By Indiewire | Indiewire May 21, 2006 at 7:07AM
Every day through the end of the 2006 Festival de Cannes, including weekends, indieWIRE will be publishing interviews with filmmakers participating in the L'Atelier du Festival, which according to Cannes, "was created in 2005 to reveal a new generation of filmmakers through the world, whose works, still at the project stage, might one day be honoured by being selected for the Cannes Film Festival." Eighteen filmmakers were given the opportunity to participate in an e-mail interview, and each was sent the same questions.
Director Ilya Khranovsky is at L'Atelier with his feature film project, "Dau," which is based on the life of Nobel Prize winner Lev Landau, who in his twenties became a world-famous theoretical physicist.
Please tell us about yourself and your background, including where you were born and grew up, as well as how you became a filmmaker.
I was born on August 11, 1975 in the family of animation movies director Andrey Khrzhanovsky and fiction editor Maria Neiman. I studied art for many years, graduated from art school in Moscow and continued (my) studies in Bonn Art Academy in Germany. However, due to the fact that I treated arts as a foreign language that can become perfect but can never become one's native language, I quit arts and entered the High School of Cinematography in Moscow. I have become a film director based on my intuitive feeling that filmmaking as the way of telling about the world is most adequate for me.
Please tell us about your previous work, including information about your recent films and other creative projects.
While at school of cinematography I shot in co-authorship with Artem Mikhalkov a short film named "Stop" that is not really good, to my mind, although it gained a number of international and Russian awards. Further on, I worked much as a director, script-writer and a producer for advertising television and cinema projects. In the fall of 2004 I completed the film "4" that due to complexities of financial character took over 4 years to make. The film's premiere took place at the Venice Film Festival in September 2004; it was later screened at a variety of international film festivals and received many awards, to name a few: International Film Festival Rotterdam 2005 VPRO Tiger award, Grand Jury Prize of the Seattle International Film Festival 2005, Best Director Award at Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente 2005. The film was nominated in the category European Film Academy Discovery 2005 Prix Fassbinder. The film is released in a series of countries in Europe and the USA.
Please tell us about your new project. What is it about and what inspired to pursue this new project?
Currently I am making the film that is named "Dau" based on the destiny of a great physicist the Nobel Prize winner Lev Landau. This is not a biopic in its conventional understanding. It seems to me, the themes of relationships and problems (in "Dau") are dramatically vital now. And in my opinion they can appear interesting to other people regardless of their geographic position or their nationality.
What do you hope to accomplish for the project while you are in Cannes? What are your specific needs to continue developing your new project?
In order to continue development of the project I need to define potential partners and distributors of the film, and acquire confidence that the film budget will be partially covered by foreign (non-Russian) money. This, I hope, will confirm the international character of this project for me.
What are some of your favorite movies and influences, including other films and filmmakers, as well as other creative influences? Which films are you most interested in seeing at this years Festival?
A list of my preferences is quite ordinary. It is "City Lights" by Charlie Chaplin, "Bronenosetz Potemkin" and the second part of "Ivan Grozny" by Eisenshtein, "Blow-up" by Antonioni, "Nights of Cabiria" and "La Dolce Vita" by Fellini, "Andrei Rublev" and "Stalker" by Andrey Tarkovsky, "Breathless" by Godard, "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" and "Viridiana" by Luis Bunuel, "Cries and Whispers" and "Scenes from a Marriage" by Ingmar Bergman, "Eyes Wide Shut" and "Clock work Orange" by Kubrick, "Hair" by Forman, "All that Jazz" and "Lenny" by Bob Foss, "Khrustalev, Machinu!" by Alexey German, "Breaking the Waves" and "Dogville" by Lars von Trier. It should be noted here that in spite of the large film list that I could continue I am much more influenced by other arts. It is Bach, Brams, Shostakovitch and Schnitke in music, Jotto, Russian icon painting, Bosch, Van Gogh and Filonov in painting, Dante, Dostoevsky, Gofman, Pushkin, Gogol, Shakespeare, Kortasar, Camu, Thomas Mann in literature.
I could expand and verify all these lists, however as far as cinematography is concerned I would be happy to see another film in Cannes that could change my feelings and tell me something new about this world.
[Get the latest from the Festival de Cannes throughout the day in indieWIRE's special Cannes '06 section.]