Anna Melikyan: “My film is feminine style, and I’m not ashamed of that”
Interview with Anna Melikyan.
Anna Melikyan, who is one of the most famous and most persuasive film directors in the modern Russian film industry, won the grand prize at the 26th “Kinotavr” Open Russian Film Festival in Sochi with her film “About Love”. Her style is unique and recognized, but at the same time it is comprehensible and familiar to the public at large. Anna was born in Baku and raised in Yerevan. After graduating from school, she moved to Moscow where she has been living to this day. In an interview with www.elle.ru, the famous director talked about how a filmmaker can make a funny and touching film, without discrimination of gender. www.elle.ru: Moscow always looks different in your films. How do you manage to present Moscow in a new way every time? A. M.: “Different Moscow” is a part of artistic solutions. In addition, I share stories that are real. The film has its voice and colors. In one case it is light and sunny, and in another case it is the opposite. The purpose of the film “Star” was to show the coldness in Moscow. We shot it in cold weather (25 degrees), and it had an impact on the crew and the film. The film about love was shot in the summer. www.elle.ru: How do you personally feel about Moscow? A. M.: I love Moscow. I wasn’t born here, but when we moved here, I immediately fell in love with it. It was love at first sight. All my films are linked to Moscow in some way. As a director, I have collaborated with travel agents, who have helped me travel the world. However, Moscow has become close to my heart. It’s probably because of the energy. On the one hand, I understand that it’s a big city and there’s a lot to do. On the other hand, when I leave, I always want to go back. www.elle.ru: Which are your favorite places in Moscow? A. M.: I love the bridges like the Crimea Bridge. www.elle.ru: Why do you especially like that bridge? It’s noisy and thorny. A. M.: But it’s big, right? You can see the Crimea Bridge in the films “The Mermaid” and “About Love”. I always tour my favorite places. www.elle.ru: One can see that all your actors are beautiful. Why are you interested in such actors? A. M.: I have a special attitude towards beauty. There is meaning to it. Beautiful things and people are magical for me. In the film “About Love”, one of the heroes runs around the city in search of invisible beauty, becomes impressed, creates something, loses interest and wants something else. I think this often happens to men. They run after women for a long time, reach her, become impressed, and women have an impact on men, but after a while, men lose that interest and need another source of inspiration. My film is feminine style, and I’m not ashamed of that. I don’t want to focus on sexual attributes. www.elle.ru: How did you offer actress Ravshane Kurkova such a strange role? A. M.: Ravshana was the one who wanted to star in my film. All the roles had been given, and I frankly told her that there was no role for her. She said she was ready to play any role, and I offered her a small part where a policewoman visits a priest in search of cocaine. The role was foreseen for a girl in big scenes. However, Ravshana agreed. During the rehearsals, we started improvising, and Ravshana amazed me. She started making incredibly ridiculous statements. I only managed to record, after which I decided to make her do more. Everyone has Ravshana star as a beauty, and she’s actually stunning in real life. I thought it would be possible to give her a chance to play the role of a heroine with an inferiority complex in which she would worry about her physical appearance. That’s like my previous film “Star” where the girl considers herself ugly and her only desire is to have new legs, lips and posture, but in reality she’s beautiful. It all comes from the head. Talk to beauties and they’ll tell you about so many flaws. At the same time, you can also meet an ordinary woman who is confident that she is charming and simply shines. www.elle.ru: Do you consider yourself a part of the new wave of women’s movies? A. M.: I don’t like any kind of gender discrimination. There are many women’s film festivals, and I’m always invited to them. However, I’ve never accepted the invitations, and can’t even imagine attending them in a nightmare. There are only women there. It’s horrible. Recently the film “Petersburg: Selfie” was shot in Saint Petersburg, and according to the novel, for some reason, the directors had decided to have women play the leading roles. I refused. Nevertheless, I believe my film is a very feminine style film, and I’m not ashamed of that. On the contrary, I believe that’s my strength. I don’t agree with focusing on sexual attributes. It’s safe to say that there are “normal” and “feminine style” films. www.elle.ru: Another question about gender. Is it hard for a woman to direct a film? A. M.: I used to have to prove that I’m capable of doing something, but as a rule, experienced people gather at the site and immediately see whether they can do something or not. In that case, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman. They either respect you, listen to you, or they don’t treat you seriously, but that doesn’t have anything to do with gender. Srbuhi Sargsyan