fever in the blood

His new film is a mind-blowing visual shock. But the Russian filmmaker and artist is closely watched by the Kremlin. Remote meeting.

Cannes Film Festival 2021. The great hall of the Palais gives an ovation to “Petrov’s fever”. The Festival’s general delegate, Thierry Frémaux, then takes his phone and Kirill Serebrennikov’s face appears on the screen. The applause redoubled. The chills too. Frémaux films the room, the filmmaker puts his hands together in thanks. Nothing can take away his moment of glory. This is the first long-distance triumph in the history of the Festival, the postponement of which made it impossible for the director to come, during the shooting of his next feature film. “Obviously, it was very moving,” Serebrennikov told us a few hours later from Moscow. My team laid out a little red carpet on the set and we stopped for a few minutes to watch the live footage. It was like a doubling of reality, which is what my film tells us. “

Also read.Everything you need to know about … Kirill Serebrennikov

A man of the theater, Serebrennikov, long director of the famous Gogol theater, is one of the great figures of creation in Russia. But its radicalism, its pro-democracy or pro-LGBT stance is disturbing. Since 2017, a conviction for (alleged) embezzlement has prevented him from leaving his country. Petitions in his favor are multiplying, signed by stars like Cate Blanchett. In its great leniency, the Kremlin commuted his prison sentence to a withdrawal of his passport.

Fan of rock and opera, he is a witness of his time

Wearing a cap, big glasses on his nose, the fifty itches where it hurts. And already evoked the theme of containment long before the pandemic. In “Leto”, in 2018, portrait of a Russian youth lover of rock, the music could not emancipate itself. In his new film, it is the (flu) fever that takes Petrov – played by Semyon Serzin – on a hallucinatory night trip, between serial killer, vodka and the living dead. “Fever is the symbol of anything that can go off the rails. It puts man under pressure, it can wreck an entire society. Everyone sees what they want in the film. This is my initial goal. He, the rock and opera fan, is a witness to his time. Among his sources of inspiration, he puts Tarkovsky, Pasolini and Spielberg on the same level. “I even have a passion for turnips,” he smiles. A failed film can bring me lots of things. I also love everything that is done on social networks, TikTok videos, all this creative bath that blows the boundaries of the genre. “

Also read. Petrov’s Fever by Kirill Serebrennikov – review – Cannes 2021

He will be relaunched several times on his condition as an artist flouted in his country without ever really wanting to bounce back. Serebrennikov no longer wants to put oil on the fire and expresses himself in a colorful way. We hope to be able to meet him firsthand. He smiles, a little knowing wink. “I would be delighted too. We must keep hope, he concludes. It will all end one day. It’s inevitable. “

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In theaters, December 1.

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