarovaya
Gentle Giant – Vadim Tverdyukov
and also the entire DEREVO and many, very many friends, actors, artists, children, musicians, dancers…
«…Six musicians are playing at parties. There’s a phone call and the party host sends a car for them. As they see it the guys realise that this party they will hardly forget: the car is constructed of shinbones of drug dealers, the sail is stitched from a thousand blue neckties of the GDR young pioneers, the driver is a Giant Albino of dying breed of Squirrelgoats…»
Such a one
«…the reviving well of laughter is getting dry, the bucket bangs against the mossy walls… Instead of a jolly joke it brings back just sadness in the green bottle of tarragon soda…»
«… It will be a musical film. Even too musical..»
Anybody wishing to help out with the costumes, light and sound, props and make-up, with the lunch and general assistance, anybody wishing to be merry and quick-witted…. please e-mail to email@example.com
Meanwhile Vadim Tverdyukov, Nikolay Gusev and Nastya Ponomareva are finishing the mixing and mastering of the Positive Band’s album „Cat on Accordion“…
And there’s more to come:
September, Faust by Alexander Sokurov is in competition at the Venice Film Festival.
(I should think about getting some tails)
A big theatrical project in Perm in Russia
AVIA concert in Yubileyny in St Petersburg
Preparations for the performance at the Mikhail Chemiakin’s art exhibition
«Sleeplessnes. Homer. Taut sails. I have read the catalogue of ship just halfway through…»
According to the screenplay dogs should run into the funeral scene, rush to the grave, then to me and should fawn on me, sniff, bark…
But to tell the truth, they never got to my part.
Imagine the following: A coffin is placed on two planks above a rather deep grave. The priest throws a handful of earth down… here the dogs enter. Sausages and something else tasty are smeared on the coffin.
Eight crazy hounds run in and throw themselves around the corner, barking and growling at some hole in the ground.
Their trainer swearing teaches them to sniff the coffin. The dogs glance back at the hole.
Dogs run in and head straight to the hole.
Sokurov comes to a decision instantly.
“There’s someone in the hole. Quick, dig another grave. Here!”
Not a problem for twelve prop handlers. All at once, ready!
The new grave is ready. The previous one is filled up. The light is moved and gravestones are brought to the new positions.
Dogs come running in and halt bewildered - there’s no hole any more.
Short conference follows. In the village below they borrow a cat in a bird’s cage for a lot of money. The dog trainer runs around teasing the dogs with the cage. The dogs are going nuts, the cat is yelling.
Sokurov’s idea is just genius. They put the cat into the coffin and nail the coffin shut.
Dogs come running in again looking for the cat or the hole.
The cat apparently lies unconscious after being nailed up in the coffin. No sound comes from her.
Sun comes up. Famous director of photography Bruno says “Fuck!!” rather loud. Everyone agrees.
Some meat is put in the grave. Dogs come running in and fawn upon Margareth. She’s screaming and crying and pleading for the poor cat. Big holes are drilled in the coffin to keep the cat from choking. Sokurov asks them not to drill the cat through. The technician: “She shouldn’t be that stupid, she will dodge the drill”. The cat’s owner speaks loudly to the coffin trying to calm her pet.
“Take five!! Camera…!! Action!! Stop!!”
The dogs have discovered the cage with a sheep in it and were too late for the shot. One more conference. The dog trainer gets into the grave holding a whistle. They let the cat out. The cat yells, her mistress holds her up in the air, dogs are jumping around.
Famous camera man Bruno: “Sun!!!”
The sun advances swiftly. Make-up people put powder on Margareth’s face. She’s happy for the cat.
Sokurov: “Margareth, look sternly. It’s your brother in the coffin!” Everyone laughs out hysterically.
Dog trainer blows his whistle! Dogs come running in and fall down into the grave one by one.
Sokurov: “Wonderful. Perfect! Done! It just can’t be… Thank you.”
Text: Anton Adasinsky
English text editor: Jennifer Williams
I can’t recall everything very clearly…
I remember I had to watch seventy two short films on one single night,
since I was in a jury of the Open Cinema.
Enough for the next ten years.
And in the morning we were rehearsing the upcoming concert.
Two new songs emerged:
“Times of Year” by Andrey Sizintsev
and “The Cat on Accordion” by me. Olga Arefieva gave us a song and we were to accompany her but the guys took away her guitar, so she had to sing only to the drums. It worked fine though.
And every day I was learning my text for the film by Alexander Sokurov:
Faust. Mephisto / the Usurer speaks the Old German.
Now I’m at the filming location near Prague.
At the same time Lena Yarovaya prepares the big project Jesters’
Empire for the closing of the street theatre festival in Radebeul.
During the filming I only can scribble a couple of lines in the
evening, about what happened on each day.
These short notes are what I’d like to show you.
As an actor playing one of the main characters I benefit from
various privileges. For instance a car with a chauffeur.
I don’t use the chauffeur but drive myself.
A castle where filming takes place is far away from the hotel,
about half an hour drive on the curved rural Czech roads….