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"This film is an ode to a mother", the director Vladimir Grammatikov about the film Look at Me

The director Vladimir Grammatikov, the lead actors Alexandra Ursulyak and Maskim Osintsev, the cameraman Alisher Khamidkhodzhaev, the design artist Maria Turskaya, the composer Vladimir Davydenko presented the film Look at Me participating in the Special Screenings Programme of 46th Moscow International Film Festival.

A true story of a large family set during the hard years of the country’s post-war recovery. Nina Levitskaya, a former opera singer and mother of four children, knows nothing about the fate of her husband, Alexander, who disappeared almost a year ago. It’s rumoured that the father of the family is somewhere in Moscow. To avoid possible arrest, Nina urgently sells all her property and leaves Sverdlovsk. The road brings the family together with many people: some are extremely dangerous, others bring warmth and hope for the future.

Vladimir Grammatikov: "The time shown is quite challenging, it's 1948, post-war years. Notably, even in our wonderful literature, not many writers focused on this age. And there are reasons for that: on one hand, this fantastic euphoria after thew war, on the other, famine, destruction and the question of how to live on. The film main concept was to tell the truth and nothing except the truth, so we tried to implement it everywhere – in props, costumes, and, most importantly, in characters' motivations and relationships. I believe each director dreams of making a fragment of their childhood like Federico Fellini did in his great film. But I did not have the task to show my childhood on the screen. It may sound pathetic, but this film is an ode to a mother. After many years lived, with sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren, I wanted to understand how much energy my mother must have had to hold us in check. To give us love, attention, care, with which we lived through our whole life".

Alexandra Ursulyak: "Of course, there were many details about living at that time, of which I was not aware, I discovered many interesting things during the shooting. So, we made an interesting film. It's not just a road movie. Having a team like this, getting into a train and going anywhere is already a separate film, not to mention the shooting itself".

Maksim Osintsev: "To understand that time, I needed to read or watch something, but there were not many materials available. I tried to understand what games kids played then, how they spent their free time in general. For example, in one of the scenes I was cutting my younger brother's hair with a hair trimmer. The trimmer had sharp blades and I was torturing my brother tearing off his hair, but anyway the trip was really good".

Vladimir Davydenko: "I was shocked by the incredible magic of this film. I often thought about how one person loves the other. Why? Is it body, sight, hair colour. It's not that, all this is about some smells. And being parts of such lovable atmosphere is priceless! And the actors here play brilliantly! I do not understand a thing about Stanislavsky's system, but I saw real truth in Sasha's dialogues, in how she talked to her kids!"

Maria Turskaya: "I believe this is a unique film, although I have made many historical films. The most important thing for me, especially in historical films, is to create an authentic world, so that both we, while shooting, and the spectators, when they watch the film, are fully immersed. Here we had our own time machine – Vladimir Alexandrovich. Because this is his story. Because he lived then, he knows everything, he guided us. And we didn't need dull historical consultants! We just lived these few months in that age, and I'm sure that the spectators will also be able to be part of that atmosphere and to believe what they see on the screen".

Alishe Khamidlhodzhaev: "You know, I believe that this film is completely up to date, here is the thing. For me, the main discovery was Vladimir Grammatikov's love of life and his care. It seems I haven't met a director with such strong inner human feelings. His care about people, love to his family – this is important and always very relevant".