Marlen Khutsiev is not just an internationally renowned director, he is a landmark figure, who shot such iconic Soviet films as I Am Twenty (Zastava Iliycha), July Rain and It Was in May. These films became a real breakthrough for the Soviet cinema industry and were subjected to censorship, up to the demands to re-record their key episodes. You can now refer to them as New Wave classics of the USSR.

This alone was enough to make me attend a workshop held by him, the creator of the films that I’ve known since my childhood. It was also a great opportunity to make his portrait.

The workshop was preceded by the screening of the film Infinitas, the latest work of Marlen Khutsiev released in 1991 after a very long break.

Marlen Khutsiev, film director. Марлен Хуциев, кинорежиссер. © Sasha Krasnov, 2013

The film lasted almost four hours, which passed very quickly thanks to the director’s mastery. It focused on the meaning of life, with its main character becoming a participant of his own memories and reliving his life.

After the screening, the discussion of the film began. I had with me a pair of Arista EDU 400 film rolls, which I planned to use for this occasion. But they ended so quickly that when I reached into my backpack for the last one I only found a roll of Chinese Shanghai GP3 100, which had long been removed from production and which I usually carried just in case.

It was completely unsuitable for this occasion because it is too soft for long exposures. I loaded it into the camera and set the film speed for the 200 ISO, trying to spend it economically in the hope to snap him during a one-to-one contact. Unfortunately, immediately after the discussion, Marlen Khutsiev left the hall. I made my way to the exit but at some point noticed that he was standing in the next room and waiting for someone.

I came in. The room wasn’t well-lit and I had only one frame left. Unfortunately, the photo did not appear to be very sharp, but I really like its mood when Marlen Khutsiev was left alone and got immersed in his thoughts, as if once again reliving his memories, just like the hero of his movie Infinitas.

// Sasha Krasnov