«Hypnosis» press conference report
On October 5, 2020, the press conference dedicated to the film «Hypnosis» by Russian director Valery Todorovsky took place. The film participates in the Main Competition of the 42nd Moscow International Film Festival. Director Valery Todorovsky, composer Anna Drubich, screenwriter Lyubov Mulmenko, actor Sergey Giro and actress Polina Galkina took part in the press conference.
The story focuses on teenage Misha, who receives hypnotic treatment for sleepwalking from psychotherapist Volkov. Eventually Misha becomes so dependent on the hypnologist that he is no longer able to distinguish reality from illusion. After the mysterious death of one of Volkov’s lady patients Misha decides to investigate the case and find out the truth.
«When I was 12, I went to the Vladimir Raykov's laboratory, sat in the chair there. He was a prominent person and scientist, studied natural aggression in people. And the episode in our film when Volkov's patients decide whether or not to kill the rat, is very real. I saw it in my childhood, and that situation stuck in my memory,» Valery Todorosvky said.
Screenwriter Lyubov Mulmenko said that it had been a long time since they wanted to make a project with Todorosvky, and it was the director’s meeting with Raykov that fascinated them most of all.
«He showed me videos featuring this hypnologist, I’ve seen a lot of archival footage. We weren’t sure that we would finish the project, I just wrote the first couple of scenes and then sent the script in parts, just as a TV series, to Valery. So he was interested in and curious about the following episodes until the very end,» Mulmenko said.
She added that «Hypnosis» is «a family story in an exotic wrapping».
«I really wanted to make a film that felt like half-sleep, all the more because the plot demanded it. So I came up with the idea of snow constantly falling outside. This is a feeling of time that stopped; and half-dream when we fail to distinguish between reality and sleep. At the same time, I wanted to stay in the real time without being over the top. Also, I really wanted the film to be a psychological thriller – it has specific genre traits,» Todorovsky said..
The film's composer Anna Drubich also worked with genre, half-dream atmosphere and memories.
«It is our second work with Valery Petrovich. Both «Odessa» and «Hypnosis» are based on deep childhood memories of the director, so I had to reflect his personal feelings precisely, and it is a challenging task for any composer. When Valery Petrovich said that it is a psychological thriller, I thought that I would add some horror music-wise, but he told me the soundtrack should be lighter, dream-like. It's a subjective, personal story, and I think music is subtle here, one can't really understand if it's there at all,» Drubich said.
Prominent Russian actor Maksim Sukhanov, with whom Todorovsky worked in his 1998 film «Land Of The Deaf», and debutant actor Sergey Giro star in the picture.
«I enjoy working with Maksim, but hasn't had a chance to work with him for many years. When this script was written, I realized that I would have a hard time trying to find a more powerful actor to play Volkov. Sukhanov is becoming better and better as years go by, his niche in our cinema is unique. When I was looking for an actor to play Misha, I bore in mind that this teenager would be in frame with Sukhanov, and I had to find an equal, because Sukhanov can metaphorically crush anyone. Sergey stood this test,» the director said.
Sergey Giro was cast after sending a video screen test. He is from Krasnoyarsk.
«Valery Petrovich assembled a fantastic cast and crew. You gain a lot of experience when working with them. We didn't argue, to the contrary, there were moments when we guessed each others' thoughts. My character has this parasite thought that haunts him: he thinks that everything around is an illusion, and one can become obsessed with it as an actor, it was difficult for me,» the actor said.
He added that his communication with Maksim in real life was reflected in the way their characters interact.
«Maksim is an outstanding, powerful actor, and when he plays, he starts to lead you, and you begin playing better which is of course useful for the film. However, Misha follows Volkov in a very similar way,» Giro said.
Debutant actress, GITIS graduate Polina Galkina played one of the key female roles.
«I believe that everything is in your hands and I can influence my life. My character made her choice and turned her life in a certain direction,» the actress noted.
The topic of choice has become the main one for director Valery Todorovsky while working on «Hypnosis».
«It's a question our character asks: whom do I trust more? Myself or this powerful, talented, grandiose person who accepted me as a student and trusts me with things he wouldn't trust anyone with. And this choice is one of the main topics in the film – should we trust our own feelings or the feelings of someone we worship,» the director concluded.