2017, 2 hours, 28 minutes
The main characters of the film are Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi, participants in the most scandalous episode in the history of football. During extra time of the final match of the 2006 World Cup, pitting France against Italy, the French leader, superstar Zidane, for some unknown reason took a running start and head-butted Materazzi in the chest. Zidane was sent off the field and, as a result, the French lost the match on penalties. This head-butt and the unexpected loss were now bound together in the minds of sports fans forever. But the burning question - why did it happen? – has never been properly answered. After thoroughly studying the lives of the participants in this match, the filmmakers reveal an amazing story: The 2006 World Cup appears to us in the form of a play “directed by the Creator”.
Soccer is sanctified.
“Restrain yourselves!” This is the pithy, generalized message of the film.
The film was made using the "found footage" technique, with the addition of fragments of animation.
Conceived by Boris Yukhananov
Directed by Boris Yukhananov and Alexander Shein
Screenplay by Boris Yukhananov, with the participation of Ilya Permyakov
Produced by Gia Lordkipanidze, Alexander Rodnyansky, Alexander Shein, Cinema group 2PLAN2
Original music composed by Alexander Belousov
The Locarno International Film Festival (Switzerland) is one of the oldest festivals in the world. Like Cannes, it is celebrating its 70th birthday. Among the main events this year are the celebration of avant-garde cinematic classic Jean-Marie Straub, the premiere of the never-before-shown Raoul Ruiz film La Telenovela Errante, and the screening of a restored copy of Jean-Luc Godard's Rise and Fall of a Little Film Company (1986) starring Jean-Pierre Léaud. Locarno has always been attentive to Russian cinema. Memorable Russian screenings here have included Alexei German’s My Friend Ivan Lapshin (1987, special prize), The Lonely Voice of Man by Alexander Sokurov (1988, Bronze Leopard), and Nikolai Dostal's Cloud-Paradise (1991, Silver Leopard). In recent years, honorary Leopards for contribution to cinema have been awarded to Kira Muratova (1994), Alexander Sokurov (2006) and Marlen Khutsiev (2015). Nazidanie is the only Russian feature-length film at Locarno 2017. Its world premiere will be held in the official non-competition program.
Boris Yukhananov is a theater and film director. He has been the artistic director of the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre since 2013. A key figure of the Soviet artistic underground in the 1980s, he was one of the founders of the "parallel cinema" movement (1986), which is also known as the CINE FANTOM brand (magazine, newspaper, festival, film and video production studio, the first Russian film club). Yukhananov was the founder of Theatre-Theatre, the first independent theater company in the USSR (1985). With this group he created the video project The Mad Prince Video Novel in 1000 Cassettes (1986-1993). Since 1986 he has staged more than 40 performances on various stages. His production of the opera Octavia. Trepanation (composed by Dmitri Kourliandski) had its world premiere in June at the 70th Holland Festival in Amsterdam.
Alexander Shein is a director and producer. He was born in 1976 in Moscow and he graduated from the Boris Golubovsky studio at GITIS, and the Vladimir Naumov studio at VGIK. With Gia Lordkipanidze and Viktor Taknov he created the 2PLAN2 Cinema Group in 1999. 2PLAN2 produces feature and documentary films, television series and interdisciplinary projects. Shein has directed the films VMAYAKOVSKY (2017), Nazidanie (2017), Timur Novikov. Zero Object (2014), Vinogradov Dubosarsky. Painting to Order (2009) and others.
By Vadim Rutkovsky
Boris Yukhananov and Alexander Shein’s Nazidanie, a detective story from antiquity about the conflict between Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi, was screened at the 70th International Locarno Film Festival.
This film took its unusual format outside the main Locarno competition: Nazidanie was made in the boundary zone of what the contemporary art world calls found footage. In this case, this means ready-made documentary material. Almost all the two-and-a-half hours presents collages of matches, news and interviews broadcast on television, accompanied by a massive narrative text spoken by Boris Yukhnanov himself (there is minimal artistic and visual intervention in the chronicle in the way of animated fragments). But in terms of grandeur, Yukhananov’s plan simply has no competitors - I say this without false patriotism.
Only don’t think that I am minimizing the merits of other films of festival’s early days. The debut competition, Directors of the Present, was very strong. In it, non-narrative films immersed in drunken youth and debilitating old age stood side-by-side like ice and fire. Furthermore, Damned Summer (Verão Danado) by Portuguese director Pedro Cabeleyra, and Distant Constellation by Turkish female director Shevaun Mizrahi, intend to have a physical impact on the viewer, to completely involve the spectator in the on-screen world.
The running times and other anomalies which are impossible in the coordinates of traditional dramaturgy are justified by the immersive quality of these cinematic experiments.
One doesn’t watch these films, one experiences them. One is blessedly exhausted after Damned Summer which, through a series of orgiastic parties, follows the amorous odyssey of a hero who makes his way from the patriarchal house to the convulsions of raves and sexual abandon in Lisbon (a special musical bonus is the narcotic remix of the song "Beauty is Distant").
I almost suffered physically from Distant Constellation as I became infected with the frailties of those in the poor house who entrusted their monologues to their cell walls. Some reminisce about Lolita, some about the Armenian Genocide. Meanwhile the building housing these elderly people is undergoing change in the form of large-scale construction conducted by migrant workers.
Nazidanie is that rare film that can hold one’s attention for all of its 150 minutes. I'm not a soccer fan - I'm extremely indifferent towards football - but I could not tear myself away from the screen. It never occurred to me to look at the clock - a rare phenomenon in my practice as a drunken spectator.
The film culminates in the clash between Zidane and Materazzi at the 2006 FIFA World Cup finale, but is preceded by a detailed immersion in the prehistory of this epic spectacle. The conflict of real superheroes played out on the football field - the biggest, most mass sporting spectacle of our time – is, for Yukhananov the source of a detective story from antiquity.
This strange case from the world of sports and pop culture, employing examples that allow you thoroughly to analyze the mechanisms by which Fate (meaning the gods and higher powers, we must emphasize) plays and even toys with people. This film provides an analysis of the spectacle, the protagonists of which emerge as conduits to another dimension.
The festival offered many references to mythology. A German participant of Locarno’s Freiheit main competition Jan Speckenbach begins with a quote about the Lethe River, the waters of which deprive a person of the memory of his former life before joining the new one. His heroine - a lawyer herself and a lawyer's wife, like the character described in my previous report of Scary Mother - leaves the family, heading out on a geographical (Berlin to Vienna, Vienna to Bratislava), existential and sexual journey, experiencing the euphoria of total emptiness while disturbingly acquiring new connections. (The second storyline - about the pining husband left with his children and his job, is not so interesting. Stories about freedom are always more exciting than about those about obligations).
In the guise of mythical Atlanteans supporting Earth on their stone shoulders, one sees bodybuilders in the ironic and curious Canadian entry A Skin So Soft (Ta peau si lisse), by Denis Cote. This film provides us an hour-and-a-half of watching muscular mutants live their lives.
But only Yukhananov uses ancient mythology not as a decorative detail, but as a means for studying the universe and for providing specific behavioral lessons.
Actually, the blow struck by Zidane was the will of fate, whose laws are able to be decoded (as a result of titanic archival work). Yukhananov undertakes a global investigation, eclipsing the curious Miss Marple, the deductive Sherlock, and the pedantic Fandorin. The world traditionally expects a certain special spirituality from Russian cinema. Yukhananov justifies these expectations on a new and unpredictable level – giving us a mystical detective tale based on the true facts culled from European sporting history.