The film director has to be a little wild...

Jeanne Labrune
02:11, 01 November 2016

Zhanna Labryun, world famous personality, is a writer, a screenwriter, a director and a producer in one person. 

She is not only a popular actress but also a director and a producer. She deserved a glory thanks to the talent. The cinematography opened for Zhanna a way not only to earn money, but it also gave her a chance to fulfill her dream. Her rich imagination helps to write in different genres, at the same time keeping own originality. 

Tell me, how do you begin your morning? Without what you cannot imagine it?

– I drink two or three cups of coffee every morning before getting to any work and I smoke few cigarettes. Then I go down to the court yard of a house in Paris and I take care after the trees, plants and flowers. I often sit down on a bench to see better the light that radiates trees, plants, walls and windows. It’s totally different every time. The light is not only an indicator of weather but also of all our life. It constantly changes and appears from rising to a sunset. It is very important to derive pleasure from every moment.

What is your favourite time of a day?

– Ah, the sunset! The daylight disappears and the artificial lighting on the streets begins to reign at some point. The blue light of the air slowly disappears and yellow one revives at the same time. The awakening of the night torments me a little. The reality withers and the time to fulfill dreams comes. I start to engage in writing at that moment.

What place in your life is taken by music? Do you have a favourite song?

– I dont like to write under musical accompaniment. Music changes my internal state. I prefer to work in silence.  On the other hand a background music sounds always in my office and both in the car when I prepare the next movie. I often include pieces of some music on the platform in order to listen it with a team before shooting. 

It promotes a climate. Sometimes it is a poetic introversive climate and sometimes  it is an exstravert power. Music creates communication between me and people that I’m working with. And we start to share the same feelings then. I do not love tiresome explanations, I give a preference to cooperation. I was always interested in all types of music, and I always try to create music which was unknown for me before. But I have some pieces of music which still accompany the course of my life from the childhood. Most of these works belong to Bach, Sibelius, Stravinsky, Debussy's but also there are Pink Floyd and rock bands among them.

What did influence your choice to connect your life and career with a cinema?

– To be honest, I did not choose this pace. I am a teacher in my profession, and after the end of studies I thought of putting aside all knowledge that was founded during the years of training. I decided to go to Paris to look for a work, for any work that would allow me to earn for a living and to become independent. My real dream is to be a writer. Also, I draw. 

The cinema was the most suitable option for me because I could unite drawing, and writing skills that I had at the same time. I wrote the first feature film when I was twenty four years old and I began to work hard to have an opportunity to shoot it after. I was twenty six years old when I became a project manager.

What qualities of character are necessary to become a good director?

– The film director loves freedom and likes to direct. He has to be a little wild but also ready to hear the opinion of other people. He has to be able to choose the best things from all the offers that he has. He always has to remain judicious, exacting, inventive and sensitive.

In what genre of movies would you like to work the most and why?

– I never choose a genre. I always scripted because I was highly motived, it was a necessity for me at that moment. Sometimes it was a drama, sometimes a comedy, and sometimes – a historical movie. I never gave preference to some particular style. Even if the genre of my movie changes, people learn my style. Strange. A subject, a plot, actors and actresses, a team, places of shooting, circumstances are never identical. But the person who writes and shoots the film always remains the same personality. So, the main issue of integrity is a full responsibility for the movie, for the worst and the best.

Which movie that you watched recently do you remember the most and why?

The movie «Hours» of Stephen Doldri (2002) still my  favourite movie for the last years. I watched many movies since that one but I tstill hink of it very often. I became obsessed with the actress (N. Kidman, M. Streep, J. Moore) and the main character (E. Harris). It impresses but the shooting also doesn’t concede. The structure, the suits and the shooting stages – all is perfect. This movie touches my feelings and really surprises me.

If you could meet with any historic personality in real life who would be that someone you would like to meet, what would you ask him?

– I think that a meeting with the historic personality is not a particular interest.  And on the other hand, it is very interesting to watch what they do, to read what they wrote and to look at their works or their art. I met many famous political and art personalities and some of them shared with me the reminiscence when the others developed tactics. The works do not lie. You need a lot of time to recognize someone. What he tells not always is what he thinks and what he does. Artists, writers, philosophers are more sincere often, more plunged into search of the truth, first of all their into their own one. They are more free. Most of the historic personalities who were very important for me are dead. I’m finding the  answers to the questions in their works now.

In your recent work «A special relationship» presented at the International Film Festival in Odessa is shown the life of the prostitute. Tell me, working on the scenario, did you try to communicate with the representatives of this profession to understand better their psychology?

– I never tried to communicate with the prostitutes when I worked on this movie. There was no need. Everyone knows what the prostitution is. I can imagine easily what could  be a life of clever and independent girl dreaming to give up this type of work. Each of us at least once in life was a prostitute in spite of the fact that we have other professions. Society is a big world of prostitution. There are few that are capable to admit that fact. Culture, transparency, freedom are the best means against all «dirty» situations that are arising from time to time.

Which of the movies that were shown at Odessa Film Festival made the greatest impression on you and why? What did you remember?

– I had no opportunity to watch all movies shown at the Odessa Film Festival. I saw only those that became international. I was the head of the jury that’s why I do not want to disclose the opinion.

Where do you find the ideas for your works?

– I do not know actually. Sometimes the movie appears from an image that I saw, sometimes from a sound, a voice. Something remains in my memory, and often I do not even know why this thing becomes an obsession. I am looking for the answer through the letters to the question «why». It is something like an internal research. I do not know why but the things given by the world coming from the outside are reflected with a cruelty inside my personality.

Do you have the plans for new projects yet? If yes, what are they?

– I wrote the scenario about the ritual meeting of man and woman at dawn, against the background of a saturated landscape. Initially this meeting is unexpected. Then it becomes not so similar to accident, then starts to remind a real ritual. Man and woman try to find something for themselves through this meeting. It starts from the drama of misunderstanding. I will shoot this film in Asia. I do not know where exactly at the moment. In September and October I will go to Cambodia and Japan with the purpose to explore places. The main characters of the movie are residents of different countries according to the scenario: the man is Asian, and the woman is French.

Try to describe your ideal day... 

– Excellent days exist only in souvenirs and hope.

How do you usually rest?

– I could tell that I never rest or that I always have a rest. The writing and creation of movies is not a work but passion, a way of life. You always reflect about what you would like to be engaged with. You are always looking for something  itself without knowing that. It is burdensome. You understand that you like this state of search over the time then. It is strange but it is a fascinating way of life at the same time.

What do you like to do in the evenings?

– Evening is the beginning of «the second day», night is a sorcerer. Night is a beginning of the day dreams, time to share positive emotions with people that you love and frequently it is a time to stay alone and to plunge into reading or writing letters. I personally give preference to loneliness.

Author: Anastasia Holdakovskaya
Translator: Annette Fleur de Lis