Russian father of Star Wars



    Every day , classes are held at the robotic school in which students collect robots and listen to lectures about them. And the other day, the question arose which of the Russian science fiction writers had the greatest influence on the NF. It turned out that nobody knows the name of Pavel Klushantsev . But in the west it’s the main Russian science fiction, they didn’t hear about the Strugat ones, but in imitation of Klushantsev, Lucas removed his wonderful Star Wars. Let's fix it.



    If you need to watch just one movie to get acquainted with the twentieth century, star wars are unrivaled. There is no film that had more impact on pop culture, a confirmation of which Reagan called the USSR the Evil Empire and declared it the “Star Wars” SDI. Why exactly did Star Wars gain such popularity?

    The secret of Star Wars success lies on the surface if you are even a little familiar with the theory of cinema or the so-called. "Electronic communications". The whole theory fits into the four words “Media is the message”. Media is the message - first brought out in his book, Marshall McCluen in his book "Understanding the Media." It was released in 1968 in a small edition, but leaked on Wednesday to the hippies and filmmakers of Hollywood. The book was quite abstruse, sometimes unproven and similar to the hippie esotericism, but his schemes perfectly explained what was happening. For example, why a TV with a bad picture suddenly turned out to be much more popular than a movie.



    He argued that everything can be divided into hot and cold media (relative to each other). In the cinema, a large, rich and detailed picture, compared to it, the TV is like a matchbox. But when a picture is of poor quality, a lot of things have to be thought out by the viewer on their own - and engagement is born. That is, a person is more interested in chatting with whats up than watching a movie in a movie theater with a super image, because he can complete the picture from his imagination and he likes it.

    Lucas has steadily followed this rule when creating the Star Wars universe. At first glance, it is huge, everything is written in it. But upon closer examination, it turns out that you need to finish all these elements in your imagination. The drama of the film is often built on pauses in which the viewer is invited to think about what is happening in the film. Even exaggerated - in every scene, when the main character is offered to go to the dark side. From this, Star Wars is so addictive, the viewer himself is experiencing the drama of a skywalker hatch.

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    That is why the AT-AT design is such - because the viewer sees the familiar shape of the four-legged animal, which means that it easily and with pleasure thinks out how it moves.

    Secondly, McClluen proved that the form of media impresses the viewer more than its content. McCluen gives an example of a neon sign - this is an advertisement in itself, it glows and it is not so important what is written on it. The TV itself attracts attention with a flickering bright picture, regardless of the picture in it - that's why even small children like to watch it. The format is important, not the content - it's a little difficult to understand when watching TV, but obviously from the outside. The fact that you can access any information on your smartphone has changed you more than this information itself. That's why it’s so interesting to flip through a Facebook feed even if there is nothing interesting there - the format of the feed itself is interesting.


    Shot from the film The Doors (1991)

    And what is a movie format? This is nothing but a genre! After all, people want to watch a movie. This is not always a specific film, more often a genre - a comedy or an action movie. Now imagine that there is no genre yet, and the director invents it? Such a film is doomed to success, because it will be something really new.

    The seventies were the golden age of cinema, and time for the discovery of new genres. In 1979, Mitta's “Crew” was the first catastrophe film in the USSR and became a hit, 70 million viewers watched it in a year, many went two or three times. In the same year, “Pirates of the Twentieth Century” by Boris Durov became the first fighter on Soviet screens and naturally became a megahit, turning into the highest grossing Soviet film in history, collecting 90 million.


    Italian movie poster Crew (1979)

    Both films won due to form, the content in both films does not hold water and is always inferior to the requirements of the genre. These requirements are the genre itself, by the way there are very few of them.

    For example, if you decide to make a romantic comedy, you need to fulfill only five conditions:
    1. Heroes must meet unexpectedly.
    2. Find something in common in the past.
    3. To contemplate beauty together.
    4. The key kiss.
    5. And a little formality - a woman must wear big earrings, and a man show his worth.

    Do not ask why earrings, but this is how the subconscious mind of a person is arranged. These rules were derived purely empirically, but this does not mean that the formula for an ideal story cannot be deduced.

    In the 1920s, the Russian linguist Vladimir Propp wondered - what if we analyze the plot of all the magical tales of the world? Surely, 6-7 typical stories underlying them can be distinguished. But it turned out that the story is one. In all the tales of the world.



    In 1928, his book Morphology of a Tale»Laid the foundation for such a discipline as the structural analysis of literary texts. Like McLuhan, the idea of ​​the book is simple - all the tales reflect the rite of initiation. When a person symbolically dies and is born renewed. From a child to become an adult, to get married or experiencing a midlife crisis, even when watching an impressive film - he also goes through the initiation. At the same time, all fairy tales have a number of obligatory events (like the five conditions of a romantic comedy), and more importantly, events go in strict sequence - if you break it, the listener's attention is lost, the magic disappears.

    Propp's theories were perfected and brought to shine by his American colleague Joseph Campbell . The book “A Hero with a Thousand Faces ” published in 1949"Suggested a clearly described universal" monomith ", its scheme is a ready-made script. Not surprisingly, the book becomes a cult among Hollywood filmmakers and often flashes in films.


    Shot from the film Mud (2013)

    Monomith is a super genre that includes all genres. In it are comedy and drama and love and horrors. It is he who underlies all Hollywood hits. But it was Star Wars that made it the standard. George Lucas has repeatedly stated in the late 1970s that they were based on the ideas of the Millennium Hero. This approach allowed him to add to science fiction an ideal and complete storyline, which was new to this genre.



    Monomith allowed Lucas not only to remove a fairy tale, but to do something more - to combine two opposite genres and create a new one. It is in the new genre that lies the secret of the unfading popularity of the Jedi saga. This is a universal story, deeply close to each person because it reflects the very format of our perception of history.

    Star Wars is a fantasy using nf scenery. The combination has led to incredible simplification, but also incredibly expanded the audience. Lucas acted as a pioneer in a monopoly, the need for such films was so high that everyone forgave him. Naturally, it was a supernova explosion - for the year of rental, the film raised $ 200 million.

    The film was released almost forty years ago, but still captures the attention with its amazing integrity and brightness of images. How did the young and inexperienced George Lucas manage to shoot the top ten with his film on the first try? As in any business, in the cinema you can see further only by standing on the shoulders of giants. To be precise, we can cite the names of these colossi - Joseph Campbell (Vladimir Propp) and Pavel Klushantsev.



    In 1988, Star Wars was finally brought to Moscow. "Episode V. The Empire Strikes Back" was first shown in the cinema "Horizon" and "Zaryadye" as part of the "Days of US Cinema in the USSR", who arrived at the premiere of Lucas asks Soviet officials to arrange a meeting with the patriarch of Soviet cinema, "Comrade Klushantsev." However, it turned out that officials did not even know who they were. To the question of who Lucas answered: “Klushantsev is the godfather of Star Wars.”



    In 1918, an eight-year dispossessed nobleman Pavel Klushantsevended up in an orphanage, which was located in an old Petersburg mansion. The books of the rich library were thrown into the courtyard for burning as unnecessary, and among them Klushantsev found his first book on rockets, having been ill with a "star" disease for life. “If it were not for the love of cinema, I would definitely be with Korolev,” Klushantsev later said. But fate decreed otherwise.



    Pavel Klushantsev became a brilliant cameraman and director - his films “ The Road to the Stars ” (1957) and “ The Planet of Storms”"(1962) became classics of science fiction, coincided with the flight of Gagarin and became hits around the world due to incredible, amazing special effects decades ahead of Hollywood. His films collected full halls both in the USSR and in any corner of the world, they were repeatedly purchased for rental in the USA.




    Italian poster "Planet of the storm"



    In the states they really remounted them twice, inserted scenes, changed the names of the actors in the credits and ... added half-naked Amazons. The film was played in the evenings on CBS. George Lucas and Stanley Kubrick saw the “ Journey to the Planet of Prehistoric Women ” - everyone immediately wanted to make something similar, but both of them did not even suspect that it was a Soviet film, because all references to the producer were deleted.





    So the Soviet film became an American classic. Much later, the director of the second remake about women, Peter Bogdanovich, said in an interview: “Unfortunately, from many Klushantsev’s films in the USA, only remounted passages were shown, included in mediocre American science fiction films of many directors, including the early Francis Ford Coppola.”


    In France, the film came out even in the form of comics.

    Kubrick applied the Klushantsevsky “effect of weightlessness”, and later in an interview he said that without the “Road to the Stars” there would not have been his “Space Odyssey”, and that Klushantsev in his work “prompted” Kubrick many technical discoveries of the “Odyssey”. In April 1990, the famous director of special effects Robert Skotak spotted Pavel Klushantsev in St. Petersburg. Wanting to preserve at least a grain of his knowledge, Klushantsev donated descriptions, photographs and drawings of dozens of movie stunts to Skotak by mail - about a hundred of his original inventions. Skotak used his experience in the filming of Terminator 2 (1991) for which he received an Oscar. In 1992, Skotak personally came to Klushantsev for several days. Five years later, his Titanic (1997) also receives an Oscar for special effects.


    The strongest and most expressive scene of the film with molten metal was made by Skotak, and was taken entirely from Planet of the Storms.


    Klushantsev made the first lava in the history of cinema from tinted dough from the nearest bakery.

    Pavel Klushantsev invented hundreds of special effects that made the audience hold their breath. He began by experimenting with shooting layouts, mounted them in full size, accelerated and slowed down the movement, and resized the image. In the thirties, the creation of special effects in the cinema was completely undeveloped, and soon Klushantsev's “stunt cabinet” was overwhelmed with work, and his employees had to work in three shifts. “I always did just that and only the way I thought up,” said Klushantsev. “No one could reproduce it.” Perhaps only his irreplaceability saved his life during the years of repression - they tried to fire and put him on hold constantly. Still, a real fist and nobleman on Lenfilm! In an interview, he recalled: “They wanted to throw me out of the movie studio and put me in prison dozens of times. But I was saved because I knew how to do things,


    In the film "Mars" with astronauts, a brave dog landed on the planet, in whose honor Chubak got his name - this is a transcription of the Russian word "dog".

    “The film“ The Road to the Stars ”was extremely time-consuming, as it was built almost entirely on combined shooting, requiring very complex scenery, the manufacture of a large number of special technical devices, the introduction of new filming methods. It was necessary to build dozens of carefully executed models of space technology, which had never been before. To design all this, we brought in the work of the best senior students of the Institute of Aviation Instrumentation, mock-ups of the USSR art fund, engineers from various research institutes and factories, experienced pyrotechnics, scientists from the Pulkovo Observatory. It was a grueling, titanic work that exhausted the film crew and annoyed the authorities, because instead of 15 - 20 useful meters per shooting day,


    In addition, Klushantsev invented a flying car. In the Planet of storms, it looks very realistic, though it was worth its production as 40 Volga.


    Lucas decided not to change anything.

    But you guessed it, the main achievement of Klushantsev was in the opening of a new genre. "The Road to the Stars" is a documentary science fiction - everything is done realistically to the extent of complete credibility. The most striking example is a realistic starry sky, the role of which was played by a seven-meter shield with lamps of seven degrees of brightness, arranged in full accordance with a real map of the starry sky.

    It was Klushantsev’s invented “critical realism” of associations with Campbell’s scheme that allowed Lucas to insert fantasy mono-myth into the world of science fiction - it turned out realistically, and the viewer immediately believed the screen.


    If you look closely at the Han Solo blaster, you can see another artifact from Soviet cinema, namely the K-96 Mauser, which was incredibly popular in the pre-war USSR.


    Your word, comrade Mauser.

    But before the film was released, few believed in its success, simply because it was impossible to understand the script for the uninitiated - it seemed like a heap of unconnected elements. And only Lucas saw the scheme, filling its stages with various episodes from his favorite films. It is worth noting these sources of inspiration. Lucas was inspired to write the script by the adventure film of Kurosawa entitled “Three Wretches in a Hidden Fortress” (1958). The famous term “Jedi” came from Japanese - it is a rephrasing of “Jidai-geki” - the name of historical stories about samurai. Luke Skywalker, the protagonist of Star Wars, is a direct “descendant” of Flash Gordon, the most popular comic book hero who first saw the light in the distant 34th. Flash was a brave young man who, thanks to an incredible combination of circumstances, falls on other planets and experiences amazing adventures, fighting evil.



    The plan included a host of components - including historical events of reality, such as the confrontation of Napoleon and the Senate and the transformation of the reformer into a tyrant, numerous myths and legends - the design became so cumbersome that no one except the author himself could figure it out.

    As a result, the premiere was carefully held only in 30 cinemas, but within a month everyone wanted to see the film. Studio XX century Fox was saved from bankruptcy, and Lucas received seven Oscars and a hundred other awards. But Klushantsev’s fate was completely different. Soviet film criticism smashed to smithereens the Planet of the storms despite the huge success and international recognition. The Soviet authorities of the 60s had an ambiguous relationship with science fiction. While we were the first in space, we did not spare money. But in 1969, the Americans landed on the moon, and all all the science fiction films in the USSR are put on the shelf.


    Darth Vader is Dar Veter from the 1967 Andromeda Nebula movie. Moreover, in the Soviet film, the Wind is also kind of like a Jedi, falling under the hypnosis of dark forces.

    The Andromeda nebula was planned in a trilogy, but only the first part came out, and then in a greatly truncated version compared to the novel, they deleted all ideological moments, a description of the society of the future and, in fact, all “fiction”. But this film was sold to the Americans and put on a shelf away from sin.


    And this is the grandfather of R2D2 from the same Andromeda.

    From the point of view of Soviet censorship, science fiction is a bad genre. Communist realists - make a fairy tale come true. And here is the communism already built in the Andromeda Nebula. The viewer comes out inspired from the movie, and on the poster instead of “the program for building communism” reads: “science fiction novel”. What is it like?


    As Soviet criticism of Star Wars in 1977 took.

    Why such hatred? Fiction is the most truthful genre. It is always acutely social, topical, but due to the transfer of the event to the future it is not entirely censored. This was the case at all times - the Inhabited Strugatsky Island is an extremely malicious snout caricature of the socialist system, but Gulliver's Journey is the worst caricature of the states of his time. And nothing can be done - their censorship will only demount everything that the government wants to hide. What can be censored in star wars or the road to the stars? Nothing, it's fantasy. But this is a fantasy in which the whole twentieth century was reflected - with its space race, the Cold War, Nazism and communism, pop culture and progress. Reflected in Star Wars and the contribution of Pavel Klushantsev to world cinema, if his films had not turned out and star wars, let's say thanks to him.



    And now, attention, the question is whether it is necessary to conduct a class in Klushantsev at a robotic school and show his films to students? Yet robots and cinema are inextricably linked. Try to imagine a robot and in half the cases you will come across a Terminator, C3PO or other movie character. And our Leningrad director came up with them, IMHO it is important to know.

    Only registered users can participate in the survey. Please come in.

    Do I need to show Klushantsev’s films at the Robostation?

    • 81.2% Yes, this is an important milestone in science fiction 705
    • 7.6% Can be shown as a joke 66
    • 4.3% Better let them watch star wars, they are more perfect 38
    • 5.4% All this is an exaggeration, no Klushantsev is a great science fiction 47
    • 12% No, robots need to collect robots, not watch movies 105
    • 13.5% Copyright doesn't allow you to do this anyway 118

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