«The Melody Of String Tree» press conference report
On October 4, 2020, the press conference dedicated to the film «The Melody Of String Tree» by Russian director Irina Evteeva took place. The film is part of the Main Competition of the 42nd Moscow International Film Festival. Director and screenwriter Irina Evteeva, producer and composer Andrey Sigle, actor Vladimir Koshevoy participated in the press conference.
«The Melody of a String Tree» is a film-dilogy about the journey of the poet Velimir Khlebnikov and his ‘ka’ (double). In Ancient Egyptian mythology, ka is a vital essence in the shape of a person, which exists separately from its ‘master’. It is an immortal double that accompanies the poet through his creations and through time. On the one hand, this is the story of Pharaon Echnaton, who gives the protagonist, the Poet, his ka. On the other hand, this is the love story of Layla and Medlum, the heroes of Khlebnikov’s eponymous poem. Like stars from the east and the west, they meet in the sky. The action of the film takes place in Petrograd during the World War I. However, Khlebnikov’s characters move freely in different times and spaces.
«The first part about Khlebnikov took us two years, we started out in 2016. First, I made draft clips with actors. As I didn't have a lot of money, it was a blitz shooting of sorts. Khlebnikov was shot in five days, Layla and Medlum's story took us three. The rest of the time was dedicated to drawing,» Irina Evteeva said.
She added that the two parts of the picture are different. One of them, the golden one, is inspired by Paradzhanov's works. The second part is «half-transparent». A curious fact, Evteeva noted, is that she wrapped up the script for the Khlebnikov and Ka part on March 10, 2015, and later found out that Khlebnikov finished writing his novel «Ka» «on the same date, but 100 years earlier».
Actor Vladimir Koshevoy starred as poet in the film.
«We spent a long time looking for intonations – how metre and rhythm change inside a poem. We had to find the right message to adhere to the content. This is a very picturesque film of course, and actor’s existence in it isn’t ordinary, it’s poetic, it depends on movements, gestures, language. We did our best to make sure it stands out and is precise, but is also subtle, tender. Passing a message without uttering a single word takes a lot of talent,» Vladimir Koshevoy said.
Choreographer Vladimir Adzhamov was responsible for movement and choreography in the film, and he starred in Evteeva’s 2004 film «Demon». Since then, the two have been collaborating. Andrey Sigle, the film's producer and composer, also often works with the director.
«It took us two years to receive the funding from the Ministry of Culture – 15 million first, and then another 15 million. We used this money to make two short films which were later put together in one feature. It's not our first experience of this kind: the previous film also consisted of two short stories. However, it's not some big creative plan, but rather a production necessity. Working with Irina Evteeva is one big film in itself, it's an opportunity to immerse in real art, in painting. I adore Khlebnikov and realize that he is a misunderstood artist, both in Russia and all over the world. He died at 37, lived in trying times, his contemporaries didn’t really accept him. However, he was trying to find the law of time, to understand how to make everyone happy, despite being hungry, poor and despite serving in the army during the First World War,» Andrey Sigle said.