Alexandra shoots the first film after the second

About Alexandra Butor and her film White Dews. Return

For a long time, Belarus has not displayed good directors to the world. Turov and Ptashuk died, and their places are still vacant. But on the horizon, apparently, one applicant has come into view.
By Natalia Stavrova

For a long time, Belarus has not displayed good directors to the world. Turov and Ptashuk died, and their places are still vacant. But on the horizon, apparently, one applicant has come into view. Colleagues talk about her flatteringly and the management of Belarusfilm sing her praises. Spectators, however, are still restrained. They are waiting. Waiting for her White Dews. Return, the release of which is planned for autumn.

alexandra.pngGenerally, the name of Alexandra Butor is well-known to those who at least occasionally turn on the television. She has shot several successful clips, documentary films and the musical Pavlinka New for which she received a Televershina Award. One top prize is won; it is necessary to win another. The fragile young person made such a decision and joined filmmaking, having earlier received one more diploma of the Academy of Arts. Let’s have a closer look at Alexandra: it may happen that before us is a future Fellini? All the more so, considering that the director started shooting the second film — Sweet Farewell of Vera.

“As workers at the film studio joke, this is my first film, while the second has already been White Dews. Return,” the director says, finding a few minutes to talk during a break between scenes. It appears that, having received the diploma, Alexandra came to Belarusfilm with the scenario of a film Sweet Farewell of Vera, but at that time we were preoccupied with another thing — the realisation of an old idea — shooting of the continuation of a legendary film. Butor, as she is called, appeared in due time and in the proper place, and her debut in big cinema is White Dews. Sweet Farewell of Vera, despite the fact that it won the film projects competition of the Ministry of Culture, has been patiently biding its time.

And here Alexandra again is in director’s armchair. On it, there is no nominal inscription as it happens with well-known directors. Moreover, for luck, she breaks a plate on tripod — but not at the first try.

The People’s Artist of Lithuania, Juozas Budraitis heaps compliments on Butor, in spite of the fact that during his first day of filming, she made him to clutch his heart — for fun of course, and according to the plot.

“Alexandra is able to create the atmosphere on a shooting stage, helps people to feel more at ease — it is worth a lot,” says Juozas Budraitis.

The artiste, who had more than one hundred film roles under his belt, knows what he is talking about — he has a lot to compare with. He has worked with many directors and responded positively to the offer to act in the continuation of White Dews. He says that he simply likes working with youth, it is banal — you yourself become younger (the actor is over seventy years old still actively acts in films).


Shot from White Dews. Return

Alexandra literally made Budraitis a member of the family. He admits that it was difficult to leave Minsk. After all it is big talent — to make all actors a single whole during shooting. Therefore, when the director invited Juozas to auditions in the next film, he literally rushed to Belarus. And again he is in total delight.

“Alexandra has every chance to take her place among the best directors. It is her trade. She has all necessary skills. First of all, a director should have a strong character, and she possesses it. Alexandra has a firm character and knows what she wants. At the same time, it is easy with her on a shooting stage. She makes one small remark and you understand that she knows her occupation and follows her clear concept. She never hesitates; she has a firm plan, and all the details are thought out. There are few such directors. The young want everything and at once, they hasten, do not try to grasp.”

Budraitis sincerely wishes a better future for Belarusian cinema. His reference point is Through Cemetery by Victor Turov. He says that he remembers this film by heart, from the first scene to the last. He believes that Butor will become a worthy continuer of the best traditions of our cinema. Moreover, he declared that Alexandra follows in the footsteps of great directors.

One more Lithuanian, Nelė Savičenko-Klimienė, is still restrained in her compliments to the director as she has only just started to become acquainted with her. The name of the director, she assures, is not the main thing, the scenario, the actor’s ensemble is more important.

So, why has Butor made such a bold push at this time? Actors say, “Almost art house.” The director herself says, “It is penetrating cinema.” Officially it is a psychological drama. It is a story of elderly people. According to the plot, a beautiful aging woman, who for her whole life had waited for her only love — the captain of an air liner who did not dare to leave his family — remains without work, relatives and friends. Being afraid to burden people with her death, she invites an agent to organise her own funeral and between her and this young guy love flares up.

“I am trembling so much,” says Alexandra with delight, before shooting starts. “Already, I don’t have that euphoria, as with White Dews. Return, as if have I have matured. It is a magic film, it is valuable for me because in each of these characters — is a part of me and those whom I love, and a little bit of a dream.”

The film won’t have any weapons fired, chase scenes or special effects — only a delicate psychological game; a string stretched to its limit. Butor is going to make the audience love, suffer and think. She dreams that it will be a film of which she will be proud and will go with it to the festivals. We also will dream of it. After all, it is desirable that Belarusian cinema will, once again, become famous.
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