Russian director explores Dostoyevsky
Russia’s director Vladimir Khotinenko has made a film series about the Russian literary genius Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Khotinenko shared his experiences in an interview with Voice of Russia.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky is widely seen as Russia’s hallmark brand. For Vladimir Khotinenko, Dostoyevsky is not a monument, but a person.
"My project explores Dostoyevsky the person, not Dostoyevsky the genius, he says. If you want to see how ingenious he was, read his books. My project was designed to paint a human picture of Dostoyevsky in contrast to the established stereotypes stemming from the portrait of Dostoyevsky by the Russian artist Perov, who portrayed Dostoyevsky as significant, sullen and somewhat bored…"
By contrast, Khotinenko shows the writer to be passionate, reckless and vulnerable. Just as his characters, who he often copied from himself, Dostoyevsky took everything in his life - love, art and gambling - to the limit.
Dostoyevsky’s life was as exciting as his novels. He was a strong personality and produced an equally strong impact. He loved reading his works, and works by Gogol and Pushkin, in public. His performance had such magical power and was filled with so much emotion that people fainted during his reading of Pushkin’s “Prophet”. His work was accompanied by visual effects. As he dictated “The Gambler” to his wife, he paced up and down the room, from the window to the door, from the door to the oven, then slapped the oven. A seemingly trifle move, the slapping was resonated with the writer’s inner rhythm.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky is played by Yevgeny Mironov, who starred in the screen version of Dostoyevsky’s “Idiot” a few years ago. In the new series Mironov had to trace the writer’s life from age 26 to nearly the last of his days.
An unsurpassed psychologist, Fyodor Dostoyevsky defined the essence of his work when he was 17. A human being, he wrote, is a mystery, and the point is to solve this mystery. If you spend the rest of your life solving it, don’t say you wasted time. I’m set on solving this mystery, for I want to be a human being.