Andrej Mikhalkov-Konchalovskij is a remarkable filmmaker of the Russian and international panorama that stands out for his peculiar style and vision that characterize his over-50-years career.
Born in Moscow on 1937, his parents were both writers (his father was the author of the Russia hymn); at twenty learns to play piano and four years later attends cinema classes at VGIK, whose principal Michail Romm was in line with the cinema guidelines of communist propaganda. Here he shoots his first shortfilm and become Tarkovskij‘s friend and collaborator, co-writing the screenplay of the mastepiece Andrej Ruble and sharing a set of symbols that are part of his films, like the authority represented by the father figure.
In his works, reality and politic changes are observed with a detached and disenchanted point of view, like in his first movie The first theacher (1965), where a revolution preacher goes to a remote mountain village and can’t manage to challenge its century-old feudal traditions.
Asja Kljacina’s story is very far from being part of propaganda cinema too. It talks about human relationships of a kolchoz and it has been banned by censorship for longtime. The director trasposes to the screen two classics of Russian literature, Turgenev’s A nest of gentle folk and Chekhov’s Uncle Vanja and it’s Siberiade, released on 1979, that marks his technical and stylistic turning point thanks to a naturalistic cinematography, a large use of post-production and sequence shots that help to tell sixty years of Soviet Union focusing on Elan, a village in Siberia devastated by war and then by the discovery of the oil fields.
Konchalovskij decides to move to Hollywood and directs Maria’s Lovers on 1984, and his success is confirmed once again with Runaway train starring Jon Voight as the protagonist of an original screenplay by Kurosawa and the performer of an existential metaphor of the man prisoner of fate among an hostile land. The filmmaker goes back to Russia and shows his essential film style again with The inner circle (1991), the true based story of Aleksander Ganšin, a KGB employee that is recruited personally by Stalin and becomes Kremlin’s private projectionist.
His last twenty years are marked with great successes: Venice film Festival awarded him with Grand Jury Prize for House of fools (2002), The postman‘s white nights (2014) and Paradise (2016), three works that are part of a new period of his creativity. Paradise tells three stories set during the WWII, in which Konchalovskij uses the 4:3 format and black and white to better explain the “sorrow and violence of human spirit, which often get seduced by the fine dresses of evil”.
At more that eighty years old, Andrej Mikhalkov-Konchalovskij looks really in shape: in the end of 2017 he finished shooting between Versilia and Carrara “Il peccato. Una visione” focused on some episodes of Michelangelo’s life.