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 Boris Khlebnikov

Born:   28 August 1972

Film Director


The young film director Boris Khlebnikov already honoured with numerous cinema awards has produced only two full-length feature films: Koktebel (2003) and Svobodnoe plavanie (Free Floating) (2006). He states, however, he has made only one and a half films, because the first one, Koktebel was created jointly with his friend Aleksei Popogrebsky.

“Neither Koktebel nor Free Floating is a great work of art boasting vivid and unique language. I am happy with my films, but they are not outstanding. There is probably some theme but I do not presume to settle it in definite terms”, Klebnikov says.

Boris Khlebnikov is a certificated cinema critic, who had set about directing films rather of mere curiosity. One of the initiators of the Russian project Kinoteatr.doc, highlighting new genius film directors he has turned out to be one of the geniuses.

Boris Khlebnikov “I have not any super goal. I am not going to reclaim anyone. When Tolstoy was writing Sevastopol Stories he was a merry officer who enjoyed carousing and wrote brilliantly. By the end of his life he felt himself a messiah and became an awful bearded guy who walked barefoot and wrote only the Bible for Children and the story Bul’ka. He wanted to educate and teach, but became just a stupid spiteful old man. Feeling oneself a messiah is a true death. A serial maniac set upon killing all blondes with breasts of DD size and a man who is eager to reclaim everybody are generally the same thing”, the film director asserts.

Boris Khlebnikov was born on August 28, 1972 in Moscow. For two years he studied at a biological faculty, and then worked as a laboratory assistant at a rat vivarium, sold garments at Luzhniki market, and digged trenches for house foundations. Later he entered the cinema criticism faculty of VGIK (All-Russian State Institute of Cinema) in Moscow. During the studies he directed the 2-minute long film Mimokhod (By the Way) jointly with Aleksei Popogrebsky. Afterwards Khlebnikov made another short-length film under the title Khitraya Lyagushka (A Sly Frog).

Koktebel Boris Khlebnikov debuted in full-length cinema with Koktebel (2003), a joint work with Aleksei Popogrebsky. The Son (Gleb Puskepalis) and The Father (Igor Csernyevics) are striving to reach the sea. Now they go in a freight car, now in a long-range driver’s cab, sometimes walk from house to house, through fields and woods. They have nothing left in Moscow. Far away, by the sea, there is a hope for a new happier life. For the Father this journey is a chance to revive his self-confidence, and his son’s trust and friendship. The Boy’s dream is the seaside town of Koktebel, where albatrosses are soaring in the never falling wind. When in the midway the father finds a place he wants to call a new house, the Boy has to choose between his father’s happiness and his own dream.

Svobodnoe plavanie (Free Floating) (2006) is a vivid penetrating picture of life, morals and manners of a small provincial town. The sullen boy Lyonya (Aleksandr Yatsenko) gets a job at the only local factory. Free FloatingBut he does not see his first wages. The factory is closed and he has to look for another job. He tries selling shoes in the market, getting employed as a plasterer, and even repairing roads. The boy’s quest is attended by an infant affair with a former schoolmate nicknamed Khrusha (Piggy) (Darya Yakamasova). In the end the fellow finds his calling. According to the film-director, life in a provincial town can seem frightful only when seen out of a window. The perception starts changing once you go out and face people.

In 2006 Khlebnikov directed also the documentary film Uyekhal (He has gone) jointly with Valeriya Gai Germanika. As the director says his next feature film will be about adventures of a migrant worker in Moscow.

“I was always a non-achiever at school; I was expelled from two schools. I got it into my mind that I did not know a thing about the Russian language. Or the poems – I would not learn poems whatever they might do! Let them do what they want! And I will do whatever I want”, - the up-and-coming film director claims.




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