Konchalovsky shoots “Chronicles of the Revolution”: “Rasputin said – if a man kills me, Russia will be fine, but if the nobles, then Russia is over. And so it happened”

Our correspondent Anna Veligzhanina starred in the extras of Konchalovsky's new film together with her 9-year-old son.

Our correspondent Anna Veligzhanina starred in the extras of Konchalovsky’s new film together with her 9-year-old son.

A picture: Anna VELIGZHANINA

The shooting of Konchalovsky’s film with the working title “Chronicles of the Revolution” is underway in Moscow. As mentioned, this project will cover the pre-revolutionary years of our country. The director decided to investigate the cause of the revolutionary events and the collapse of the Russian Empire. Correspondent “KP” took part in one of the shooting days.

Summer 1917

Retro equipment was brought to the site.  And then the old streets on the computer are “finished”.

Retro equipment was brought to the site. And then the old streets on the computer are “finished”.

A picture: Anna VELIGZHANINA

… The pavement of pre-revolutionary times. Street lights. Railways. A green background is stretched around the perimeter. In the corners, groups of workers from the film group stand shivering from the icy wind. Autumn 2022 is on the calendar. And here according to the plot – the cold and disturbing summer of 1917. The Moscow street reproduced for shooting is full of soldiers in overcoats, with canvas backpacks over their shoulders, officers of the tsarist army. All these people are extras.

– We live! – shouts the second director into a megaphone. And on command, everyone begins to move, move, “come to life.”

Rich gentlemen walk dignified, some with a cane, some under an umbrella. A bearded man with a badge on his apron “Watchman” diligently sweeps the street. Old-timers chug past horse-drawn carts. Suddenly a truck rumbles down the sidewalk, from which leaflets are distributed. “Attention, profession!” – shouts the boy.

Anyone can join the crowd

- What are you doing here?  - We ride the tram.

– What are you doing here? – We ride the tram.

A picture: Anna VELIGZHANINA

I confess, I did not even think about filming with Konchalovsky himself. It came out accidentally. Anyone off the street can get into the extras by signing up for castings or answering an ad in open groups mobile applications.

… The dresser threw me a bathrobe like a bag. For him – a scary scarf. And I became a disgusting antediluvian city dweller. But with my son. Own, nine years old. Here he was dressed on the go, everything suits him, they say, structured.

He shoots Konchalovsky against a green background and special effects are applied to him during the editing process. “This is a chroma key, a technology for combining two or more images or frames into one composition,” experts explain to me.

I must be a tram passenger. For a moment I thought the rails on the sidewalk were for a movie cart, but no – at the end of the lot I saw a miniature red tram. It was taken from some museum. Before my eyes they attached “horns”, fake ones. On the “forehead” is the Finland Station. “So we’re in St. Petersburg?” – Guess. And suddenly there was a deafening crack. The tram jerked and rolled. I thought he couldn’t even move!

– What does it work on? There are no electric wires here, – I ask a man in the form of a train driver.

– He’s got a motor, a motor. Hardly pull, my friend, – sigh.

We ride the tram from one end of the site to the other. Outside the window, people are running around, cars are moving.

An old tram brings the action to St. Petersburg.

An old tram brings the action to St. Petersburg.

A picture: Anna VELIGZHANINA

– A note to passengers – everyone is looking at the camera, which is unnatural! We understand that it happened by accident, but keep in mind, – says the director.

I didn’t know where to look at all. I counted four cameras on the site: they shoot from all sides.

– With God, – says the driver, restarting our transport.

But the tram stopped. We filmed without him. On the side of the road I saw a revolutionary armored car. I don’t know if Lenin will be mounted on him.

People are looking for actors

I did not have a chance to meet “Ilyich” – they are still looking for him. Konchalovsky announced a public casting for the people. His agents travel all over the country in search of doppelgängers of historical figures. After filming in Moscow, the film group moves to St. Petersburg. In St. Petersburg, they are looking for pianists and ballerinas – for individual scenes of the royal family. Lenin’s native Ulyanovsk reported that they had a casting for the role of Ilyich in his youth.

Among the people, Konchalovsky is looking for candidates for the main roles: Lenin, Krupskaya, Nicholas II, Rasputin, Stalin, as well as for the roles of Mayakovsky and Yesenin. Konchalovsky emphasized that acting education is not important.

“I prefer to have people in the picture that no one has ever seen,” the director likes to repeat.

What is the movie about?

“I’ve been thinking about my idea for eight years,” Konchalovsky told TV reporters who came to the site. – I will say that there is little pure fantasy in this story. All stories are inspired by real facts. Why, for example, Stalin did not love Sverdlov – but because he lost to him at chess!

Andrei Konchalovsky.  Photo: Pavel Kashaev/GLOBAL LOOK PRESS

Andrei Konchalovsky. Photo: Pavel Kashaev/GLOBAL LOOK PRESS

The director also talked about Rasputin’s personality, who will also appear in his film.

– England’s role in the First World War was exceptional, because Russia always wanted to get out of the war, – says Konchalovsky. – It was extremely disadvantageous for England, because Russia took over all the main German troops. Had she withdrawn from the war, the German forces would have turned to the Western Front. And Grigory Rasputin wanted her to come out and, according to some researchers, was able to convince the king of this. An Englishman fired a fatal shot at Rasputin! You will say: what about the memories of Felix Yusupov, who say that it was he who killed? And it’s all romance! I won’t go into details, but I will say one thing. When Rasputin’s body was pulled out from under the ice, there were signs of torture. It must be said that the elder had a visionary gift. No wonder he said: if a peasant kills me, then Russia will be fine, but if the nobles, then Russia will be finished. And so it happened, you understand?


“Spies Everywhere”

During a break, I looked into a pavilion on the territory. The priests are holy, and here Konchalovsky himself sits on a high chair, and several TV reporters point cameras at him. Forgetting that I was an extra, I stood next to me and turned on the video camera in my cellphone. However, the producer did not like me outright. I have ordered the video to be removed. That was the end of my film career, just beginning.

“The additional actress was fined 350 thousand! They said that she was broadcasting live on the Telegram channel! – someone from the crowd ran past me. Rumor swept the track faster than the wind.

In fact, I didn’t do a single broadcast and no one fined me. But the fee for the service was withheld due to a breach of discipline. At the same time my son (he was offended for nothing). Before filming, he considered: “Two thousand for shooting for you, and for me as a child – 2.5 thousand plus thousand for fitting.” And here it is, zero. As Konchalovsky said, people don’t go to the movies for money. That’s for sure!

By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at