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CONVERSATION WITH THE CELESTIAL: JOSEPH BRODSKY

But even the thought of-what’s his name? – immortality
there is a thought of solitude, my friend.
<I. B.>

Conversation with the celestial

When I was seven years old, and a large bag of chips in Moscow cost only six and a half rubles, far away in the West, a poet with the biblical name Joseph, not very well known at home, died. Brodsky, of course, did not manage to live up to the moment when every schoolchild would know about it. In poetry, loans have long been out of fashion and out of favor, and payments for lifetime deposits are always late for some reason. No, certainly Brodsky was not recognized in his old age both in Russia and around the world, but… the average reader of a wide province of his work simply did not observe – during the Union for the reason of non – occurrence of it on bookshelves, and after-for lack of time: the world collapsed, the system changed, a huge number of alternatives and opportunities showed themselves to the people, poetry, which once gathered huge halls, got bored and gave way to other cultural and not very entertainment.

We now know a lot about Brodsky, even too much, and in all the details: about the process, about emigration, about his friendship with Akhmatova, about Venice, and even about M. B. Despite the fact that the monument to Brodsky appeared in Moscow only last year (by the way, not at the expense of the government), and the complete works of Joseph Alexandrovich are still missing, books and films about him appear with enviable regularity. Various memories of Brodsky, interviews, reading poems by the author… How gratifying and flattering that Brodsky during his lifetime managed to illustrate the poems so richly with his own original reading, which, however, takes a lot of getting used to. Almost every film about Brodsky now features his voice, softly and steadily reciting the poetry of the great Russian language, which is no longer comparable in beauty to any other. There is this in Roman Liberov’s” Conversation with the celestial”, which I will tell you about a little later.

Conversation with the celestial
The title does not deceive the viewer at all, the film is really entirely a conversation, or rather an interview, which never happened. The celestials must communicate with the world in the way that Liberov showed-in absentia, slightly patronizing, and necessarily through an intermediary. It is impossible to categorize “Conversation with the celestial” as a purely documentary film, although it is in fact such. And here’s the thing: the interview is really fictional, although compiled by the Director from various sources, and Brodsky’s voice, with the exception of a few inserts with poems, replaces the voice of Kirill Pirogov. By the way, it does not strongly resemble the original, even the characteristic intonation features of Brodsky are not all adopted. This is depressing, because the overall styling is good, as if the recording is in real time, Brodsky is constantly distracted by phone calls, lighting cigarettes and searching for a cat.

There is no video sequence of the interview itself. The picture shows illustrations of the words of the film’s hero, whether it is new York, Venice, Brodsky’s parents or Anna Akhmatova. Periodically, a characteristic feature of lieberov is the animation of static images. For example, a photo in the corner of the screen shows daisies, the petals of which suddenly begin to fall off. An excellent artistic solution, in addition to creating a suitable mood, it also gives a certain freshness and perspective that enlivens the narrative. Photos of Brodsky for forty minutes of the film will show a lot, including rare ones that I personally could not find on the Internet.

Conversation with the celestial
It is difficult to say clearly about the content of the interview. On the one hand, the main points here are outlined well, plausibly, on the other hand, there are also very controversial sayings that immediately want to find confirmation or refute. There is a list of sources of information in the credits, so this is a small matter. The celestial is unlikely to object. Time of conversation: shortly before death, shortly before January 28, 1995. This allowed the author to touch on a wider range of topics and events. However, most of the issues remained unchanged: emigration, the Nobel prize, St. Petersburg, Venice…

“Conversation with the celestial” was filmed by Liberov for the channel “Culture” in 2010. It lasts less than forty minutes. Among the undoubted advantages: an original concept and several interesting visual finds. Of the disadvantages, perhaps, I will not mention anything. None of the roughness does not spoil the positive impression from the conversation with the Poet Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky.

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