comes from Kabardino-Balkaria, a region in the Russian Caucasus that is very poor and has a high level of youth unemployment. Balagov studied under Russian director Alexander Sokurov for three years, and made his debut feature with “Closeness
,” which was in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard in 2017, and won the Fipresci prize. “Beanpole
,” his second feature, plays in Un Certain Regard this year. Set in 1945 in Leningrad, which was devastated in World War II, the film centers on two young women, Iya and Masha, who are struggling to rebuild their lives.
What impact did Alexander Sokurov have on you as a filmmaker?
Other than giving me an understanding of the profession of the director, he helped me to achieve self-consciousness and taught me how to love literature. To me these two things are interconnected, because consciousness feeds on literature.
How do you describe your approach to directing?