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Russian Movie Director Bravely Criticizes Putin

(p. A8) MOSCOW -- While shooting "Loveless," an Oscar nominee this year for best foreign film, Andrey Zvyagintsev repeated virtually every scene again and again -- 12 takes on average, according to his cinematographer, sometimes as many as 28.

The differences between takes often proved undetectable to others, said the cinematographer, Mikhail Krichman -- even to the core crew that has worked on all five of his films. But the director sought some fleeting "magic."

It might be several leaves fluttering off a tree in the background, Mr. Krichman said, or the angle at which snowflakes struck a window. "These kinds of things deliver the magic of the scene, and he uses them to decide to take it or not for the movie," Mr. Krichman said of Mr. Zvyagintsev. "That makes him very different from other directors."

. . .

His role as social critic, . . . , is another reason the art-house crowd tends to respect Mr. Zvyagintsev. He is one of the few high-profile artists still brave enough to openly criticize the Russian government.

He has disparaged the recent crackdown on the arts, including the house arrest of a prominent theater director and the use of censorship for the first time in years to ban a foreign movie, "The Death of Stalin."

"We believed that in 1991 that we were present for the burial of the C.P.S.U.," he said referring to the one-party state of the Soviet Union. "The burial did not take place. Instead, the corpse rose from the coffin and is walking around and frightening us once again."

For the full story, see:

NEIL MacFARQUHAR. "A Master of Depicting Russia's Underbelly on Film." The New York Times (Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018): A8.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has a date of Feb. 23, 2018, and has the title "A Russian Master of the 'Dark Side' in Film.")

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