Mikael Poghosyan talks about new film "Lorik"

When the understanding of the fact that other human lives are just as valuable as your own is reflected not only in everyday life, but also in the art, then something important happens: the art arouses a desire even in most indifferent individuals to live not only for themselves, but also for those around them.

In “Lorik” – an adventure movie, a science fiction film, a tragicomedy – where the protagonist is an indifferent, eccentric actor named Lorik who lives in the world of his characters, we can see such a miracle performed thanks to the power of art. Following his inner rebirth, Lorik starts to share other people’s pain and help those whose problems did not worry him before.
Filming was complete in late September 2016, and now the film has reached a postproduction stage, after which it will be presented to viewers. People’s Artist of the Republic of Armenia Mikael Poghosyan, who is the author of the idea and the scriptwriter of the film and also plays the lead character (Lorik), told us how he came up with the idea of creating “Lorik” and how the work on the film proceeded.

-Please tell us how the idea was born to create such an unusual film that is rather complex in its genre.

-I have for several years wanted to make a film about an actor. In a sense, Lorik, the leading character, is a prototype … possibly of me too. Over time I became increasingly oppressed by mummery… I’ve never been inspired by the path of being just a hack actor. And now I wish to create my characters myself – only then can I feel fully satisfied with my profession. This was probably the reason a character named Lorik was born.
I’ve always regarded the scene as a special, almost sacred place. Prior to walking out on the stage, one has to win the right of playing before an audience. The role of an actor can be considered successful when it teaches something, when it prompts the viewer to reflect. I think that it was in 1996 when the play “Khatabalada” was staged that I established myself as a person who could stand out himself, outside his character’s role… We created that play with my friend Armen Hambartsumyan, and it was at that time that the path began, on which Mikael as a person, rather than Mikael as an actor, was the leading character, while the actor began to play along with the person. One after another, there were films and plays in which I attempted to honestly show what oppressed me, what pained me, what seemed unfair. And now there is “Lorik”.
“Lorik” film covers the creative path I have traversed so far; it is the quintessence of everything I have comprehended in acting. I always wanted to take my profession to the level of real events when you use your art to truly help someone. When you get into a situation with completely different rules of game after living in a sterile world, and when you start to learn life lessons and infect people with the “virus” of art… And who is Lorik, the film’s protagonist?

Lorik is an actor by nature to such an extent that with his roles he shut himself off from the real life, from real problems. The lives of his characters make his life, but he lost his own face… His life consisted of transitions from one play to another. Lorik created a microclimate, in which his creative activities made his life. Despite society’s current concern about serious social problems, Lorik would hide behind the masks of his characters and remain indifferent to problems of those around him. He had never experienced love for people or for a Woman. But Lorik begins to change throughout the film. Most importantly, he acquires the ability to love and take action in the name of love: after all, true love is shown through deeds, rather than words. But love came to him only when Lorik was able – thanks to his transformation – to see the world through different eyes because love is the most complex play imaginable and that play has to be performed properly. When you enter the play of life while trying to change something , to embody, and improve something – at that point you become a true human.
There is a saying: “We engage in the art so as not to die from the truth”… Lorik initially chose the following path: to avoid dying from the truth, he shut himself off from life, he hid in the art. But then he came out of his shell and finally entered real life. Perhaps it was then that his acting talent truly manifested itself, and he was not just a histrionic, but a real actor capable of healing the mind and … body.

-Why does Lorik leave at the end of the movie? Isn’t it too harsh towards a man who went through hardships before he eventually realized the true nature of life and perceived its real colors?
-The film’s ending is rather ambiguous, and it is hard to say for sure that Lorik dies. But the main idea of the film is self-sacrifice. The protagonist sacrifices himself for a great purpose - to save a child. This is the end of Lorik’s creative path and the course of his life. I would not like to provide more details. Everything will be clear during the screening of the film.

-How was the work on the film proceeding? When did your start wring the script?
-A few years ago I wrote a somewhat different script. It was also about an actor who transformed, and I was going to name the film “Doppler”. But I felt that there was something missing in the script and it did not reflect my views on the film and its characters. The script remained unfinished, but I came up with the idea of making a film about Lorik to reflect my current views on life, on our reality, and the profession of an actor. At first I co-wrote the script with Maria Sahakyan (а director), but later we reached a deadlock and our creative paths diverged. Alexey Zlobin (the film’s director) has made some corrections in the script, but the film’s essence has remained as I originally conceived it.

-It is no secret that after writing a script, many have to wait for years until funding is provided..
–You know, I performed the best parts and plays in my imagination, but does anybody need them if no one saw those roles? If no one believes you and lends a helping hand to you, then all this will remain in your visions. In order to obtain support, your idea has to be not only an original and interesting one , among other things, but it also has to be contagious. The script of “Lorik” proved to be a contagious idea for the people involved in the film’s creation – both from a material and creative point of view.
Martin Minasyan who became the film’s general producer was a real miracle to me because when such people join your film crew, it is a sign that you do the right things and you are on the right path as far as your creative plans are concerned. And when your idea suddenly becomes also the idea of that person, when he helps you turn that idea into a reality – it is a miracle.

-How was the film crew assembled? How was the film director chosen?
–I spent quite a long time thinking about who I should start working with – painter Armen Ghazaryan was the first one: I worked with him earlier and knew him as a decent man and an excellent expert. He was the first to join our film crew as a production designer. Then we were joined by Vahag Ter-Hakobyan, our director of photography. He worked with us during the filming of ‘Yerevan Blues”. Then we gathered managers, and some volunteers showed up to participate in filming. Eventually, out film crew included over 50 members.
When we got acquainted with filmmaker Alexey Zlobin, we realized that we found the director for “Lorik”. Zlobin is a creative and competent man - he had cooperated with prominent directors such as German, Sakurov, and Ryazanov, and worked at the Pyotr Fomenko Workshop Theatre. “Lorik” is his debut. The preparatory stage of filming lasted from May to August. The film was shot in 25 days, which can be considered a remarkable thing in the film industry – no one completes the shooting of a film over such a short period of time. But everything was done in one breath – that’s why everything panned out well. Zlobin invited Anzhelika Zhdanova to work as second director. She also made a great contribution – an incredibly important contribution – to the filming process. On the whole, it was a special crew made up of talented people, all of them showing a clear understanding of the film’s essence and an interesting, unusual approach...

-Tell us about the cast.

–We saw Chulpan Khamatova as the actress suitable for the role of Annushka . It is a woman who selflessly loves Lorik, and our main character also falls in love with her and is inspired by her love. The actress gladly accepted the role after reading the script. Unfortunately, we did not cooperate because Khamatova was already under contract with Austrian filmmakers… It took us quite a time to find an actress for the role of Annushka, and Yevgenia Dmitriyeva was our final choice (She has appeared in over 60 movies, and is best known for her roles in “Zaza”, “Euphoria”, “Three Graces”).
Famous singer Forsh was cast as Jonik, Lorik’s neighbor, an ex-fan of the Beatles and ex-musician who has to make his living as a parking lot employee. One of the most important characters is Asenka, a sick girl. Lorik’s desire is to save her from a grave illness. We selected a girl for that role by accident: once our assistant responsible for finding filming locations came to work with her little daughter. We saw at a glance that it was Asenka – the girl we needed! The girl’s name is Irenocka, she is 8 years old, and I think she was a real find for our film. She is an amazing kid who brought so much sunshine, sincerity, and cheerful colors into our film. When we finished shooting the film, we decided to throw a party for the girl, and each of us presented her with a small cake. The girl couldn’t immediately find my cake so she came up to me and said, “Tell me why you didn’t give me a cake, just like others?” Yaken aback, I mumbled something like “perhaps a cat carried it away..?” The girl said with a smile, “Never mind – I love you anyway, even without that cake”. The warm and sincere confession of the child was incredibly touching…
John Makaryan played the candidate Kandilyan, while actor of the Russian Theatre Arman Ghazaryan skillfully played the role of Samvello, Kandilyan’s assistant, a kind of an evil demon who fulfills vile wished of his boss.
We spent much time trying to find an actress for the role of Chinar and finally selected Ani Galstyan. Narek Baghdasaryan from Hamazgayin Theatre was chosen for the role of Arthur, while actress Shake Tukhmanyan played Lorik’s aunt. In short, over 40 actors were cast in minor and major roles. The casting was a complex process, at least three actors were auditioned for each role, and in the end, we found everyone we needed.

-How do you imagine music for this film?
–Of course, there is a song leitmotif in the film: this theme accompanies some of the scenes, but the film’s main music has not yet been written, and we are still in the process of selecting a composer who will have a not very-simple task of composing unusual music that should express the complexity of the plot. It is quite possible that it is going to be a mixture of choral music and a classic style, or the composer will find another solution. We will see it later.

-When do you plan to show the film to viewers? Will ‘Lorik” be screened at festivals?
–I wouldn’t like to anticipate, now is the postproduction stage, and we want to do everything in line with international standards, by using advanced technology for all the processes such as editing, sound recording, etc. For that reason I cannot give the specific date of the film screening… Yes, we intend to demonstrate ‘Lorik” at festivals. For example, I attended quite a few good festivals with the film “If Only Everyone” (a 2012 Armenian film directed by Natalia Belyauskene and written by Mikael Poghosyan. It participated in various international film festivals and won 17 awards and prizes). I hope that ‘Lorik” will also be screened at film festivals and have its worthy place.
(Source: miaban.am site)