The film is released in the US on Thursday
The film “Moscow Never Sleeps” directed by Johnny O’Reilly and featuring popular Russian actors is released in the US on Thursday. The Irish film director hopes the film will enable the film-goers to see Russia beyond the politics and stereotypes that are spread by the media increasingly frequently. This is what he told TASS ahead of the film premiere in the United States.
Stereotypes are created by the media
“I wouldn’t say there is Politics in this work, but there is a natural empathy towards Russians and how they are perceived outside Russia,” the film director said. “I’ve lived in Moscow for 12 years and am aware, as all Russians are, that people outside Russia know very little about the country. The main reason for this is political,” he stressed.
“All info disseminated in the West about Russia is filtered through a gauze of geo-politics. It’s also unfortunate that the actions of the Russian government are what everyone in the West knows about Russia,” he regretted. “The Russian people are tarnished by this. I wanted to show international audiences what the country is like beyond the politics. I’ve chosen now to release the film in the US, because now is a time of heightened Cold-War style tensions and the national stereotypes about Russia and Russians are ever more propagated in the media,” Johnny O’Reilly said.
“The original objection of the film was to show international audiences are more nuanced look at contemporary Russian culture. That’s why I decided on a multi-narrative structure. But I never think about what demographics will like or accept this film while writing it. That’s the work of PR people and marketeers. I just focus on what I think is compelling and has emotional integrity,” he said about Moscow Never Sleeps.
The Stanislavsky tradition of acting
According to the Irish film director, the process of film production in Russia differs somewhat from that in the West from the point of view of professionalism, whose levels are lower. But not amongs the actors, he says.
“From their training and all the way through their careers, Russian actors are submerged very deeply into a world of performance and ideas. All of them practise theatre as well as film acting. Unlike film, the theatrical tradition in Russia is extremely strong. I would say Russian theatre is one of the best in the world,” he said.
“… most actors in the west learn techniques and ideas that were exported there by Stanislavsky,” the film director noted. “I had a really good understanding working with the Russian actors on set,” O’Reilly said.
Acting in the film that was released in Russia back in 2015 are Mikhail Yefremov, Alexei Serebryakov, Alyona Babenko, Yuri Stoyanov, Yelena Safonova and others.
Moscow has soul
Johnny O’Reilly began studying Russian in 1989, when he was 19. “At that time, the country was finally opening up to the world. It was fascinating. I had a glimpse of a culture and a population which were hidden behind the iron curtain and were eager to reach out to the world. I simply just responded by choosing to study Russian,” to go to that country,” the film director said.
“I think what has been misunderstood in the West is that Russia is not a monolith. In fact there are two russias – the Russian Government and the Russian nation. All too often they are conflated,” he went on.
“Yes, like most Russian people, I’m not changed by the political situation. I still love Russia and still intend going there and working there. I still run a festival there called Irish Week and this will keep me coming to Moscow for years to come – every March,” he remarked.
The film director said he planned to continue film work in Russia. “I’m reading a lot of Russian scripts and would love to do more work there. For now, I’m going to make one or two films in my own language and then will return to Russia a bit later in my career,” he pledged.
He said Moscow is different from many capital cities of the world, “Moscow has soul”.