Russian animation director Garri Bardin hosted a creative meeting “And Now “Then” Has Come” in Voronezh at “Petrovsky” Book Club on Saturday, May 20. The meeting was held as part of “Open Library. Dialogues” project.

Garri Bardin is known as the author of such cartoons as “Letuchiy Korabl” (A Flying Ship), “Pif-Paf, Oy-Oy-Oy”, “Sery Volk and Krasnaya Shapochka” (The Gray Wolf and the Red Riding Hood), “Brek!”(Break!), “Gadkiy Utyonok” (The Ugly Duckling) and others. For his cartoon “Vykrutasy” (Embellishments), Bardin has received a Golden Palm – the main prize of the Cannes Film Festival.

During the creative meeting in Voronezh, Garri Bardin demonstrated his cartoons “Brek!”, “Adagio” and “Slushaya Betkhovena” (Listening to Beethoven), answered the question of animated film fans and gave autographs on his book “And Now “Then” Has Come”. The most interesting parts of Garri Bardin’s speech are in the RIA “Voronezh” article.

In search of himself

– I’m an educated actor, I haven’t studied directing. I graduated from the Moscow Art Theatre with a degree with honors. Yury Norshteyn (animation director – RIA ”Voronezh”) who doesn’t have a higher education diploma used to say that a man with a sense of humor cannot graduate from a university with a degree with honors. I guess, he’s just jealous.

I worked in the Gogol Theatre for five years. There is a prayer (although I’m not a churched man) – “Lord, help me come to know myself”. Coming to know yourself during your whole life – that’s what I advise young people. I’ve been creating advertisements for the radio, making “ABVGDeyka” (ABCs), writing screenplays for a puppet theatre, directing plays. Then I became interested in postscoring cartoons and wrote a screenplay of a cartoon. And I was entrusted to direct it.

During the defense process of my first cartoon “Dostat Do Neba” (Touch the Sky), Ivan Ivanov-Vano said: “I teach my VGIK dummies for five years, then they make graduation works based on the principle “here’s a nail, here’s a horseshoe, a couple of hits – and it’s done” (from Samul Marshak’s poem “The Blacksmith” – RIA ”Voronezh”). And now I see some Bardin who’s a complete outsider. I congratulate Soyuzmultfilm on such an acquisition”.

It happened on October 10, 1975. And I knew that I’d found my place. It is the time when my son Pavel was born; later he became a film director. My son is adding his Nikas to the family bank. I’ve got five, he has two.

About “Letuchiy Korabl”

– I created “Letuchiy Korabl”. After that, the “Little Blue Light” shows never went without Vodyanoy of Babka-Yozhkas. When we were making it, I didn’t think it would become a hit for years to come. When you’re creating something, you don’t think about the result. My three-year-old granddaughter has recently sung her first song: “A Ya Ne Khochu, Ne Khochy Po Raschyotu…” (lyrics of a song from “Letuchiy Korabl” - RIA ”Voronezh”).

“Letuchiy Korabl” is a coincidence. I used to shoot cartoons based on my own screenplays. The studio officials told me: “Anyone can shoot something based on his own screenplay, try using someone else’s”. I changed the screenplay, came up with a musical. Now Maksim Dunayevsky says: “We need to get busy together once again”, but so far we haven’t managed to. These are different times, and a different me.

About an invitation to the USA

– In 1992, the president of Walt Disney Animation Studios invited me to host a master-class. Capitalists are funny people, the master-class was held during their lunch break. They were jawing and asking questions. And the president of the studio offered me to stay. I came to the USA from food-poor Moscow with its empty store shelves. And he told me: “You’ll have three cars, a house and a salary no one in Russia has. You’ll be making a series”.

The president was inviting me alone, but I had colleagues who trusted me. And I could not betray them. My only mistake was that I told my wife about it. At that moment she told me exactly what she thought about me. But in time she came to understand me, because all these years I’d been doing what I loved. With an effort, to tell the truth. I won’t complain about it today.

About the Golden Palm of the Cannes Film Festival

– I was making a rope film “Brak”(The Defect), and me and the cartoon director went to get wires. After all, a rope cannot stay up by itself. I was first producer move: I found a factory that made toys for children with a wire frame. They told me: “Come back later with a non-transparent plastic bag and passports”. They gave us two huge wire rolls, and we took them: one was wasted on “Brak”, the other one remained on my shelf.

After “Brak” I decided to use this wire roll for another animated film. I thought: “A man must build a house, plant a tree and raise a son. But what if external circumstances are in the way?” This resulted in the concept of “Vykrutasy” dedicated to the way the Soviet government placed the defense of its borders above human lives. The screenplay was sent to Goskino (the USSR State Committee for Cinematography) with an attached note for the Censorship Committee. In the note, the editor wrote: “The film researches the psychology of a private owner often seen at cooperative garden plots”. Thank God, Cannes understood the true meaning of this film, and I kissed the hand of Claudia Cardinale who presented the Golden Palm to me.

About pirate copies

– I’m not mad at the people who copy my films. Let them share these films with each other, post them in social media. I’m being told: “Let’s put your cartoons on a paid website”. But I know our people – if there’s a paid restroom with bushes nearby, they’ll do it in the bushes for free. So let them post. I’m pleased to know that young people consider my work interesting, that I’m not outdated. I’m glad that the films made 30 years ago are still interesting.

About computer animation

– My attitude to computer animation is good, but it’s just not my thing. I’m an old fogy – I use film instead of digital shooting. I like handwork and I can always tell a computer-made carton from a hand-made one. I place some mystical importance on it, because the things made with animator’s own hands carry a part of his soul. This animation depends on his fingers, his soul and mood. That’s the reason he is called an animator. Anima means soul, an animator is an “ensouler”. He “ensoules” a lifeless body and makes the audience believe that it is alive. As for computers, my studio accountant uses one.

About “Brek!”

– When I decided to make an anti-boxing film, I realized that I had to learn about it. I came to the Physical Culture and Sports Institute. You’ve seen the coaches in the cartoon: one coach’s nose is facing one way, another coach’s nose – the other. I found guys who knew how to make such noses. They showed me educational films, told me how the Black Bomb of Detroit makes beautiful knockouts.

Then I realized that it had its own poetry to it, I developed respect for it. Now, if I accidentally come across a professional boxing fight, I watch it. But during the shooting I had to transform this knowledge into choreography. It took me nine months to shoot this film.

Zinovy Gerdt and Mikhail Derzhavin dubbed the coaches. When I demonstrated “Brek!” in the USA, Americans listen attentively: “What is he saying?” I said: “It’s gibberish”. But when I showed it in Madrid, the audience laughed. I couldn’t understand why. It turned out that Zinovy added the phrase “Hasta Mañana” which means “See you tomorrow”. Out of place, but funny.
About making a living of cartoons

– I’m often asked if it was possible to make a living of making cartoons. No. I had an offensive talk with my son when he reached puberty. He said: “Dad, do you think you’ve succeeded in your line of work”? I said: “I think I did”. And he replied: “Then where is our mansion” Where’s the yacht? Where is a limousine?” I started mumbling something about the Golden Palm, the grand prizes I’d won. He wasn’t convinced.

Years passed, My son graduated from the Faculty of Journalism of he MSU, worked in newspapers, magazines, on TV, on “Echo of Moscow” radio, entered the Higher Courses for Scriptwriters and Directors, was shooting some nonsense - “Klub” and something else. And then he decided to make a film he considered important, a pseudo-documental drama “Russia 88”.

Me and his mother barely managed to buy him a one-bedroom apartment in Moscow. He, without telling us, sold the apartment and used the money to shoot his film. I realized that it was more important to him to make a film. At that moment me and my son became like-minded.

About “The Ugly Duckling”

– “The Ugly Duckling” took us six years to make – it is a full-length film. It has four hundred puppets, all of them had to be made. All characters had to be animated, we had frame-by-frame filming. Also, recording Vladimir Spivakov’s orchestra was a lot of work. We overlaid it with vocals of the Turetsky Choir and all the singers. And after that I sat and listened to the record for four months. I did it in my studio, and if there had been any neighbors, they would have thought I’ve gone crazy. It’s because I had to listen to the same part 40-50 times until the move I thought necessary in that very place would came to my mind.

About teamwork

– My studio “Stayer” has existed for 26 years, I’ve been managing it since 1991. I tend to keep a good atmosphere at my studio. People must understand me quickly so that I don’t think of my expression firm: will he understand it or nor, dies get the joke or not.

Managing regular people is very easy, but managing talented people is very hard. Everyone has his own vision. So you have to be able to infect everyone with your vision to make you like-minded, to net make look like a tyrant.

I’m a democrat, but a tough one. I try not to allow by film become a patchwork quilt by the end. If everyone tries to have his way, I’ll lose the film. I think that professionalism is uncompromising movement from the concept to its implementation.

RIA “Voronezh” note for information

Garri Bardin (real last name – Bardenshteyn) was born on September 11 of 1941 in Orenburg. He received his higher education by graduating from the Moscow Art Theatre in 1968. He starred ub such films as “Rozygrysh” (A Joke), “Podarok Sudby” (A Gift from Destiny), “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears” and “Personal File of Judge Ivanova”. From 1968 to 1973 he worked in the Gogol Theatre. He also worked on “ABVGDeyka”.

In 1974, he co-created the play “Don Juan” and, invited by Sergei Obraztsov, became a director at the Moscow Puppet Theatre. We worked on such famous cartoons as “Konservnaya Banka”(The Tin)”, “Letuchiy Korabl”, “Pif-Paf Oy-Oy-Oy”,  “Prezhde My Byli Ptitsami” (Before We Were Birds).

Bardin uses unusual techniques and materials. Matches- in “Conflict”, rope and wire – in “Brak”, wire – In “Vykrutasy”, origami – in “Adagio”. In 1888, he won the Golden Palm of the Cannes Film Festival for Vykrutasy as the best short film.

In 1991, he founded a cartoon production studio, “Stayer”, where he later produced “Choocha”, “The Cat in the Boots”, ”Sery Volk and Krasnaya Shapochka”, “The Ugly Duckling” and others.

Bardin is a Merited Culture Figure of Russia, he wan the State Prize and five Nika awards. In 2013, he released an autobiographic book “And Now “Then” Has Come”.