Russian ex-rock star plays Orthodox hermit

Russian ex-rock star plays Orthodox hermit September 10, 2006

Reuters has the following story on an interesting-sounding film:

Art closely follows life in a new Russian film about a hermitic monk with a guilty past played by a 1980s Russian rock singer who shunned society after a religious transformation.

The White Sea provides the barren backdrop for director Pavel Lounguine’s “Ostrov” (“The Island”), in which former rocker Pyotr Mamonov plays Anatoly, a man who shoots a comrade during World War Two and winds up living a hermit’s existence near an isolated monastery burdened with the guilt of his past.

People come from all over the country to visit Anatoly the monk, who is a practical joker and a thorn in the side for his Orthodox brothers, yet still revered as a sage and visionary.

Mamonov’s pale, drawn face and broken teeth provide a physiological reflection of the almost colorless backdrop of water, snow-covered islands and a rotting barge full of coal.

Lounguine, who worked with Mamonov in his acclaimed debut picture “Taxi Blues” in 1990, insisted on Mamonov as the lead.

“Regardless of the fact that he is still connected to … entertainment, the fate of this extraordinary man and his personal life-journey from show business to religion reflects the plot of the film,” Lounguine said. . . .

Despite the parallels with his own life, Mamonov said he should not be confused with the character Anatoly.

“The hero in this film is representing a faith,” the 55-year-old told a news conference. “Maybe we share the same faith, but I think the hero in the film is a strong character, whereas I am just a weak person.” . . .

It’s playing the Venice and Toronto film festivals right now, but alas, it does not seem to be coming to the Vancouver festival.

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