An Interview with Susanna Baranzhieva (Director)
Looking at the Bare Truth
Q: I heard that this movie was edited down from a 6-hour long version. What were your intentions while editing?
SB: This movie was edited together from a 6-part TV program we made. In the 6-hour long version one hour is devoted to each main character. When we turned this into a movie we thought that we should compile a lot of different things into a single, coherent work.
Q: What are your thoughts about the privacy and human rights of people when filming a documentary?
SB: There are some extreme scenes in this movie but all the participants were conscious of the camera’s presence. We didn’t film anything without their knowledge. We protected the participants from the “camera’s violence” by stopping filming whenever they asked us to stop. Building trust was essential in order to keep them from refusing to be filmed. I value communication between myself and the subjects, the kind of relationship that transcends the standard connection between filmmaker and filmed.
Q: I also heard that you spent a month on the beach with them before filming.
SB: At the beginning people on the beach were reluctant to be in our movie, and due to this we couldn’t find any stories worth filming. That is why we had to spend a month on the beach. The more they trusted us, the more intense the stories we were able to film. That month was very important.
Furthermore, as they became used to the camera and became closer to us they built up “confidence” to “show more of themselves.” That is why they were willing to have these images screened in public.
Q: What did you want to express in this movie?
SB: Truth, I wanted to show the bare truth of human nature without hiding the bad in it. If you only look at the good you cannot see anything new, nor will the bad ever improve. This is a movie where lots of things, like people who strayed away from society, President Putin, and terrorism mingle together. By comparing all those things I think I can show that “there is good and bad in every human being” and that “hardships make humans more human.”
(Compiled by Takada Ayumi)
Interviewers: Takada Ayumi, Yamamoto Shoko / Interpreter: Okabayashi Naoko / Translator: Maxime Berson
Photography: Nishioka Hiroko, Kaito Yoshimasa / Video: Nishioka Hiroko / 2007-10-06