Homage to Truffaut’s THE 400 BLOWS
There were a few phases in a life of a boy before, you were led through those phases by the society, and today you are pretty much on your own
Director Alexander Vartanov was born in 1977 in Moscow. He studied journalism, film directing and dramaturgy. He started his career as a theatre director, and he also worked as a translator, actor, producer and screenwriter, and he currently works for a Russian film distributor company “Volga“.
BULLET COLLECTOR is his directing debut, for which he also wrote the screenplay. He was one of the producers of this drama.
He speaks for the Festival Newspaper about his experience, the film that is shown in the Parallels and Encounters Programme of the 19 European Film Festival and THE 400 BLOWS as his inspiration Before your directing debut you did different things in the theatre, on film and television. Which one is easier?
I worked as a theatre director for 10 years. I wouldn’t say that I was a very famous theatre director, but yes, I was famous. And then, of course, I wished to make a film. It was always a fantasy of mine. When I started making the BULLET COLLECTOR, it was the easiest thing I ever did. While I was in theatre, it was a difficult job for me; I find working on films is much easier.
What motivated you to make a story about a maladjusted and bullied boy? We encounter stories like that all the time in our surroundings, some even find their way to the media. Where did you find the inspiration for this story: was it your life, the media, someone you know?
Adolescence is universal where ever you are. Many people I know went through hell in their adolescence, especially the period from the age of 14 to 17, or even 18. You don’t know who you are, what you are, what you want or who you want to be. You must become a man, especially in Russia, where you are expected to be a real man at 14, practically an adult. But you don’t want that, you don’t know how to be a grown man and that is why there are many films with this topic all over the world. Especially today, when the society no longer takes you through adolescence as it did 20-30 years ago. There were a few phases in a life of a boy before, starting from kindergarten, elementary school, high school. The society took you through all these phases, and today you’re on your own. This state in boys is absolutely universal.
The story of the film reminds of THE 400 BLOWS by Francoise Truffaut. Did you have that film in mind when you wrote the script?
Yes, the BULLET COLLECTOR is my absolute homage to Francoise Truffaut and his cult film THE 400 BLOWS. One of the last scenes in my film most directly “copies” some of the last scenes of his film, but it ends differently than Truffaut’s does. That is why it was filmed in black and white. The narrative structure of my film is pretty similar to this film, a story of a boy who lives in a juvenile correctional home, but is quite different in style and approach.