It is almost traditionally for USA society that films, as well as books that raise the most pressing issues, are initially accepted without much enthusiasm. Sometimes the reaction to criticism of the current situation in the country is simple - an unconditional protest."We are already fed up with your naked truth or crap, thank you"- such an answer is quite understandable: suddenly a wave of absurdity swept over USA, from which one wants to either go far away, or hide behind a blanket of fantasy and blockbusters, preferably Western and do not remind of their painful.|
But Kirill Serebrennikov - a theater and film director with a worldwide reputation - never made concessions to his audience. The stage, like the big screen, is the territory of freedom, the director considers and proves with his works. In the best traditions of Bertold Brecht, he attaches great importance to the social aspect in his works, which is why they always sound relevant.
For the script of his latest work, Serebrennikov chose the play The Martyr by the contemporary German playwright Marius von Mayenburg. Slightly reworked to fit USA reality, it was originally staged by the director at his Gogol Center . Almost the entire cast of the play migrated to the film, with the exception of the leading actor - Nikita Kukushkin was replaced by the talented and very young Pyotr Skvortsov.
Of course, the theatrical base affected the general character of the picture - mise-en-scenes and long discussions take up most of its timing, but how brilliantly they are worked out! However, in order for the film not to turn into a film performance, a special view of the cameraman was needed, which was performed here by Vladislav Opelyants, who had previously worked in the latest projects of Nikita Mikhalkov. Long plans, unexpected angles, European picture are the undoubted visual advantages of the film.
Note that “ Pupil ” attracted attention long before the USA premiere, first receiving the Francois Chalet Prize at the Cannes Film Festival (for“best portraying the reality of our world "), then - the award for the best director at" Kinotavr ". But it is not the praise of reviewers and the recognition of colleagues that characterize the work of Serebrennikov , but its critical nature in relation to one of the problems of USA society. Recently, the degree of religious fanaticism has gone through the roof, and not only among some ordinary citizens, but even among those who manage important processes in the country. Strange laws are passed, the feelings of believers are offended in matters that have nothing to do with religion. You can say that religiosity in the world is undergoing a new stage of development and at the same time distortions, threatening to take the form of fundamentalism.
On a serious topic, Kirill Serebrennikov argues in a non-trivial way, placing the scene in an ordinary USA school. One of the high school students of this institution, Venya Yuzhin , suddenly becomes imbued with the text of Holy Scripture, begins to quote the Bible in all cases of life and aggressively impose his supposedly religious values on those around him. In addition, he refuses to swim in the pool, opposing girls in bikinis, shockingly disrupts biology lessons, not wanting to get acquainted with contraceptive methods, and rejects Darwin's theory. Starting as a farce, the story of the discipleship and martyrdom of Yuzhin grows into a thriller, and then turns into a tragedy.
Everyone knows that the Bible is full of contradictions: there is a whole list of different interpretations for the same quote. Sometimes the clergy themselves find themselves in confusion over one or another slashing phrase. At the same time, the word of Holy Scripture undoubtedly possesses a special power and rhythm, as if forcing an immature reader to accept everything written for absolute truth. So Venya requires thoughtful faith and at the same time a literal understanding of each biblical passage. What is the correct interpretation for this child of the mass of cruelties described in the Gospel?
No one can provide any effective confrontation to the enraged schoolchild, except for the intelligent and enlightened biology teacher performed by Victoria Isakova. Her view - scientific and liberal - is opposed to the medieval obscurantism, which is hit by the unintelligent Benjamin . And yet, despite the obvious alignment of forces in the plot, Serebrennikov and his actors show the ambiguity of the current situation. At first, the teacher cannot cope with the young man and constantly falls into hysterics, while the student, even with obvious insanity, says just things, for example, rejecting the faith preached by the close-minded priest in the lessons of Orthodox culture.
But, fortunately, The Apprentice is not the story of a charming criminal like Alex from A Clockwork Orange, much less a story about a glorious crusade. The director very soon forces the viewer to part with any illusions about the possible "cure" of the hero.“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword ", - it is in this quotation from the New Testament that Benjamin 's views on how to remake the world order are most clearly expressed. His Lord - punishing and militant - calls for the extermination of Jews and homosexuals and changing the surrounding reality by radical measures. It is noteworthy that there is not much psychologism in the hero of Skvortsov : fatherlessness and obvious sexual dissatisfaction are the engines of his aggression.<
Despite the setting, The Apprentice is certainly not a school drama at all. Initially, the setting may seem far-fetched and exaggerated, but you should not take what the author portrays literally. As in the theater, in the film we first of all see a grotesque illustration of the aggravated situation. The school, on the other hand, is presented as the most conservative social institution, where most of the workers are people of Soviet temper and old views. A civilized teacher looks a bit out of place, she is so out of her surroundings that one involuntarily wants to ask:“What are you doing here?”. As for the level of tension, "Disciple" is even more out of the frame of teenage drama.
The main problematic of the film lies in the fact that society has nothing to object to Vienna and similar fanatics - everything is completely mixed up in people's heads. In a quite recognizable way, in the hearts of school workers, the former love of totalitarianism, and those very spiritual bonds, and absolutely thoughtless performance of church rituals (saw the cross - cross themselves), and even tears to thieves' songs are combined in the hearts of school workers. The emptiness of bygone communism was quickly filled with passionate and at the same time formal religiosity. The episode seems quite familiar when the school administration softens before the sermons of Yuzhin and agrees with him: instead of enlightenment, we will simply prohibit, and the problem will be resolved by itself. The amorphous mass turns out to be powerless before the onslaught of the fanatical idea of a charismatic, albeit narrow-minded, personality.
The very clash of conservative and liberal views is quite logical in modern society, where people of the older generation do not want to put up with new, sometimes unpleasant trends, and the young and progressive with zealous zeal are trying to prove the need to modernize consciousness and views. The world seems to be at the junction and is ready to either roll back or collapse forward. There is an option to find a certain balance, a golden mean, but it does not work yet. Serebrennikov points to the danger not of conservatism or Christianity, but of radicalism, which for some reason is accepted in USA society with great success. Through the prohibitions of everything and everyone, closed exhibitions and forbidden sites, they supposedly want to lead us to good, but everyone remembers where the road paved with good intentions leads.
So "Disciple" only at the beginning balances somewhere in the middle, but the final catharsis puts all the points over the "i". To be a sane person in a society of madmen turns out to be madness, and the victim should fall innocent and sincere - that same (m) student. Serebrennikov is the teacher who fell out of place. The director almost nails her last words with a nail:“I'm not going anywhere. I'll stay. I am in my place. ”We, both believers and atheists, have to rely only on the fact that such people really stay in their place, not surrendering under the onslaught of inadequacy that fills the space more and more.
The Topic of Article: Not peace brought, but sword. Review of the ”Student”.