Marlen Khutsiev is not just an internationally renowned director, he is a landmark figure, who shot such iconic Soviet films as I Am Twenty, 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, Khutsiev’s latest work 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 Shanghai GP3 100 roll, 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 iso to 200, trying to spend it economically in the hope to snap him during a one-to-one contact. Unfortunately, immediately after the discussion he 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 he was left alone and got immersed in his thoughts, as if once again reliving his memories, just like the hero of his movie Infinitas.

  • Camera: Pentax 645
  • Lens: Pentax 67 90mm f/2.8 via adapter 67-645
  • Film: Arista EDU 400, Shanghai GP3 100
// Sasha Krasnov