The hero of “White Shirt” is the young Ukrainian film director Nariman Aliyev. On his account three short films. One of which, “Without You,” was nominated for the Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.
On November 7, the debut feature film of Nariman “Home” was released in Ukrainian rental, its world premiere took place as part of the Cannes International Film Festival. The tape became the national applicant from Ukraine for the Oscar for the best film in a foreign language.
I entered directing at the age of sixteen. It was the wrong way. I do not advise you to do this, because at a young age you cannot consciously choose who you want to be, but rather make some impulsive decisions, hoping for their correctness. You don’t understand what the director is doing, but consider yourself Tarantino. I am convinced that you will turn the whole world upside down, trying to deny everything that was in life before. It turns out that you come up with a bike that rides not even on one wheel, but on its crescent. He doesn’t go, of course, stumbles more … It was the same with me when the first few years of training I was just trying to understand where and why I was.
Thanks to my master Oleg Fialko, I learned simple, but very important things. For example, he always told us: “Take pictures of what you know.” In my third year, I had a “student crisis” due to a lack of vision of which direction to move. I left everything and left for the Crimea. I had a small camera, a tripod. I began to shoot everything that comes to mind: sketches, relatives, some kind of staging. And gradually he began to find beauty in life, from which he came out, began to return to his roots. I tried to understand what was happening to me from the moment I was born to the point where I ended up. And, strangely enough, I began to succeed. Things appeared still raw, but already able to touch fellow students, teachers. What was ordinary for me seemed to them something new.
To have a future, you need to understand your past, otherwise you will have nothing to rely on in life to move on. The roots, the past of parents, grandparents – these are all components of you, what you will carry on, transmit, enrich with your experience. It is this enrichment that makes us beautiful people in different ways.
On my career, I did not get anything immediately and easily. Now many people think that I shot the debut full-length film – and the whole success of the world fell on me. No, I stumbled for a long time, got up, walked on, in order to achieve this result. I have not received a single award for my short films. Yes, and, in fact, never chased them. If I were guided by some kind of recognition, doing my work, and did not get it, I most likely would not have reached the point where I am now, I would have stopped somewhere long ago.
Motivation for me is a fairly broad concept. Yes, of course, I want to prove to my parents that all their help, faith in me was not in vain. There is also a rational approach when you strive to get a profession, to realize it, some elementary wealth to provide for a family. Motivation in creativity is the list of topics that you want to reflect on. The combination of all this gives a powerful impetus in order to move on.
It is important how you feel about defeats and victories. The former can destroy you, and the latter can spoil you. If you do not learn to find balance, it will be hard. The creative path is never easy.
I am a young man with little life experience. I have no artisan talent to take a foreign theme to me and make it my own. Therefore, in the films I talk about what I once felt, saw. All my short meters are just about family relationships, about the life of Crimean Tatars – about a familiar way of life.
A full-length film is an exam, when I made a full statement of all the developments and gave it a way out. Now begins an even more difficult stage. For the film “Home”, I took a lot of luggage, tools, ideas. The second full meter is when you have already given all of yourself and start digging in the weeds, trying to grow something new on an already burnt field. But this is an interesting experience, it directs you to another vector of thoughts and development.
I was never afraid to listen to other people. For example, the idea of the movie “Home” belongs to my friend. Yes, certain thoughts were seething in me, but I did not understand how to express them. And when I found out about this idea, an understanding of its implementation immediately came. It is important to be able to listen and listen, because the cinema is still a collective creation, the film depends on each member of the crew. Together we are working on one “sculpture”, trying to give it a form. Interaction in the creative team is an incredibly interesting thing. For a long period you work with people who are very different mentally, emotionally. And the more polar your views, the more interesting the project becomes. Let's say my first “Home” scenario was very soft in the context of conflicts. But when Marysya Nikityuk joined the process, she said that it was necessary to rock it all, because cinema cannot exist without the development of conflict. In the works of Marysi herself, I feel, as I call it, a powerful tragic pathos, the rigidity that is lacking in my films.
We live in a very dynamic time when there is no room for error, slowdown or pause. When they took my short film to the Berlin Film Festival, the questions immediately began: “When will the full meter be?” I arrived at the festival without any concrete idea. And only six months later, someone prompted the plot, did some character appear … In fact, you never know where the new film will begin. The main thing is not to become isolated in the process of searching for this novelty, to let it “breathe”.
The directors use the small and large forms in different ways. For me, the small form was the development of tools. I never thought in it about what I wanted to shoot, but showed what I really can do. A short meter has become an opportunity for me to do what I like. A full meter has become a completely different experience. Firstly, because here we were talking about a serious budget, a large team with which you need to be able to communicate. Secondly, it was a big responsibility, because you are putting at stake the reputation of already experienced people who believed in the project and followed you.
Religion in the movie “Home” for me was a certain toolkit. With her help, I wanted to convey the importance of the event for the protagonist. He is not an Orthodox Muslim, but a person who just wants to do everything right, is trying to glue a broken vase – to unite his family again, to pay tribute to his eldest son. The ritual is still important for a person, it gives an understanding of what you should do in a situation when nothing can be changed.
In “Home” I tried to show a contrast: someone takes a bribe, and someone doesn’t, someone helps, but someone substitutes … I did not want to divide the characters into good and bad, show Ukraine a country where everything is bad I didn’t make heroes from the Crimean Tatars who would never betray their ideals, I wanted to raise the topic, talk it over.
I do not consider “Home” ideal. In general, it seems to me that the viewer treats us too well. What I was striving for was to make the film sincere. Somewhere it is uneven, somewhere naive, but we tried not to cheat in it either to ourselves or to the viewer.
Photographer: Jameel Dee
Gaffer: Dmitry Romas
Grooming: Anastasia Leonova
Producer: Diana Melnikova
The editors thank the cinema "Kievan Rus" for help in taking pictures