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About Soviet culture, modernity and the state of theaters
About Soviet culture, modernity and the state of theaters

Excerpts from a conversation with Alexander Usanin, the head of the For the Benefit of Peace Prize, which is awarded to individuals and organizations for humanism in art and social activities. The competition is aimed at supporting and popularizing works of art, as well as Internet portals focused on the physical, spiritual and moral improvement of society.

Topical issues

About ideals formed in childhood

“I was lucky. I was made in the Soviet Union, I grew up in the USSR. My childhood was spent in a healthy information environment, where all films, performances and programs taught people to help each other. Why me? Well, if not me, then who? In Soviet times, several slogans were put into me, which became my mottos for life: “We were born to make a fairy tale come true” and “If not me, then who?”. Dad and mom from childhood raised me by their example. No matter what Komsomol construction site we come to, dad always found himself on the honor roll of a district, city or enterprise. At the same time, he was a very humble person and taught this to us, his children. Since childhood, I myself have been fond of socially useful work. I was born in the Urals, where it is quite cold. Often the streets in our city after thaw and frost turned into real ice slides. Mom sent me to clear the snow and sprinkle them with sand. Since then I realized that I like taking care of people."

About Soviet culture, modernity and the state of theaters

“I remember well the atmosphere of Soviet culture. You can see for yourself, all Soviet films about the future painted beautiful pictures. At the same time, watch modern American films about the future: the remnants of humanity survive after the Apocalypse or kill each other. Unfortunately, after the collapse of the USSR, our culture lost its brakes and began to fall with the speed of free fall. I really want art to revive culture again, and I separate these two concepts. Art is a means of expressing one's thoughts in different ways, and culture is everything that elevates a person and develops his inner world.

In Soviet times, art served culture and was aimed at improving the inner world of a person. Now art often destroys culture. You know very well that 90% of Moscow theaters simply lower people's consciousness. Directors compete with each other in who will give more vulgarity and nudity. Only children's performances now can still be called moral. I will not name names, but I have several friends who run Moscow theaters, they say that they literally have to fight with artistic directors. Once I told one of the directors to offer a performance of his theater for our award, to which he replied that there was simply nothing to offer”.

How the "For the Benefit of the World" award appeared

“The award appeared after a meeting with Valentina Vasilievna Tolkunova. She was deeply concerned about what Russian culture was turning into and we began to think about what we could change. At some point, we noticed that most awards in the field of art in our country are awarded on the basis of professionalism, but do not evaluate the message of the work itself. Unfortunately, the idea was realized only after the death of Valentina Vasilievna.

intervyu s usaninyim 3 Aggression through art and opposition to it

When the Internet became sufficiently developed, I first launched a social network for supporters of a healthy lifestyle, and then they came up with an award, which was supported by patrons.Initially, we wanted to present our prize as a special prize at famous film festivals to precisely those films that carry a moral message. The representatives of the festivals agreed, but on the condition that the decision on who to present the prize would be made by them. Of course, this option did not suit us. It turns out that we had to organize our prize “For the Good of the World”. * smiles * The result is a platform that collects all the good films, cartoons and books released throughout the year, and users, getting acquainted with them, cast their votes and decide for themselves who will be awarded.

People's lives depend on where their attention is focused. When attention is focused on the negative, they, consciously or not, behave destructively. As an illustration of this thought, I often cite the film “The Man from Boulevard des Capuchins” - the most criminogenic town in which people have seen positive patterns of behavior, tune in to this wave and begin to imitate those models that they see on screens. So the media and art are the steering wheel that steers the huge ship of society."

About children's cinema

“Children's cinema was unprofitable even in Soviet times. Many films were shown on TV, rather than in theaters, without generating income for the creators. But at the same time, the state invested a lot of money in their creation, the best directors, composers and actors were invited. Now all our children's cinema is unprofitable, these films are not rented, because distributors are counting on benefits only from adult viewers. Foreign films are shown on the screens, which do not teach anything good, but excite the imagination. "Harry Potter" is also the kindest movie I've ever seen as marked "for teens." In most teenage foreign films, there are not only violent scenes, but also erotic ones. In Soviet times, the most erotic film was considered the "Crew", because it showed the actress in a very short robe."

About product placement and the self-sufficiency of art

“The reason for the troubles of modern culture is that it has become commercial. In Soviet times, the media and culture were sponsored by the state; after the collapse of the USSR, culture became self-sufficient. The media are now self-funded, but what does this mean? This means that they are corrupt. Who pays more for what will be shown. A striking example is Timati. In one of the interviews he was asked why he, a non-drinker, has alcohol in his videos, to which he bluntly replied that no one has canceled product placement yet. It turns out interestingly - he does not drink himself, he knows that it is harmful, but he solves others."

About the theater

“Recently I have been to the theater very rarely. There are good, albeit a little tough performances that I liked - for example, "Zoofellini" at the Theater in the South-West. When I was asked after the performance what I thought about the performance, I honestly said that I would recommend watching it to all our government, all the deputies. So that they understand what the lack of censorship leads to. True, the second part of my thought, that ordinary people should not watch this, I did not say, so as not to offend the management of the theater."

kak rossiyu unichtozhayut cherez iskusstvo 2 Aggression through art and opposition to it

Business support of art

“Once the director of a shopping and entertainment center in Krasnodar helped me. I thought that people of Caucasian ethnicity only help their diaspora, but this turned out to be not the case. Later I met him personally. It turned out that he does a lot of charity work. As he himself says, “not for the purpose of both my grandfathers died at the front, so that now their children are corrupted, thank you for what you are doing”. Many businessmen would like to help the art of morality, but most of them have clear directions from above about who should be helped and who should not. They say bluntly: "We will be happy to help you if there is a letter from the presidential administration that you need help." Therefore, we go back ourselves.We ask the participants to blog on the Prize website and recommend them to leave the requisites by which they can receive targeted support."

Once again about the theater

“I served in the army in Moscow, in a special purpose battalion. When I became a sergeant, a company’s Komsomol organizer, I was told that it was possible to arrange cultural outings. It turned out that all Moscow theaters were happy to let the soldiers into the vacant seats. We visited all theaters except the Bolshoi. Therefore, I have something to compare the current state of the theater with. Then they really taught good things, did not compete in who would undress the most. Do you remember the scandal with the play Ruslan and Lyudmila at the Bolshoi Theater? Where in the second act, topless and nizless girls ran against the background. And there was no age limit on the poster. And the children were brought into the hall. People shouted "shame", more than half left the hall. What is it for? I then wrote an article "in hot pursuit", the Internet was boiling, but the special services quickly cleaned up all references in real time. Everything was cleared the next morning, but a week later, there were subtle reviews in the media. It's the same as with a cigarette. Smoke one - you won't like it, but smoke a couple of packs and you will be sucked in. Watch more vulgar performances - and you will start to like it, you will begin to understand."

About tasty and healthy food

“Once we organized a conference“The League of the Health of the Nation”in Gostiny Dvor, where we invited well-known figures of culture and art. We discussed how we can help fulfill the presidential decree to increase the life expectancy of people. Interesting figures were announced at this conference: according to the WHO conclusion, people's health depends on the level of medical care by 10%. 12% from ecology, 20% from heredity and more than 50% from people's lifestyle. And what does it depend on? From what models of behavior are replicated by the media. So how people will behave depends on cultural figures. I am a chef myself and I even had my own show about delicious and healthy food. You know, a dish can be tasty, but harmful, and some types of fish, if cooked incorrectly, will be tasty, but they will kill a person. It is the same with culture now - a lot of “dishes” are deliciously prepared, but dangerous and cause acute mental poisoning. Unfortunately, due to insufficient funding, now some useful things are made tasteless - the plot is good, but it's a shame to watch. Therefore, in our Prize, works are evaluated according to two criteria: deliciousness and usefulness."

About alcohol in art

“Look how many performances with and without alcohol there are in Moscow. All our modern films about the police - everywhere the police are fermenting. I gave a lecture on healthy lifestyles to police officers and explained to them that if they want to revive the Soviet attitude towards the police, “Uncle Stepa,” sobriety must become the norm for police officers. But now there are too many information sabotage. Watch the same "Night Watch". The main character drinks without drying out and the forces of light all drink. The head of the dark forces does not drink. Pseudo-philosophy - we win because we drink, because we are knee-deep in the sea. This is actually a lie. Russians have historically been the most sober nation; before the revolution, a glass of alcohol per year was the norm per capita. Now we drink a hundred times more. Previously, women did not drink - now they do. Now even children at school drink. When I was in school, smoking was excluded. The girls didn't smoke at all. Now the international alcoholic mafia is destroying Russia from the inside. Everyone understands that the war with Russia is madness, so they just decided to destroy us from the inside."

A source: Part 1, Part 2

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