Hello Dmitri Frolov, it’s a pleasure to have you with us for this interview. Congratulations on your award at last season of the “Indie World Film Festival”.
Q: Your new movie is “Above the Lake”; in a few words, what is it about?
A: My film “Above the Lake” is a free fantasy based on the poetic images of the legendary Russian poet Alexander Blok. Blok – Russian poet of the Silver Age, writer, publicist, playwright, translator, literary critic. A classic of Russian literature of the 20th century, one of the largest representatives of Russian symbolism. The paradoxical combination of the mystical and the everyday, the detached and the everyday is generally characteristic of Blok’s entire work as a whole. This is a distinctive feature of his mental organization, and, as a consequence, of his own, Blok’s symbolism. In general, Blok was extremely sensitive to the everyday impressions and sounds of the city around him and the artists he encountered and sympathized with. Before the revolution, the musicality of Blok’s poems lulled the audience, plunging them into a kind of somnambulistic dream. Therefore, I shot the film as a dream, supplementing it with mystical images from his various poems.
Q: When did you plan to do this film?
A: I’ve been shooting this movie for a long time. It first had a length of 15 minutes. There was another storyline in it, which later seemed redundant to me, and I deleted it.
Q: What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
A: My childhood hobby led me to filmmaking. This manifested itself at the moment when I was 9 years old, my father bought a Quartz 2×8 Super mm movie camera. I haven’t let her out of my hands since! In the 80s of the 20th century, I studied at the Institute of Cinema and Television in Leningrad
Q: What can you tell us about your film work prior to this film?
A: Before this film, I made two dozen different films.
Q: Can you explain or tell us some of the important elements of this film that makes it interesting?
A: I stylized this film as films that Alexander Blok himself, who lived at the beginning of the 20th century, could see. As you know, at that time there were silent black and white tapes. Therefore, I shot it on black and white film, specially took a cine camera with a manual drive and turned the handle of the cine camera motor myself, as they did a hundred years ago. The film was silent at the beginning. However, when the composer Sergei Alexandrovich Oskolkov looked at it, he offered to write music and played it himself as a pianist. Several first premiere sessions of the film were performed to the live accompaniment of the composer! The title of the film, by the way, is also taken from the work of Alexander Blok. Filming took place in the very place where Alexander Blok wrote a poem “Above the Lake”, as well as the famous “Stranger”. This is the station “Shuvalovo-Ozerki”, where at the beginning of the 20th century artistic youth and nobility loved to rest in the summer seasons. Some of the plans of the film are shot in place, from which the surrounding in Blok’s poem is described with an accuracy of several meters.
Q: How big was your team and what were the cameras that you used?
A: At different stages of filming, the team consisted of 5 to 10 people. The film was shot on 35 mm black-and-white Soviet film from Svema. It was filmed with a manually operated Konvas movie camera.
Q: Directors (and indeed actors) who inspire you and what are your favourite movies?
A: All the films of the silent film period inspire me. Russian directors of that time Evgeny Bauer, Yakov Protazanov, Sergei Eisenstein, Lev Kuleshov. Not Russian – Friedrich Murnau, Charles Chaplin, Louis Bunuel, Man Ray and many others. Of the later ones – Andrei Tarkovsky, Kira Muratova, Sergei Parajanov and many many others.
Q: Where can people see your work?
A: Here is a link to the film ‘s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/nadozerom There you can watch the movie, and put a “like” page or rating https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7111884/
Q: What are your future projects?
A: I am making a film dedicated to the difficult history of my country, but I will not talk about it in detail.
Q: Thank you for this very inspiring interview, Dmitri Frolov. Here at the “Indie World Film Festival” we look forward to seeing and appreciating your new film productions!
A: Thank you very much for your attention to my films and for several prizes with which you marked my film “Above the Lake”!!!