February 19, 2013
WATCH ON DEMAND
- FORMAT: DVD
- SKU: ART4
- UPC: 854555004033
- ISBN: 9781939196033
- NUMBER OF DISCS: 1
- COUNTRY: Russia
- RATING: Not rated
- YEAR: 2011
- LENGTH: 121 Minutes (Feature), 25 Minutes (Bonus material)
- AUDIO: Russian with English subtitles, 2.0 Stereo
- ASPECT RATIO: 1.78:1/16 x 9
- COLOR: Black & White
- BONUS MATERIAL: Behind the scenes, Audition videos, Reversible package art with controversial cover option, Trailer, 12-page collector’s booklet
An intense drama of an adolescent adrift in an uncaring world, Bullet Collector is the powerful debut of Russian director Alexander Vartanov. A unique and visually striking work, the film examines the traumas of a wide-eyed 14-year-old boy, struggling to cope with a terrible home life dominated by an angry mother and a stepfather who can’t stand the sight of him. His school routine is plagued by brutal attacks from bullies, and his life becomes even more nightmarish after he is sent to a hellish reform school. Losing himself in an elaborate fantasy world where he is loved by a beautiful girlfriend and able to defeat his oppressors, the boy finds the reality of his situation continually shocking him back to a very different life. But is he actually just a timid teen destined for abuse, or will he gain the strength to fight off his attackers? Recalling the world of Antoine Doinel in Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, this unsettling, moody masterwork updates that classic by giving it a distinctly Russian flavor, proving that Vartanov is an international filmmaking talent to watch.
Director: Alexander Vartanov
Running time: 120 minutes
Screenwriters: Alexander Vartanov, Yuriy Klavdiev
Cast: Yuliya Aug, Ivan Basov, Pyotr Fyodorov, Vitaliy Gerasimov, Aleksandr Gubin, Pyotr Ivanov, Alisa Khazanova, Yuriy Klavdiev, Olesya Kulinich, Anastasiya Lagosha, Ruslan Malikov, Rashid Mamaev, Nikolay Matyunin, Ruslan Nazarenko, Alina Olshanskaya
Producer: Elena Stepanischeva, Alexander Vartanov
Cinematography: Ivan Finogeev, Fyodor Lyass, Dmitriy Vladimirov
Editors: Ivan Gaev
Interview with Alexander Vartanov, Director of Bullet Collector
Palic Film Festival: You credit The 400 Blows as your inspiration for the film. Before your directing debut you did different things in the theatre, on film and television. Which one is easier?
I worked as a theater director for 10 years. I wouldn’t say that I was a very famous theatre director, but yes, I was famous. And then, of course, I wished to make a film. It was always a fantasy of mine. When I started making the Bullet Collector, it was the easiest thing I ever did. While I was in theatre, it was a difficult job for me; I find working on films is much easier.
What motivated you to make a story about a maladjusted and bullied boy? We encounter stories like that all the time in our surroundings; some even find their way to the media. Where did you find the inspiration for this story: was it your life, the media, someone you know?
Adolescence is universal where ever you are. Many people I know went through hell in their adolescence, especially the period from the age of 14 to 17, or even 18. You don’t know who you are, what you are, what you want or who you want to be. You must become a man, especially in Russia, where you are expected to be a real man at 14, practically an adult. But you don’t want that, you don’t know how to be a grown man and that is why there are many films with this topic all over the world. Especially today, when the society no longer takes you through adolescence as it did 20-30 years ago. There were a few phases in a life of a boy before, starting from kindergarten, elementary school, high school. The society took you through all these phases, and today you’re on your own. This state in boys is absolutely universal.
The story of the film reminds of The 400 Blows by Francois Truffaut. Did you have that film in mind when you wrote the script?
Yes, Bullet Collector is my absolute homage to Francois Truffaut and his cult film. One of the last scenes in my film most directly “copies” some of the last scenes of his film, but it ends differently than Truffaut’s does. That is why it was filmed in black and white. The narrative structure of my film is pretty similar to this film, a story of a boy who lives in a juvenile correctional home, but is quite different in style and approach.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Director Alexander Vartanov was born in 1977 in Moscow. He studied journalism, film directing and dramaturgy. He started his career as a theatre director, and he also worked as a translator, actor, producer and screenwriter, and he currently works for a Russian film distributor company Volga. Bullet Collector is his directing debut, for which he also wrote the screenplay. He was one of the producers of this drama.