How important can the role of politically engaged art in the times of political repression and wild transformation be? When does it become impossible to stay silent; and is political art the right way to speak out loud? DAFilms.com spoke about these questions with Andrey Gryazev, director of the documentary film Tomorrow.
Two inseparable lovers, politics and art, have been going through the history of modern age in different positions. Sometimes the one is leading the other and vice versa. Art can serve politics as well as create new impulses for a political debate or social change.
How important can the role of politically engaged art in the times of political repression and wild transformation be, as we can follow in Ukraine these days? When does it become impossible to stay silent; and is political art the right way to speak out loud?
DAFilms.com spoke about these questions with Andrey Gryazev, director of the documentary film Tomorrow following the life story of the main couple of leaders of the Russian art group Voina. A group that has shocked the local society by many radical performances using the motifs of sex and violence; a group that has been suited by the Russian federation in many criminal cases nowadays.
Your film "Tomorrow" follows the main couple of the Russian art group called "Voina" that has been known namely for its radical performances balancing on the edge of the local law. Why have you decided to focus on this particular artistic movement?
In all of my documentaries I deal with political themes. I wanted to find characters who talk with the government at the same level. Although I made films on social issues, the image of the government always appeared as a certain background. If you’re serious in your work, you will always be affected by these aspects. Even though Putin has repeatedly said that we shouldn’t stick our nose into other people’s business, any man, whatever he is doing, will always come across the political level. If I closed my eyes to the political situation, I would lie to myself.
In the film "Tomorrow" I wanted to show the process of establishing our slice of civil society in a certain period of time against the backdrop of the development of Russian democracy attempts. From the time I graduated in 2011 to the final cut of the film, two and a half years have passed. Since then everything has changed. The country which I was shooting exists no more. But as a documentarist I tried to convey the time when it was filmed.
In today’s Russia we can find more examples of politically motivated artistic actions, for example protests by Pussy Riot or actions by Petr Pavlensky. How important are these actions from your point of view? Are they truly able to positively influence the current political situation?
Every age has its own heroes. Unfortunately, this kind of protest art does not stir heated debates in Russia anymore. Actions in Ukraine showed us what today’s modern protest is like.
What are the reactions of Russians on these political /artistic activities? How do they differ from the image that western media has been providing us?
Questions that are put by artistic-political actions are affected by the local mentality, namely the Russian one. It is like an anecdote. In one country, it will be funny, in another it can be completely understood. The latest action of Pussy Riot split the Russian society into two halves. In Europe, this would hardly be noticed at all.
Do you think that any kind of artistic action could be helpful in Ukraine nowadays?
Artistic action is important when it is ahead of the event. Today’s events in Ukraine do not need this kind of art.
How do you understand the role of documentary film in moments of transformation which have been taking place in Ukraine these days?
A real documentary shows its value in the course of many years. Certainly in the near future we will see a lot of documentaries about the events in Ukraine. Only very small amounts of them can pass the test of time.
Thank you for your precious time, Andrey! We are happy to have an opportunity to release your film “Tomorrow” at DAFilms.com and wish you the best of luck with all your future film projects.
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