(A Frenchman)
Andrej Smirnov

2019-2020, HD, b-n / b-w, 128’
French – Russian o.v.

1) Was your film inspired also by the desire of telling experiences lived in your youth? Are there any autobiografic elements or personal memories behind the film?
2) Is the film, shot in stunning black and white, also a tribute to the style and the aesthetic of the 60’s Nouvelles Vagues? Do you think that in those years cinema had been actually particularly creative? And is it possible to make the same consideration about the Soviet cinema of those years?
3) The most dramatic and shocking part of the film may be the brief encounter of the son with his father, who disappeared many years before; is this episode inspired by a true, but hidden, story of Stalinism victims or is it inspired by literary references? Is this a subject that has not deeply been explored yet in Russian cinema?

Sceneggiatura / Screenplay: Andrej Smirnov. Fotografia / Photography: Jurij Šaygardanov. Montaggio / Editing: Alla Uruzbaeva. Suono / Sound: Oleg Tatarinov. Scenografia / Art Director: Vladimir Goudilin. Costumi / Costume Designer: Liudmila Gainceva. Interpreti / Cast: Anton Rival, Evgenija Obraztsova, Evgenij Tkačuk, Aleksandr Baluev, Roman Madyanov, Mikhail Efremov. Produzione / Produced by: Marmot Film. Distribuzione internazionale / World Sales: All Media Company.


In 1957 French student Pierre Durand comes to Moscow to do an internship at Moscow State University. Here he meets ballerina Kira Galkina and photographer Valera Uspenskiy. Together with them he discovers the cultural side of Moscow – not just the traditional one, but the underground one as well. During his year in Russia’s capital Pierre lives an entirely different life than what he’s used to. But the internship and the experience of the Soviet people’s way of life are not the only things Pierre is after. He’s searching for his father, White officer Tatishchev, who was arrested in the 1930s.
A Frenchman
was presented at the latest Rotterdam International Film Festival.

The most important thing for me was to tell the story of the generation of the men of the 60s, to which I belong. There are older men of the 60s (Evtushenko, Voznesenskiy) who are 7-8 years older than my peers.  And I remember perfectly well that moment of relative freedom, a sign of relief after the 20th party convention and after the youth festival in Moscow. I decided to show this moment through a foreigner’s ­– a Frenchman’s – eyes. I needed him to be a normal person who grew up in a normal country, but not an offspring of the totalitarian regime. I needed a foreigner who would have an objective look at our reality. This story is mixed with the story of a White officer who spent his life in concentration camps. Tatishchev is not based on a real person; he has a lot of prototypes. This is a whole generation of the people who left their memoirs … A Frenchman is dedicated to the memory of Alexander Ginzburg — one of the first Soviet dissidents.” (A. Smirnov)

Andrej Smirnov
Director, screenwriter, producer and actor, Andrei Smirnov was born in 1941 in Moscow. He graduated in 1962 at VGIK directing department in Moscow. In 2003 he was awarded the title of People’s Artist of Russia.

filmografia scelta / selected filmography
Pjad’ zemli 1966 Šutočka 1971 Belorusskij vozkal 1974 Osen’ 1979 Veroj i pravdoj 2011 Žila-byla odna baba 2019-2020 Francuz (A Frenchman)

Marmot Film
c/o All Media Company

All Media Company
Floor 2, Entrance 5,
Bld. 16 12 Bolshoi Savvinsky lane
119435 Moscow


22 Jan 2021





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