OS: Continuing the question of women. Yegor, when he dresses as a woman, there is a scene in the forest where he immediately becomes a victim of violence. In the context of the ‘Me Too’ movement, what is happening in Russia?
NM: Everybody’s trying to make a joke about it. Most people want to turn it into a joke. You know, it's amazing, I've been in several of these masculine societies... in the company of top managers, for whom this is a joke at the boardroom table, and as a woman you still have to shake off these jokes, not least so they don’t perceive you in a different light. It's very strange you have to spell it out to people, to adult men, who, in general, all have good educations, who have wives and daughters, girls in their families.
AC: Russia is a patriarchal country but in my opinion, today the main conflict (in the world as a whole) is the conflict between the outgoing male world and the incoming female one; the incoming world of female power; and the male world, in my opinion, has outlived its usefulness and led humanity to a dead end; the time has come to find a new way and a new path. NM: I also wanted to say – remember, Lyosha? - remember your observation on the set, when we were filming with [lead actor] Evgeny Tsyganov: we put him in a dress, and Lyosha says, well, you’ve put on a dress and immediately faced, at the exact same second, the circumstances in which a woman lives; that a man can come to you, impose his will, can catch you in the forest and twist your arms and do anything with you. You seem to immediately feel in the circumstances in which a woman exists: don't go out in the dark, don't wear short red dresses, don't tell men no, and so on, it seems that you simply put on a dress, but in fact you put on a social dress, and received all the stories with which a woman lives constantly.
AC: And it is interesting that Evgeny, who is one of the main alpha males of Russian cinema, got into this skin here and had such a completely unforgettable experience that his view of women was changed in many aspects.
OS: The Man Who Surprised Everyone is a multi-layered film. As you said, there have already been about nine different interpretations of this film from the audience. As the directors and creators of this film, what do you want the viewer to take out of this film in two sentences?
NM: For me this is primarily a movie about love.
AC: I would like the viewer to become more tolerant, and to have an even deeper understanding of how complex the world is.
Translated by Felix White-Thomson from Russian to English.