Laskovoe Bezrazlichie Mira as seen by Adilkhan Yerzhanov

Film still of Laskovoe Bezrazlichie Mira (The Gentle Indifference of the World) © RR

At 35 years of age, Adilkhan Yerzhanov is already known at European and Asian film festivals. Cannes welcomed him for the first time in 2014 with The Owners, in Special Screenings, before presenting Laskovoe Bezrazlichie Mira (The Gentle Indifference of the World) this year in Un Certain Regard.

What inspired you to begin work on this film?

Love. And lack of money. When these two things come together, the poetry begins. The conflict between the material world and the spiritual world takes place. There comes an awareness of how much a person is doomed in a modern pragmatic society.

Please describe your working method and atmosphere on set. Anecdotes welcome.

The cornerstone is the concept itself.  From it, we create the whole structure of the film, both the image and the light. The concept of the gentle indifference of the world. We try to shoot each frame so that it expresses the necessary sense of the narration without reference to the lines or the plot. The image narrates, the plot is silent.

Please share a few words about your actors.

Dinara Baktybayeva is a famous actress in Kazakhstan, but she is quite simple on the set. And she always delivered the emotions I needed on the first take. That’s why she was called “Dinara-take-one”. She always had doubts about this, but why reshoot if everything is ok? Dinara never had problems with the role – it’s her image.

Kuandyk is a very temperamental actor. He is aggressive and soft, and this is good. Kuandyk conceals danger behind his good-natured appearance. I like the pain he has inside – it’s impossible to play. He doesn’t tear the passion to pieces, and that’s what I need. He’s a simple guy who is not that simple inside.

The actors helped me in the preparation of the film by throwing out most of my lines, which were really awful.

What did you learn during the course of making this film?

I learned to ask actors to hide their thoughts and feelings. The feelings should appear at first, and then they need to be hidden. The first is always simple, but the second is more complicated. And I loved the light without electricity. The sun’s light through the reflections is a perfect light. I learned a lot, but it takes time to understand everything.

What sources of artistic inspiration have you drawn from in your work?

Henri Rousseau, Albert Camus, Pierrot Le Fou and Peter Weir.

What are your views on the state of the film industry in your country?

The gentle indifference to art films.

Can you tell us about your next project?

My next project is about a little migrant girl, who wants to go to school. However, she has no citizenship, which she can get only if she passes the exams.  In order to prepare for the exams, she has to find a cheap tutor, and someone recommends a jobless middle-aged scriptwriter to her. This is a story about the power of knowledge, and man’s obsession with light and art in spite of reality.