«Far Frontiers» press conference report
On October 3, 2020, the press conference dedicated to the film «Far Frontiers» by Russian director Maksim Dashkin took place. The film is part of the Main Competition program at the 42nd Moscow International Film Festival. Director and producer Maksim Dashkin, producer Denis Kovalevsky, actress Viktoria Tolstoganova and actor Sergey Shnyryov participated in the press conference.
The film's script was written by the famous Russian US-based filmmaker Boris Frumin. Maria lives in a Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan with her son and husband, eagerly awaiting their transfer back hom to Russia. She develops a close relationship with Captain Krainov, her son’s Judo coach, setting up a chain of dramatic events that will determine the fate of Maria and those around her.
«I graduated from the Directing faculty of the New York University, and Boris was one of my professors, I adopted a lot from neorealism from him. I made a short titled “Circular Movement” starring Agniya Kuznetsova, and the film focused on a love triangle. I saw how well the topic of faithfulness, choice, personal relations resonated with the audience, and realized that it could become a feature-length film. The same characters, Maria, Nikolay, their child, appeared in the short film, and made it into the feature. I understood that the Leskov family had to be put into more difficult circumstances, more challenging location. I started looking for places where Russian military can end up. Syrian conflict hadn’t started yet, we had our military bases in Belarus, Armenia, in the Caucasus, and I also saw Tajikistan and an air unit in Kyrgyzstan. First, we went to Tajikistan, there was a river, mountains, it was great, but the locals told us that the Afghan border was just across the river, and our actress will be “kidnapped 100%”. We weren’t ready for this of course, so moved the story to Kyrgyzstan. I stayed near the Russian Kant military base for a while, found out where women work, where men and children go out. So I came up with the characters, and Boris Frumin helped me compile the script using the material and escalated some things,» Maksim Dashkin told journalists about the story behind the film's pre-production.
The shooting took place in Balykchi, near the Issyk-Kul lake. The film's producer Denis Kovalevsky noted that «Kyzgyzfilm» studio specialists helped in production. Also, locals took part in the shooting: for example, director found the young actor to star as the child at the local sports club. Viktoria Tolstoganova starred as the leading lady.
«Sometimes I get these strange ideas — for example, that I could live anywhere, in any block of flats, even in Balykchi, although it feels a bit like another planet. There, people view themselves differently. My character has this inner air, freedom inside her, but she lives within her fate, with her husband and child. She doesn't want to move to Moscow and become, for instance, an actress, she lives in a situation that is comfortable for her. But what happens to her, how she is thrown out of it, out of her world, is surely fascinating. It seems to me that it happens fot another reason rather than the metaphorical lack of air. I think it's a multi-dimensional story that chimes with Russian classical literature,» Viktoria Tolstoganova said. ,
Director Maksim Dashkin also talked about the influence of classical literature on the film.
«When I make a movie, I try to leave the literature narrative aside and create a piece for the screen. However, we all are children in our cultural core, and my cultural code lies in Russian literature of course. Every fall I re-read «Dead And Alive», each year or two «Brothers Karamazov». Russian literature has influenced my work greatly, and it continues to do so,» the director emphasized.
Actor Sergey Shnyryov also said that he had been inspired by literature while working on his character.
«In particular, Lermontov was the source, but not really his prose, rather «Masquerade». Also, I play a role in «The Kreutser Sonata», and it also focuses on jealousy as the central topic. Arbenin says, «But if I'm deceived, I'm not calling laws to take revenge». I think it really suits my character here. However, unlike Tolstoy and Lermontov's characters, he holds everything inside, being a boss, a lieutenant colonel. Even the film title, «Far Frontiers», can be interpreted as a place that is far away from the motherland, in another culture; but it can also be treated as an emotional frontier, to which my character was led by his career, military environment and the events taking place in the film,» the actor said.