Seven Lives of Sherlock Holmes

The most famous images of the detective in cinematography

Reading time 7 minutes

Sherlock is a character created by English writer Arthur Conan Doyle. Consulting detective lives in Victorian London on Baker Street and helps Scotland Yard police in solving crimes. Works about the adventures of Holmes and Dr. Watson have become classics of the detective genre, and screenings are still successful.

The first film adaptation is considered to be a thirty-second silent movie «Sherlock Holmes Baffled». The short sketch was premiered in May 1900. The names of the actors are unknown. The only copy was lost until it was restored by cards in 1968. «Baffled» is the first detective in the history of cinematography.

«Sherlock Holmes Baffled» // Frame from the restored film of 1900

The most popular screen adaptation among the Russian public is the Soviet series with Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin in the lead roles. The series «The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson» was released in 1979-1986 and consisted of eleven episodes. The plot was based on stories «A Study in Pink», «The Final Problem», «The Hound of the Baskervilles».

The TV series was appreciated abroad: the film critic Alan Barnes in his book «Sherlock Holmes on the screen» (1999) wrote that the detective performed by Livanov is the best of all time.

Frame from the Soviet series «The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson»

In 1970 the American film «The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes» was released. Oscar-winning director Billy Wilder worked on the picture, and the main character was played by British Robert Stevenson. Holmes and Watson visit the ball of Russian ballerina and bathe in women’s attention. Unlike his3 friend, Sherlock is not glad about this arrangement. At the same time, a standard detective line develops: the detective investigates the case of the disappearance of the man. The search brings the heroes to Loch Ness Lake.

Frame from «The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes»

«Sherlock Holmes» by Guy Ritchie was released in 2009, two years later – a continuation under the title «Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows» . The characters of the detective and the doctor were performed by Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. The friends save London from Moriarty’s plans and investigate terrorist attacks. Critics praised the screening, and the first film was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe. The third part of the franchise will be released in 2021.

Frame from «Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows»

«Sherlock» (2010) by the BBC is probably the most unusual of all. The action takes place not in Victorian England, but in the modern one. John Watson (Martin Freeman) blogs about his friend instead of notes. The image of Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, turned out to be extraordinary. Sherlock calls himself a «highly active sociopath», fights against drug addiction and denies the existence of feelings and emotions. The main antipode of the detective is James Moriarty.

At the moment, 4 seasons and a special episode  «The Abominable Bride» have been released. It is not known whether there will be a continuation.

Poster for the fourth season of «Sherlock» by the British company BBC

In 2012, CBS offered to the producers of the British «Sherlock» with a proposal to make a remake. The BBC refused to sell the copyrights, so the company created a TV series from scratch. «Elementary» was released in September of the same year.

Holmes comes to New York for treatment in a rehabilitation center and remains to work as a police consultant. Joanne Watson – in this adaptation the doctor became a girl – supervises the detective.

«Elementary» // Sherlock (John Lee Miller) and Joan (Lucy Lew)

«Enola Holmes» is an online platform project created by Netflix, released in autumn. Producer and main actress – 16-year-old Millie Bobby Brown. The focus is not on Sherlock, but his teenage sister Enola. The image of the detective turned out to be interesting, though not canonical. In the story Mycroft, Sherlock and Enola are looking for their missing mother.

«Enola Holmes» // Enola (Millie) and Sherlock (Henry Cavill)
«Enola Holmes» // Enola (Millie) and Sherlock (Henry Cavill)

There was also a scandal: Doyle’s heirs sued on Netflix. In their opinion, the producers used stories that are not yet in the public domain.

Theatricality in Cinema

What is the relationship between these two arts

Reading time 4 minutes

What makes the languages of theater and cinema so different but at the same time so good complement each other?

Perhaps the most obvious difference between the cinema and theater is that the first one is fragmented. To achieve the desired effect, the director can use many takes – he has a few chances to «replay» the planned. But the viewer has no opportunity to «touch» the action. Film production and the process of consumption of the finished product by the viewer are separated in time.

«Stop! Cut!»

On the contrary, theatrical processes are continuous. The performance implies constant interaction with the viewer, who acts as a «creator». The degree of influence of production depends mainly on the audience involvement, its concentration on what is happening «here and now».

The theater is the art of reflecting (c) Konstantin Stanislavsky

The degree of the conventionality of both cinema and theater is closely connected with communication (mainly non-verbal) between actors and audience. The emotional connection of the viewer is a necessary condition. The theater aims to unite actors and spectators in a single spiritual effort. But both cinema and theater strive to lead us to a state of “secondary belief” – appealing to our personal experiences, associations, and feelings. We empathize with the characters, project the events and behavior of the characters on themselves, interpret meanings, and rethink what we see.

Another important feature is the illusion of reality, and in cinema, it is much higher than in the theater. The director is able to recreate almost any historical epoch, and modern technology makes this task much easier. In the theater, all «special effects» are built-in, and the main mechanisms of influence are the actor’s mimicry and scenery. Spatial restrictions (stage frames) also have an effect.

Cinema should make the viewer forget that he is sitting in the movie (c) Roman Polanski

There are films that are on the verge of theater and cinema. «Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead»(1990, directed by Tom Stoppard) and «Anna Karenina» (2012, directed by Joe Wright) are interpretations of classics in which the artistic possibilities of theater and cinema complement each other.

In the first of them, the techniques of anachronism, demonstrative violation of sequence and visual citation (these resources give the cinema) are combined with the involvement of the heroes-observers in the course of the action: the world for them at some point becomes theater, they move to the stage, in the heart of Shakespeare’s «Hamlet» – so there is an external conditionality (theatrical feature).

There are two ways to become an artist. The first is to do what everyone thinks is art. Second: to make everyone think that what you are doing is art (c) Tom Stoppard

In the second – we meet the excessive acting mimicry and live plasticity, striking the splendor of scenery (the illusion of the place) with the effect of «behind the scenes» (in the design of the back of the stage).

Shootings of the film “Anna Karenina” (2012, directed by Joe Wright)

Another interesting example is «The Hateful Eight» (2015). Quentin Tarantino borrows from the theater a method of narrative division into acts: the film consists of chapters, each of which becomes our «guide» in a confusing, dark, and bloody story. Interesting here is the mise-en-scene transferred from theatricality, designed to reflect all the components of the inner life of the heroes, resulting in a struggle between them – both on the moral and ethical as well as physical levels.

«They don’t come here without a good reason»…

The theater has something to offer to the film industry – the possibilities of its language, if used by the director correctly and appropriately, are really able to make a film brighter visually and deeper – in the sense.

«Requiem for a Dream»: a manual for a drug addict or a tragic and beautiful story?

The anniversary of a cult movie is the time to review and rethink.

Reading time 11 minutes

In 2020 the film «Requiem for a Dream» celebrated its 20th anniversary. On the occasion of the jubilee, Darren Aronofsky decided to release the director’s version of the film in 4K on October 13. We decided to remember the film, which is familiar to virtually everyone and discuss our impressions.

«Requiem for a Dream» on the screens again (source: KinoPoisk).

The plot

Female perspective

The plot of the film is quite simple. Aronofsky presents us four main characters: Mrs. Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn), her son Harry (Jared Leto), his girlfriend Marion Silver (Jennifer Connelly) and their mutual friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans). From the first minutes of the film we learn that each of them has a certain dream: Sara Goldfarb wants to do a popular TV show, Harold and Tyrone are eager to get rich, and Marion sees herself as the owner of a designer store. There is a weighty obstacle between the heroes and their goals – drugs. Addiction becomes the main obstacle to the dream, making all their plans unattainable. All plotlines are brought to a logical end: four heroes pass through summer, autumn and winter. Their destinies are gradually collapsing, and at the end of the film the tragedy reaches its climax. The director managed to find the balance between the storylines and to reveal each character to the full extent.

Carefree “summer” Harry and Tyrone, frame from the film (source: KinoPoisk)

Men’s view

I would not agree with my colleague. Yes, each of the heroes has a dream, but it is not what Aronofsky brings to the surface of the plot. The problem is not drugs, but that the characters are too deep in dreams and illusions because of weak will. Yes, Marion dreams of creating her own clothing brand, but take into account the financial situation of her parents. If the girl behaved more seriously, they would support her endeavor. But is it the main thing for her? In fact, Marion herself wants to spend her life next to Harry and to realize herself. The last one, in a very distorted form, she gets at the end of the film. Yes, Harold and Tyrone dream of a «pound of cleansing» (453 grams of pure heroin) and wealth. Is this what they live for? No! It is important for Harry to be with Marion. She was the first person he thought about during the amputation of his hand. His meaning of life was Marion, not money and drugs. He dreamed that she would succeed in the fashion industry and become truly happy. Tyrone wants to become a significant person in society and is ready to do everything for his «ideal» future. This is shown in a scene where he enthusiastically agrees to work for a drug lord for money and status. In reality, each of them just wants to find his place in life. The drugs in «Requiem for a Dream» are a metaphorical curtain on the window. Heroes dream of getting into the street, but do not go out. They prefer to draw the curtain and not to think that there is a neat yard outside their room. And because they «pull the curtain» regularly, they forget about the existence of the world around them.

Acting

Female perspective

The selection of actors in this film was, as it seems to me, extremely scrupulous. Aronofsky approved for the role of those who will immediately arouse the sympathy of the audience. While watching the film, the characters are not disgusted, but rather compassionate. This is a very well thought out move. Of all the cast, the most memorable is Ellen Burstyn. Her heroine gave me the creeps.

Ellen Burstyn as Sara, frame from the film (source: Yandex Zen).

Men’s view

It’s hard to argue that the cast is definitely beyond any criticism. I would especially like to mention Jennifer Connelly. If the theme of drugs is far from your worldview, the motivation to continue watching will be the charming beauty and stunning game of the main character.

Directing and production

Female perspective

The film was filmed beautifully. Colors, frame staging, scenery and views – all in the same style, pleasing to the eye. The business card of the film is the famous splices of the frames, embodying the use of substances. The film is imbued with the aesthetics of that time and society. The strongest scene is shown at the end of the film picture, where all four heroes lie in the embryo position, embodying their helplessness.

Tyrone in embryo position, frame from film (source: KinoPoisk)

Men’s view

Stunning «Hip-hop» montage from Aronofsky and just an unreal number of splices! The ingenious breakdown of the film into seasons reminds «The Seasons» by Vivaldi. Montage allows us to feel the pace and rhythm of what is happening and it is the «heart» of the picture and sets the movement. However, I did not have enough flowers in this picture. Perhaps more daring solutions could add extra vividness to what is happening.

Overall impression

Female perspective

The film undoubtedly contains strong scenes that show how harmful drugs are to physical and mental health. Accordingly, the message is quite simple and clear: if there were no heroin and amphetamine heroes in life, everything would be perfect. The disadvantage of this picture is the certainty that none of the heroes will be able to live a normal life and cope with their addiction which has developed since the very first scenes. Therefore, the whole film turns into waiting for the fatal outcome, which will be a disaster for all characters. «Requiem for a Dream», in my opinion, lacked the unpredictability of the plot that Uli Edel was able to create in the film «Christiane F ».

Harry and Marion, frame from the film (source: KinoPoisk)

Men’s View

I did not have enough beautiful, bright, carefree scenes «in summer», I would like more colors. Moreover, the heroes are so often «high»!
Another factor that slightly embarrassed me was the lack of noticeable contrast in the scenes starting from autumn.
I definitely liked the plot structure based on the extremes. If you need a «dope», it is impossible to get it in more than eight million city (the film is set in one of the districts of New York – Brooklyn). Therefore, the heroes go in search not just in a neighboring city or state, but in Florida, the distance to which is more than 8500 km! However, to me, it gives additional dynamics, and in combination with the installation looks organic.

Social significance 

Female perspective

«Requiem for a Dream» is among the 250 best movies. The movie by Aronofsky is considered cult because it shows the drug addiction of the present. «Requiem for a Dream» does not romanticize drugs, it shows how substances break destinies. There is a tendency for all movies or series that mention drug addiction to become quite popular (e.g., TV series «Euphoria», «Eagles», «Elite» and «13 Reasons why»). Is it necessary to show the topic of drug use in movies? Why not? But only as long as the mentioning does not turn into the propaganda of such a lifestyle. By the way, Russian psychologists have noticed that «Requiem for a Dream» has psychotherapeutic properties and allows to fight harmful habits.

Ellen Burstyn on filming (source: Tvkinoradio)

Men’s view

I do not think it is correct to compare this picture with work like «Euphoria», too different contexts. In «Requiem for a Dream», drugs are used as one of the connecting elements of all heroes. The «dope» increases rapidly, time runs faster, and the situation in which the heroes drive themselves becomes increasingly desperate.
Drug propaganda is a bad thing. However, take, for example, the cult movie «Dazed and Confused», which is famous in the USA. Throughout the whole time the heroes «get high» and this is what makes it possible to recreate the atmosphere corresponding to the film’s idea. In this way the director helps the viewer to feel the epoch (the action takes place in the USA in the 70s). Aronofsky also uses drugs in the frame to make the viewer experience emotions. The film’s author tries to convey to us: «Live here and now, not in illusions. Act, be yourself and everything can work out».

«DAU»: reality show and documentary film

This autumn the project will resume showing films on the Internet-portal.

Reading time 5 minutes

Some materials of the film project became available at the «DAU» in spring. Ilya Khrzhanovsky planned to show unreleased films at international movie festivals in 2020-2021. However, the pandemic made its corrections and the director decided to publish the remaining films on the Internet.

Still from the film «DAU» by Ilya Khrzhanovsky (source: «Theatre»).

The «DAU» is a parallel spatial and temporal universe, allowing to return to the Soviet Union and explore the complex relationship of Soviet man with the totalitarian regime of the USSR. Ilya Khrzhanovsky He has been creating the project for 14 years. «DAU» includes 14 films, 3 series and 700 hours of filmed timekeeping, which do not obey either chronological or single plot logic and cover about 40 years of life: from the late 1920s to 1968.

Director Ilya Khrzhanovsky, actresses Olga Shkabarnia and Natalia Berezhnaya (source: RIA).

The film project literally recreated life in the USSR. The shooting involved non-professional actors who played without a script and lived on the film set throughout the work. The main location of «DAU» is the Institute of Physical Problems. It was home to religious figures, artists and scientists. Including, even our famous contemporaries. For example, Nobel Prize winner physicist David Gross. Employees were paid in Soviet rubles. Party and trade union meetings were also held at the Institute, and the First Department was functioning.

None of the items from the XXI century, up to underwear, was allowed on the territory of the Institute. Ilya Khrzhanovsky in an interview with Kseniya Sobchak said that women during periods used gauze, and there were fines for those who used words and concepts not related to the time of the act.

Screen from the film «DAU. Natasha» (source: platform dau.com)

At some point, the film set turned into a psychedelic journey. With the help of special invitation, visitors could join the project, communicate with its residents, real artists, scientists, filmmakers, and feel the atmosphere of Soviet times. Among the episodic characters were Demyan Kudryavtsev, former director-general of «Kommersant» and «Vedomosti»; film director Alexander Shein, director of Prada store. Thus, the mansion on Piccadilly that embodied the Soviet institution and which is located in one of the most prestigious areas of London, gathered a heterogeneous mass of people – from Marina Abramovich to Roman Abramovich.

At the shooting of “DAU” (source: KinoPoisk )

Despite this widespread public interest, the project caused conflicting emotions. Thus, some critics refused to write reviews, motivating their decision by unwillingness to participate in the PR of a film that demonstrates rape, humiliation and sadism.

In Kharkov in the spring of 2020, a criminal case was opened against Khrzhanovsky. The Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office accused the filmmakers of torturing children during filming and of propagating violence and cruelty.

In Russia, the project was treated with caution. Only six films were given rental IDs. The rest of the films were considered propaganda for pornography by the Ministry of Culture.

The audience is prepared for the uncharted

Will the authors of Uncharted be able to change the idea of video game film adaptation?

Reading time 6 minutes

On March 2, it was officially announced that actor Antonio Banderas will play a role in the film “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune”. The action-adventure Uncharted movie will be the first part of the famous game series transfer to the big screen, an exclusive console of Sony PlayStation. The first game in 2007 was released by Naughty Dog, which was known for its Crash Bandicoot platformer series at that time. Immediately after the release, “Drake’s Fortune” received a very warm welcome from critics and gamers. IGN news portal recognized the game as the best one on PS3 in 2007. All subsequent parts of the series, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End were also ranked among the best games of 2009, 2011 and 2016, respectively. They were also included in the best games of both decades list. As well as another game from Naughty Dog – “The Last of Us”. Its sequel is upsetting the gamers due to constant delays.

Том Холланд будет играть Нейтана Дрейка
Tom Holland will play Nathan Drake
Nathan Drake
А Марк Уолберг - Виктора Салливана
And Mark Wahlberg will play Victor Sullivan
Виктор Салливан. Как по-вашему, похожи?
Victor Sullivan. Do you think they look alike?

From the very beginning, the film had many problems. The project was discussed for a long time due to the popularity of Uncharted, but went to the production hell: over the past years, 5 directors have been changed. Now it is headed by Ruben Fleischner, the creator of two parts of Zombieland  comedy horror and Venom comic book. Actors of the main roles are also well-known: the adventurer Nathan Drake will be played by Tom Holland, a current Spider-Man performer in the Marvel studio film, and his friend and mentor Victor Sullivan will be played by two-time Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg. What role was prepared for Banderas, is not yet reported. Initially, the premiere was planned to be at the end of 2020, but was postponed to March 5, 2021.

Марк Уолберг уже снимался в экранизации игры - фильме "Макс Пэйн" 2008 года
Mark Wahlberg has already starred in the 2008 film adaptation of Max Payne

The fundamental problem of the upcoming film is its format. Quite a few video games were adequately adapted into the movies. Still, a game and a film are fundamentally different cultures and ways of entertainment. In the movie, the creators are not able to embody the gameplay that they took as a basis. Spectators cannot control characters on the screen. Accordingly, they need to be entertained with the story, but it is extremely difficult to adapt it correctly, again because of the difference in formats: modern story games last 30 hours in average, which need to fit into 90-120 minutes of a cinema slot. For these reasons, game film adaptations usually suffer from a bad scenario. Authors try either to depart from the canon and thus violate the logic of the world, or, on the contrary, try to follow the original source, which makes the film look secondary. The producer’s reckoning is primarily based on original fans. They want to go to the movies and are able to recoup the production. It really works like this quite often but one of the last known examples – “Assassin’s Creed” (2016) raised $ 240 million with a budget of 125. It is regarded as a box office failure. After that, the flow of movies based on games was temporarily stopped in Hollywood. Let’s see whether the film about Nathan Drake will return interest in the segment.

Mulan is affected by coronavirus

Disney premiere may be delayed

Reading time 4 minutes

On February 29, the popular American mass culture news aggregator Comic Book reported that Disney did not approve the rental plan for its new “Mulan” movie in China. The picture was supposed to be released in late March, but now it is highly likely that the premiere of the picture in the Middle Kingdom will be postponed indefinitely. The main reason is an outbreak of coronavirus, which still cannot be controlled. The performer of the leading role, Liu Yifei, a native of Wuhan, the city where the epidemic started, spoke about the situation: “People are doing everything right. They cherish themselves and others. It is very scary to see that they have not left the house for weeks. I hope that a miracle will happen and everything will soon be behind.”

Пример диснеевского ремейка - "Король Лев". Слева версия 1994 года, справа - 2019
An example of a Disney remake is The Lion King. 1994 version on the left, 2019 on the right

This situation can bring huge losses to Disney. The corporation has already announced significant financial losses after the temporary closure of two theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong – more than $ 150 million per quarter. In addition, the situation with Mulan is special, because the movie was obviously made with the expectation of a great profit from the Chinese audience: the plot is based on the medieval Chinese ballad about the girl Hua Mulan, who went to war with the Huns instead of her father, pretending to be a man. The film is part of a series of numerous “Disney remakes” of popular cartoons from the 80s and 90s with living actors like Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin, or photorealistic animations like The Jungle Book and The Lion King. All previous remakes, despite critical reviews and accusations of secondary nature, repeatedly recouped their production budgets. “Mulan” should not have been an exception, especially given the enormous budget: according to rough estimates, it is about $ 300 million, which makes “Mulan” one of the most expensive movies in history. For comparison, the largest budget ($ 365 million) came from last year’s blockbuster Avengers: Final.

Поцелуй из оригинального мультфильма. Вроде очень милый и не пошлый...
A kiss from the original cartoon. It seems to be very cute and not vulgar …

The creators faced certain problems even until the film transfer. For example, due to the massive military scenes, the picture received an age rating of PG-13 (13+), becoming the first Disney remake with such indicator. PG is considered to be the standard rating for studio films (6+ with parental recommendation). In addition, after the pre-screening, Chinese viewers demanded to cut the scene of the main character’s kiss with Li Shang, a military commander, considering it vulgar and unchaste. As a result, the creators decided to completely remove the character of Li Sang, considering his relationship with Mulan not corresponding to the era of #MeToo. Besides the Chinese criticized the historical inaccuracies of the movie: for example, the Mulan family lives in the adobe house “Tulou”. In reality, they began to be built only a thousand years after the events described in the film.

IPhones are only for the good guys

An interesting feature of Apple products usage in the cinematography

Reading time 4 minutes

On February 26, Vanity Fair, an American magazine in the field of politics, culture, fashion and film, published another video interview on its Youtube channel (more than 2 million subscribers).  This interview was conducted by Ryan Johnson, a popular filmmaker. First of all, he is known as the creator of the science-fiction film “Loopers” and the 8th episode of the Star Wars movie saga, “Last Jedi”. In a 23-minute long video, Johnson talked about his last movie, “Knives Out”. A detective drama tape was released last September (in Russia on November 28) and received rave reviews from critics (97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and extremely positive reviews from viewers (a rating of 8.0 on IMDB). In addition, the film was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Original Screenplay category. Financially, “Knives Out” also became successful: with a budget of $ 40 million, he raised 306. In the beginning of 2020, it was announced that Johnson is already working on a continuation of the picture. He is planning to release it before the end of 2021. The plot of the first part tells the story of Benoit Blanc, a detective, who is investigating the mysterious murder of the famous author of crime novels Harlan Tromby. Hollywood star actors such as Daniel Craig, Chris Evans and Jamie Lee Curtis have performed in the movie.

Райан Джонсон раскрыл секрет Apple
Ryan Johnson revealed Apple’s secret

The interview instantly became popular due to Johnson revealing of a rather interesting secret: it turns out that Apple, whose products and accessories are regularly featured in movies and TV shows, prohibits negative characters to use them. Indeed, the real killer in “Knives Out” does not use anything related to Apple, unlike some suspects who ultimately turn out to be innocent. Johnson noted with humor that all other detective directors would probably want to kill him because of the exposure of this fact. And not only detective directors: now, watching any Hollywood movie, you can know in advance who is the villain and who is not. If the character in the frame uses Iphone, MacBook, AirPods and any other Apple products, then he or she is, by definition, a positive character. Thus, the company avoids negative associations with its products. According to representatives of the American CNBC channel, not only Apple has such a reverent attitude to the perception of their products by viewers. This is also true, for example, for manufacturers of various food products. It is unlikely that the company will like the fact that something with the label of its brand is thrown into the bin or broken into pieces in the frame.

Самые популярные бренды дорожат своей репутацией даже в кино
The most popular brands value their reputation even in the movies

 

The excess of Petrov

Why are actors playing in popular Russian films the same? Klim Shipenko explains

Reading time 6 minutes

On February 6, the famous Russian singer and composer Yuri Loza made an ironic post on his Facebook account, in which he noted Alexander Petrov’s over-popularity in contemporary Russian cinema. The musician considered it unfair that thousands of talented actors graduate from Russian film schools every year, each of them is waiting for new chance, but the producers prefer to give all the potential box office roles to Petrov.

Юрий Лоза поднял актуальную для многих российских кинозрителей тему
Yuri Loza asked a question that is relevant for many Russian moviegoers …

Although Yuri’s post was written in a rather humorous style, it provoked a discussion around the current situation with Russian actors. One of the participants of the discussion was Klim Shipenko, a successful film director. In 2019, two of his films were released at once: a criminal-dramatic psychological thriller “Text” (with Petrov playing the main role) and a comedy “The Serf”. The first film, according to the Kinopoisk online portal, was warmly received by both viewers (rating 7.0) and critics (85% of reviews were positive). This was also emphasized by the box office of 850 million rubles. With a budget of 75 it achieved excellent results at the main Golden Eagle film contest in Russia. “Text” received awards for the best film, best male roles of the first and second plans (Petrov and Ivan Yankovsky, respectively), as well as for the best editing (Tim Pavelko). Shipenko himself was awarded a nomination for best directing, and composer Nikolai Rostov was awarded for best music. “Serf”, with a similar rating of 7.0 at “Kinopoisk”, became the most profitable Russian film in the history of Russian distribution, collecting for the first time more than 3 billion rubles and breaking the “Upward” record.

А Клим Шипенко дал ответ на этот вопрос
… and Klim Shipenko answered this question

The director said that in terms of perception of actors, Russian viewers are very different from Western ones: there is still a distrust in the quality of domestic cinema, so producers prefer to screen more popular characters in order to increase the chances of success. And Petrov in this sense is not the first: Sergey Bezrukov followed the same path after the role of Sasha Bely in the crime series “The Brigade”, Konstantin Khabensky after the role of Anton Gorodetsky in the fantasy “Night Watch” and Danil Kozlovsky after the role of hockey player Valery Kharlamov in sports drama “Legend number 17”. Petrov gained popularity in the second half of the 2010s after the series “Policeman from Rublevka”, where he played Grigory Izmailov, a police captain.

Один из предшественников Петрова Данила Козловский в фильме "Легенда №17" (в центре)
One of Petrov’s predecessors, Danila Kozlovsky, in the film “Legend No. 17” (center)

Shipenko also noted that even Russian stars of the first echelon are not success guarantors at the box office, in contrast with Western ones. And the director definitely knew what he was talking about: despite the impressive final fees of “Text”, the adaptation of the novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky had an almost failed first weekend. During the first week, the box office amounted to only 92 million rubles. This figure slightly exceeded the budget of the film and took 4th place at the end of the week. It lost to the “Joker” (Todd Philips), who had already been in the box office for a month. In the future, word of mouth saved the situation: firstly, positive reviews began to come about the quality of the film, and secondly, the scandal around the overly frank bed scene with Christina Asmus and Ivan Yankovsky played a big role. Many viewers went to the cinema to find out what was special about this scene.

По этому фото не скажешь, но именно сцена с участием этих двоих сделала "Текст" таким популярным в прокате
You can’t tell from the photo, but it was the scene with the participation of these two that made “Text” so popular at the box office

As a result, the director described a vicious circle: it is more difficult for unknown actors to get into potentially stellar roles, and the famous ones are becoming even more popular, so they bother the audience.

Two out of five is twenty five

Harvey Weinstein trial took place in New York

Reading time 4 minutes

On February 24 was the final hearing of Harvey Weinstein’s case, a  famous Hollywood producer. The jury found him guilty in two of the five counts – criminal acts of a sexual nature and a rape of the third degree. The victim of the first crime was Weinstein’s former assistant Miriam Haley. It happened in 2006. The prosecution proved that she was prone to an oral sex. Jessica Mann, a stylist and actress was raped in 2013.

Мириам Хейли
Miriam Haley
Джессика Манн
Jessica Mann

The former director of Weinstein’s company is also charged with sexual abuse, threats and other extenuating circumstances. Due to a pronounced lack of consent to sex, the sentence is up to 5 years. However, Weinstein was acquitted of “predatory sexual abuse.” If this did not happen, the producer would face a life-long sentence. The estimated conclusion is from 5 to 25 years. The verdict will be issued on March 11. Weinstein should be waiting for further decisions in a prison on Riker Island, but immediately after the court he was taken to the hospital.

Движение "MeToo", ставшее популярным после дела Вайнштейна
The MeToo movement became popular after the Weinstein’s case

The scandal around Harvey Weinstein’s persona begun in October 2017. Ex-employees of The Weinstein Company and actresses who starred in the company’s films massively claimed sexual harassment from the former Boss. Ashley Judd, Uma Thurman, Angelina Jolie and others. He was fired right after the applications were received. Later, criminal cases were brought against him and investigated in February. MeToo social movement, organised  by actress Alyssa Milano, became popular after these accusations. At the same time an Oscar-winning actor, Kevin Spacey and a  famous comedian, Louis C. Key , were accused. The disclosure began to spread in other areas of life, not only in the United States, but also in the rest of the world. Of the most striking cases is a Lockhart Steele’s one. He was an editor-in-chief of Vox Digital Media. He lost his job after being accused by the former secretary. Another unusual example is the head of the South African Football Association, Danny Jordan. He was also removed from the office and prosecuted after being accused by Jennifer Ferguson, a politician. The wave of scandalous revelations of celebrities that began after the Weinstein’s affair gave rise to the term – “The Weinstein Effect”.

“Ice 2” has broken

The fees of the new film with Alexander Petrov reached a billion rubles

Reading time 4 minutes

On February 14, Valentine’s Day, “Ice 2” was released in cinemas – a continuation of the melodramatic musical of 2018 with Alexander Petrov, Aglaia Tarasova and Maria Aronova in the lead roles. The film companies “Hydrogen” and Art Pictures Studio, which are part of the National Media Group, were engaged in the creation and promotion of the film. And now we can say that they have done a very high-quality work to promote the picture: after 10 days, it has already submitted a billion rubles to the box office. Thus, “Ice 2” was included in the list of 14 Russian films that achieved such success at the box office. Earlier, more than a billion rubles were collected by the first part of “Ice”, as well as the films “Serf”, “Stalingrad”, “Crew”, “Irony of Fate. Continuation ”,“ Viking”,“ Fir-trees 3 ”,“ Wii 3D ”,“ Attraction ”,“ Last hero ”,“ Policeman from Rublevka. New Year’s lawlessness ”,“ Upward Movement ”and“ T-34 ”. In addition, “Ice 2” set a record for fees on the first day – 193 million rubles, leaving behind the “T-34” with an indicator of 114 million rubles. However, for the first weekend, the military action figure still collected more than the sequel of “Ice”: 713 million rubles against 610 million rubles. The novelty set its first record even before the release in theaters. Preliminary ticket sales amounted to about 72 million rubles. For comparison, with the first part, this indicator amounted to approximately 18 million rubles, and with the “Serf” it increased to only 9 million rubles.

Премьера "Лед 2
Premiere of “Ice 2”

There are several reasons for such success. First of all, the first “Ice”, which collected more than 1.5 billion rubles at the box office, made the continuation only a matter of time. First of all, Alexander Petrov is at the peak of popularity. “T-34”, “Text”, “Attraction”, “Invasion”, “Ice”, “Gogol” and the series “Call DiCaprio!” – this is an incomplete list of hits of the last 3 years, where Petrov has always been in the foreground . It is worth noting the change of director: instead of Oleg Trofim, who shot the first part, the sequel was led by Zhora Kryzhovnikov, the author of such box-office successful films as “Gorky!”, “Gorky! 2 ” and ” The Best Day. ” And it was him who created “Call DiCaprio!”. Simply put, the film looked very stellar by Russian standards. Finally, the producers of the film managed to start the premiere on Valentine’s Day – the best day of the year for melodramas and romantic comedies in movie theaters. In the next 3 weeks, we have holidays dedicated to Defender of the Fatherland Day and International Women’s Day. At this time, more and more people go to cinemas, especially with their family and with loved ones (“Ice 2” age rating is 6+).

Аглая Тарасова и Александр Петров в фильме "Лед 2"
Aglaia Tarasova and Alexander Petrov in the film “Ice 2”