“Believe me, the book is way more complex than the movie“, said Kirill Serebrennikov in an Zoom interview after Petrov’s Flu premiered in Cannes without his presence. Sentenced to a three-year suspended sentence and a heavy fine, he is formally prohibited from leaving Russia.
“I’m in Limbo, like Petrov in my movie. I’m free in Russia, but I can’t leave there. I’m somewhere between”, he told us. “For me, the most important thing is that I’m working. On the opening day of the film in Cannes, we filmed here in Moscow our team walking in a red carpet while seeing real images of the Cannes’ red carpet. It was fun (laughs).”
Based on a novel by Russian author Alexei Salnikov, Petrov’s Flu moves between reality and imagination following different times in the life of a comic book artist and his family in post-Soviet Russia. “The book is quite complex and covers various periods of the character’s life: the closest past, the distant, the present and his imagination. The structure of the film is also complex, but I like this complicity coming from the book, which shows us a non-binary state of things. It’s not black or white, good or bad, God or the Devil. It was really fun, challenging and exciting to create this world of ‘Petrov’s Flu’. There are several layers of reality, delusion, illusions, real life and its past.”
Claiming that his films are more about the present than the past, the director does not consider it particularly difficult to manage his life and work during shooting: “I hate artists who say art is complicated… I am the son of a doctor, a surgeon. Now, this is really complicated. Shooting while I was overcoming all those issues was the ideal way to escape my parallel life”.
Already working on a new project, Kirill Serebrennikov spoke a little about it: “My new film is set in the 19th century and follows a woman who is in love with a musician. She goes crazy with her obsession with love. Music, adventure and love. These are the themes. It will be independently funded, like my other films. They have nothing to do with the Russian Ministry of Culture.”
As for his future, the director hopes to be able to visit a film festival soon, but doesn’t make long-term plans for his life. “A year and a half ago we had huge plans for the future and suddenly everything changed because of a strange bat in China, so I prefer not to make long-term plans. I want to live day by day, and I advise everyone to do the same.”.