Kirill Serebrennikov returns to Cannes in person with Tchaikovsky’s Wife


Finally free after years of house arrest. Kirill Serebrennikov was unable to attend the Cannes screening of his delirious Petrov's Flu in Competition last year, nor that of Leto but he will be certainly be there to present Zhena Chaikovskogo (Tchaikovsky’s Wife), the portrayal of a significant episode in the life of the great Russian composer.

It was a marriage between a student and her teacher. Her name is Antonina Milioukova, daughter of Russian nobility, brilliant and in love. He is already recognised as one of the greatest, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. But as soon as the deal was done, the union turned into a wreck. The composer sank into a depression while his wife clung on, ready to endure anything.

Although the marriage lasted only three months, it remained a sensitive episode in Tchaikovsky's life. A few days after the union, the composer wrote a letter to his brother, expressing his disgust at the situation. In it, he spoke of the repulsion he felt for his wife, even though he had been told that his love would only be fraternal, since he had married her to hide his homosexuality.

This episode from the life of the great composer inspired Kirill Serebrennikov to create a character plagued by pain and anger. Nevertheless, it was not easy to handle the composer's intimacy. In an interview with the newspaper Le Monde (16 April 2022), Serebrennikov recounts the hostility of the Russian Minister of Culture, Vladimir Medinsky: 'He told us: "Tchaikovsky was not homosexual. We don't allow you to show anything related to homosexuality. We were sitting opposite each other. ''Are you kidding?'' I asked. Medinsky replied: ''We need a film about heterosexual Tchaikovsky.'' I slammed the door.'

That was in 2012, the script was mothballed, before finally being staged in 2020 and presented tonight at the Grand Théâtre Lumière.