In Quarantine, Timur Bekmambetov Is Busy Making Movies

In Lockdown in Kazan, the filmmaker behind Searching and Unfriended is convinced screen-centric storytelling can save his industry.
Photo: Timur Bekmambetov

I’m in the middle of Kazan. It’s like a 1.5 million population, and it’s under quarantine. The streets are quite empty, but people still don’t really believe that it’s dangerous. Russian regions have introduced lockdown measures, and you can leave your home to shop for basic necessities at the groceries and the pharmacy, to walk your dog, to throw trash, when you seek any medical need, to provide care or to travel to and from work if your job is on the list where you must show up at your office. Citizens are following the guidelines of the self-isolation pretty well, but I don’t think the problem is the virus. I think the problem is the consequences. The economy will be much more damaging than the medical part of it. I think we’ll never live in the same world again. Because it’s not just one month’s problem. It will continue, and it will change our behavior.

I think the big issue we will face soon is a moral trust between people, because we know how to live offline. We have thousands of years of traditions of moral and social structure. It was all in place, and it was based on mythologies and religions and history lessons. But it doesn’t exist in the virtual world. If I can find somebody’s movie online and nobody will catch me, I will watch it. Which means you can steal. You can hurt people. The internet was okay when it was only half of our life, but today it’s 90 percent of our life. We will really need to organize a new moral landscape. How to do it is a big question, but one way is exactly what happened thousands of years ago when civilization created stories. Our ancestors decided to tell stories, and by telling emotional stories about good and evil, the meaning of love, the meaning of hate, we can create trust.

— to www.vulture.com

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