"White Tiger": a battle with a phantom
The World War II action drama “White Tiger” by Russian director Karen Shakhnazarov will hit Russian screens on May 3rd, a few days before V-Day celebrations. The director describes his “White Tiger” as a war film with elements of mysticism and fantasy. The Voice of Russia’s Rita Bolotskaya reports.
The film is set during the Second World War and tells about a fierce confrontation between a Soviet tank man who miraculously survived and a German tank-phantom known as the White Tiger. The crewless tank-phantom mysteriously appears out of nowhere and vanishes into nowhere, killing soldiers and sowing panic. A Soviet tank man challenges the phantom. The director, Karen Shakhnazarov, who has never made war films before, says that there is something exciting about a man going into battle with a phantom.
Karen Shakhnazarov shared his opinion in an interview with a Voice of Russia correspondent.
"For me, to start filming about war was far from easy. You have to tap a nice story, a story which appeals to you, in the first place, if you want to make it into a film. I found Ilya Boyashev’s war story “Tank Man, or the White Tiger” exciting. It’s a fantasy story within the framework of a war. In order to be able to film about war, one should have this inner feeling that one is prepared for such work. I never filmed about war before. I acted as a producer for Nikolai Lebedev’s film “The Star”, which told about Soviet intelligence agents operating in the Nazi rear. But that was different. Now, I felt I was ready for a war film as well. Also, I want to pay tribute to the memory of my father and his comrades-in-arms who fought against the Nazis."
World War II provides an endless number of plots for film scripts, Karen Shakhnazarov says, and directors will continue to make films about it, even though battle scenes are becoming more and more difficult to mount if you don’t use computer graphics. Most “White Tiger” battle scenes were made without computer graphics thanks to the unique facilities of the Mosfilm Studio. Karen Shakhnazarov, who heads the Mosfilm Studio, says that the studio’s wartime equipment is in good condition and that former military experts are taking good care of it. Many of the studio’s tanks are 70 years old but they never fail and are always put into motion if necessary.
Apart from battle scenes and mystical events, Karen Shakhnazarov has other reasons for venturing on a war movie. He wants to release his new film by his 60th birthday to be marked in July.
“The older I become, - Shakhnazarov says. – the more I ask myself: can it be so that war, even though it might sound awful, could be part and parcel of our biological existence? I still don’t know the answer”.