• Meta

  • « | Home | »

    On The Edge with Uchitel

    By Artavazd Yeghiazaryan | February 12, 2011

    Opening last year’s Warsaw Film Festival, Alexei Uchitel’s new film Kray (The Edge) is an epic story centring on a war hero, brilliantly portrayed by one of the biggest stars of modern Russian cinema Vladimir Mashkov, who comes to a post-war labour camp in Siberia. His passions are trains and speed. The story then receives a new twist when he meets a German girl who has been living in a train which was built many years previously by someone very dear to her.

    As the director explains, the story came about spontaneously: »I was talking with screenwriter Alexandr Gonorovsky who was sharing some of his thoughts. Two elements caught my eye: train races and a German girl who didn’t know there had been a war«.

    Not surprisingly, The Edge is Uchitel’s biggest project to date and making it was much more difficult than any previous film. »We had an incredibly tough shoot«, he continues. »They were as close to reality as possible. We had problems with trains, Mashkov almost drowned, and we had a fire. I’m glad we finished it without any casualties.«

    One of the two female leads – German actress Anjorka Strechel – was one of the discoveries Uchitel made for The Edge. He found her by accident while attending the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2008. »I was just looking through the catalogue and noticed her photograph,« he recalls. »I went to the screening, saw her wonderful performance (in Nana Neul’s Mein Freund aus Faro) and contacted her. She made a screen test and I could see that she was exactly what I needed.«

    However, Uchitel has his own particular way of working with actors: »It is wrong when the actor just reads the script, comes to the film set, works and then goes away. It’s much more complicated work than that. Usually, I meet them before the shoot and discuss certain details. With the making of The Edge, I went even further. For almost three weeks, I was organizing meetings with all the main members of the cast and crew – the actors, sound engineer, director of photography, screenwriter, and so on. We sat together for the whole day and discussed the story, making remarks and suggestions.«

    Artavazd Yeghiazaryan – Artavazd began writing about cinema during his university studies and works as a correspondent for Yerevan Magazine, an ethnic entertainment cultural magazine targeted at Armenians of the Diaspora, as well as writing short stories published in Armenian literary periodicals. He is currently preparing on a PhD thesis on Armenian Film Poster Art at the National Academy of Science.

    Topics: International Reports | Comments Off on On The Edge with Uchitel

    Comments are closed.