Sergei Loznitsa: “A film is a code that needs to be decoded, and the director does not fully know what is encoded in it”
On July 21, the Summer Film School of the 8th OIFF held a meeting with Sergei Loznitsa on the topic “Directing a feature film” (based on the film “A Gentle Creature”)

"I planned this film back when we were making my first film “My Joy”. I came up with the idea to make a film about a woman’s fate, as a continuation of “My Joy”. It was 2009, since then I made another film, then another, and only in 2015 I wrote this script. Why “A Gentle Creature”? I began think about Dostoevsky’s fantastic story. If you remember, the story there is told from the first-person perspective of someone who survived. At that time, it was innovative for literature, no one wrote that way yet, and that’s why Dostoevsky called the story fantastic.”

“I wanted to create a film in which, in the end, the heroine does not throw herself out the window after all the humiliation she goes through. I had several endings: she is taken to prison, something happens to her, she leaves. None of the options went with the idea, did not touch on the essence. There was only one way out, an old student trick – if you don’t know how to end the film, end it with sleep. The rest was written as if by itself, you seem to be talking to the characters and just writing down what they say. Some form of schizophrenia – those who ever wrote scripts will understand what I mean.”

I was not sure that the film will work out. Not in the sense that we will come, the actors will act, the operator will shoot – no. You understand if it works or not after watching the first edit of the first scene. A film is a code that needs to be decoded, and the director does not fully know what is encoded in it.”

“Two weeks before shooting, everyone was already clear about how and what we will do, what stood behind this or that scene. All that can be done before filming, you need to do. Do not make any decisions later – then you risk losing something, because you still need time for nuances, to work out all the subtleties.”

“Every evening we met with the team and talked about what we did today, what we will do tomorrow. For each day, a call-list was made: who goes where, when they come and to what location. It disciplines you, and you start feeling the time.»