Author: Allanna LESKENLI
The Second World War. German concentration camp. Six women in the ward. One can guess their Slavic origin because of their names and appearance. One of them killed a German officer named Krause. She killed him just before escaping the camp through a narrow tunnel she had dug for some time. The command of the camp announced that the rest of the women would stay alive if the killer was found. If not, then they will execute everyone. The eldest of the women starts an investigation trying to find out which of the five women, when, how, and under what circumstances killed the officer with the knife that he had dropped accidentally? The ending of the film is unpredictable.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Six is the first feature film by Azerbaijani director Anar Azimov, who currently lives in Kiev. It was shown in YARAT's cinema club. The cast of the film shot in 2018 in Kiev consists of the actors from drama theatres. It was presented at the Mind the Indie International Film Festival in Plovdiv (Bulgaria), received the Award of Excellence at the Accolade Global Film Competition in La Jolla, CA and the Zoroaster Award as the best Azerbaijani film at the Italian-Azerbaijani International Film Festival. In Italy, the film was nominated for the Fabrique Du Cinema magazine award in the Best Foreign Film nomination (2018). The jury of the Italian film festival was headed by Paul Haggis—a famous American and Canadian film director, screenwriter and producer, two-time winner of the Oscar and Emmy awards. The film launched a serious discussion after the release, as the audience had many questions to the author.
Anar has a PhD in Philosophy (1995) and is the graduate of the Department of Oriental Studies of the Baku State University. He is also a writer, playwright, screenwriter, graduate of the British Drama Council (1999, Tbilisi). He was born and raised in Baku. His friends and professionals say that Anar predominantly writes for cinema. The texts is born gradually as the filming progresses. The frames that he builds on the set are an attempt to combine thought, sensation, non-linear time category, visual aesthetics, panning, epicity and chamberness, provocation and voluntarism, non-linear dramaturgy and allusion. But your best bet is to watch his movie yourself. Since professionals closest to him can say that old generation of cinematographers determined the event itself at the level of a real fact as the key means of interpreting reality, but the categories of objective space and time occurring in their perception, that is, the subjective consciousness of a person. In this case, the scriptwriter, director and composer can be viewed as one and only subject.
In search of style
But have not filmmakers from different countries used the imaginative possibilities of Space and Time? According to the historians of cinema and scholars, a new direction has emerged by the end of the 20th century, which could not be ignored. This is a system of art based on the relationship of Space and Time, the interpretation of associative relations and events. The works of Quentin Tarantino, Bernardo Bertolucci, Rodrigo Cortes, Neil Marshall, Vincenzo Natalie and others. It would seem there is no need to look for something new as everything has already been found. For some, this may be an argument, but not for Anar Azimov. He is in constant search: the organic fusion of content and form, his style of cinema language, his own style of filmmaker.
Space and time
These categories are understandable on an intuitive level and are required conditions for the perception of reality by humans. Historically, there are two points of view on the nature of these concepts. The first is from Democritus, Epicurus, Lucretius and Newton: "Space and time are special principles, and exist independently of matter and from each other." The second is from Aristotle, who claimed that Space is a collection of places of bodies, while Time is the amount of 'movements'. According to Aristotle, Time, unlike movement (action), flows evenly. The language used in the films of contemporary filmmakers is the ability to capture and comprehend reality without rejecting the philosophical achievements of the past. For them, creative, technical and technological components are equally important. But they are useful for professional practitioners. For filmmakers. For an average viewer, movie is simply an array of actions on the screen that he or she perceives on emotional, aesthetic and intellectual level.
Dialogue with director
Anar Azimov is a creative person, who is in constant search. He is full of ideas despite being in cinema for several years. It is normal: as soon as one leaves forty years behind, he clearly realises what he is going to do and what his role will be in the society he lives in. This is exactly what happened with Anar. Now he knows for sure that cinema is exactly what he was looking for in his life, and he tackles it with pleasure.
"Is cinema your way of communicating with the audience for you?"
"No, it is the way of self-expression."
"Does it mean that you don’t think about the audience while filming?"
"I don't flatter the audience. But I'm mindful of it when I'm looking for feedback."
"What do you mean?"
"When I start filming, I know that there will be feedback. Positive or negative—it doesn’t really matter. It's important to get it anyway. I just offer my model of perception of the world. But it may not match that of other people. This is quite normal I think. An artist reacts to the world as he or she can. The artist’s works is a reaction to the surrounding world."
"Is Six also a reaction to the outside world or sort of a provocation?"
"Provocation? No. Six is an attempt to explore the space. Not confined, but very limited space. Limited by conditions in the German concentration camp. In fact, all of these women are doomed, because each of them, perhaps, has no future, no will to live. There is only fear. We see and understand the situation because of the non-linear plot."
"Do you explore the memories of your characters as a category of time?"
"To some extent. Because it is an integral part of the overall story."
"What is the most interesting thing for you as an author in this project?"
"Space and time."
"And how do you study these phenomena?"
"With my camera, which is the sixth character of the story and accompanies the characters always and everywhere."
"In other words, the sixth element of this story is you?"
"I would say so."
"So, you are depriving these prisoners of space and time?"
"It may seem so. But, in fact, our world is limited by our brains and the life circumstances, including those of my characters."
"What were you thinking about when Fabrique Du Cinema awarded Six as the Best Foreign Film?"
"I suddenly realised that the chairman of the jury was Paul Haggis and that our film is nominated in the Best Foreign Film category. Seriously though, I don't remember exactly."
"Do you want to be famous?"
"Just to have enough money for my projects, as it is the only guaranteed way of having a stable material base. I would like to continue making indie films, but this requires money."
"Do you already have an idea for your new project?"
"I always do."
"What is the film you dream of making?"
"A film without people and text. There will be only space and time..."
"Text is not always true, and it mostly means the replacement of truth with false."
"You don’t like people? You don't care about them?"
"On the contrary, I want to make this film because I find people interesting. Words are worthless. Today they lose their original meaning very quickly. Can you imagine a space without people, but with the music of their images felt in everything?"
"Vaguely, yes. Already have the script?
"I have the script, but I am looking for money to materialise it."
"So, it is going to be a film for people?"
"And about people!"
"We wish you good luck and all the best in your career."