‘The main feat is that he passed the test of distrust’
The premiere of Timur Bekmambetov and Sergey Trofimov’s film Devyatayev took place in Kazan. The authors of the film told people a story about the feat of Kazan pilot Mikhail Devyatayev who escaped from captivity on the enemy’s plane during the Great Patriotic War. Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent attended the presentation of the film.
“When I started shooting, the film was different”
A red carpet, tens, not hundreds, of guests who were welcomed by an orchestra. The film was shown in all cinemas of Kinomax-IMAX Kazan, and a consultant, director and the leading actor were the heroes of the evening.
Pavel Priluchny is one of the most laconic of them — he appeared before the presentation to say he didn’t feel any shame for the film.
“I had never been in Kazan. For the first time I arrived in Kazan three years ago, entrepreneur Dmitry Yeremeyev invited me here. I spent a day, got acquainted with a woman named Natalia (his would-be wife is an aide to the Tatarstan president Natalia Fishman-Bekmambetova) and left, and then my life changed. Few people know about Devyatayev across Russia at the moment,” Timur Bekmambetov says in a personal talk with Realnoe Vremya.
According to him, he fell in love with the story about pilot Mikhail Devyatayev who was in German captivity, then seized Germany’s Heinkel He 111 H-22 bomber aircraft in a group of 10 people and escaped from the concentration camp on Usedom island. Devyatayev handed over data about the centre on Usedom where German missiles were tested — launching units Fau-2 — to the USSR. After that, he spent 12 years under interrogation until he got the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
“When I started shooting, the film was different. I read the book The Escape from Hell, I saw an adventure story, it is written in a way that it doesn’t need a director. In the process, I found out that nobody believed him for 12 years, he was patient and waited,” Bekmambetov says. “The story of the feat after he was back became important for me, this is why the film has this story. The main feat is that he passed the test of distrust. It turned out to be a film about the ‘betrayer’ who became a hero because according to the order No. 270 captives were considered betrayers.”
Main Director of Ekiyat theatre and Tatarstan’s busiest theatre directors Ilgiz Zayniyev is one of the scriptwriters of the film.
“When I understood that I needed a partner, I could make the story more poetic with, I called him,” Bekmambetov says. “And he helped with details of Kazan, the characters at the last stage. We feel the truth and the poetry of reality in the same way. There is the truth, I am not really interested in it, I am interested in the verity, not that happened but what... You got it.”
“This film raises questions”
Devyatayev’s son Alexander Devyatayev, a professor of Kazan State Medical University, became a consultant of the film.
“He was very kind. As a professor, he was a meticulous teacher too. He feared I would do something out of ignorance,” Bekmambetov says. “So he shifted the responsibility from me, I was afraid he could say the film wasn’t about his father and I would probably have to change the title of the film.”
Devyatayev junior is an incredibly intelligent man. A talk with him goes far from the film and delves into memory.
“There are two monuments in Germany. Is it local? He is an honourable hero of two cities,” Alexander Devyatayev says. “Russia’s second museum opened in Torbeyevo where ьн father was born. The first one is Gagarin’s museum. I go there every year. I don’t have relatives there. I will remind you that my father had six brothers and a sister. They all went to the front. Now a Moscow and Saransk branches left. Torbeyevo is located around Tatar villages. Khadi Taktash was born in one of them.”
“This film raises questions, it has a deep meaning I didn’t get first,” Devyatayev claims.
Now Bekmambetov is planning a series about Devyatayev’s 12 years of life after the war. Nobody will perhaps fly in the sky skillfully. However, it will likely be a story about Kazan, the river port and what it is like to be a future professor of Kazan State Medical University.