“Letter to Fellini”. From Projectionist Taras

America is shooting dramas and action films; Europe has switched to youth comedies; Russia seems to specialize in criminal sagas and thrillers. What about us?
A couple of days ago the Cinema House presented Dmitry Zaitsev’s “pure” (only Belarusian actors involved) picture “Letter to Fellini”.

The title is quite intriguing. The world famous director? And Belarus? Is there any connection? None whatsoever. The life of an ordinary human being from here is not tied to the great director. But cinema operator Taras is not an ordinary human being, he is a village crank that simply wishes to make the life of his fellows brighter and never gives up on them even in very complicated matters, like those that concern the great Federico Fellini. Taras is thrilled by the Italian, and he wishes to share his passion with those who are close to him. Life may certainly change for the better in the village of Novy Dvor in 1993 if a drop of classical movies is added. But time seems wrong for Fellini. Youngsters want discos and cheap entertainment, while the elderly are only interested in hard drinks amid the terrible economic crisis. But the spirit remains, because kindness is one of the key characteristic features of the Belarusians.

The cast of the picture includes Olga Nefedova, Pavel Bykov, Galina Fedorova and Varvara Labush. They were gathered by Alexei Turovich, who financed the picture and played the leading part. Belarus’ People’s Artist Nikolai Kirichenko played Fellini.

— Zaitsev called me and asked to play Fellini. I was stunned. How can I? But I tried my best to become someone who says goodbye not only to life, but also to the things he loves most of all. After I saw the picture I was very sad. Financing was scarce, and you can see it: cheapness can be seen through the mastery of the director. Dmitry Zaitsev is a wonderful director and cameraman, he managed to incarnate his visions and ideas and make excellent shots of the Belarusian nature, but financing was so limited that you can see it.

Georgy Marchuk, the author of the novel and the script, says he would very much like to change the pace of the picture and extend the parts of some characters, but even with these drawbacks he is certain the picture made him feel catharsis.

Alexei Turovich admits that money is the main problem, as usual: the more money the better the quality of the picture and the more opportunities the director and actors have. But as they say, the nation watches the movies that it can pay for… Nevertheless “Letter to Fellini” is getting ready for the film festival “Cinema XXI Century” in Russia’s Smolensk, and then will be presented at the “Listapad” festival in Minsk. And then we will all see the picture on TV if the Belarusian Television decides to buy it.

Asya Terletskaya
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