"OUR CENTURY" 6-12 September 2000

Mehdiyev Huseyn Mahmud оglu was born on March 19th, 1945. In

1972 he began a course in cinematography at the workshop of Leonid Kosmatov. After graduation he acted as a cinema operator for the films "Dissonance", "Cannot take only island" and these pictures won awards at several cinema festivals. In the 1980s he took on the role of producing. Consequent films were generally
regarded as significant works in the world of cinema provoking much controversy and winning the admiration of both audiences and other producers alike.

The last picture of Huseyn Mehdiyev called "Strange Time" caught the attention of western critics with its flexible beuty and original form. It won many ptizes at international cinema festivals including best production at the Madrid Festival. The pictures of Guseyn Mehtiyev (especially the most recent) are a reflection of our folklore that has not been expressed to date.

- In the famous picture of Michaelangelo A. "Red Desert" the main hero and also producer is asked "why did you start producing films?"

Each work of art develops because the creator wants to share his emotions with other people. If someone understands the work then I have found a person who feels and thinks the same as I do. Art must be in harmony with the inner world of the both the author and audience in order to give them the oppotunity to understand the world and themselves.

- As we know, you write scenarios youself. Before beginning such work you must gather your thoughts somewhat akin to a writer before a blank sheet of paper. Nevertheless, in your mind there is a fundation of what you want exactly.

As a rule, the scenario what the producer envisages acts as a framework and the fundation of picture to come. It is often the case that it is difficult to foresee which form it will finally develop into. I mean, in principle I plan and know what I will produce but in the very process everything is reviewed in a different light. If it were a simple transition from script to screen it wouldn`t be interesting to any normal artistic person. Scenario gives will for imagination and a search for new ways to express ideas and thoughts, first on the studio floor and then during the editing.

- Guseyn muallim, you started you career as a cameraman. What did this experience teach you?

I started my career as a photographer and then for a long time I worked as a photo-journalist.

- Nowadays, people often use the term "audiovisual culture", which is not used here, despite the fact that many people consider it the culture of the future which is important for the creation of works of art.

It has huge potential, the foundation of which is visual imagination. It must not only be capacious and vivid but also encapsulate meaning and figurativeness. This is not restricted to imagination itself but also other factors such as actors, flexibility and form of cinematography. The experience of cameraman gave me the opportunity to keep searching in this direction. Actually I consider the position of producer as a godly one only for gifted people. I have reached it step by step.

- You are one of the representatives of the authors of cinema. How do you interpet this meaning? Maybe you are like many supporters of this movement who think that the cinema will survive and compete creating original stories.

In the world cinema practice there are many authors of pictures based on feature work. Here the matter is not in literature but in cinematography. In the world of cinema there are many categories. For example, films for mass audiences, ideological pictures etc. But there are also films, as works of art in many cases, made by the author where, thanks to the development of cinematograpy and the form, a certian world is created - that is the producer`s world.

- The actors in your pictures act exclusively. I would like to know how you work with the actors. Do you change your methods depending on the actors` individuality?

Certainly. Each actors distinct personality, secret or mystery, should be opened and it requires a special approach. I think that actually there are no standard concrete methods that can be applied to everyone. Everything depends on the actors personality.

- I`ve noticed in your pictures you have a special interest toward classical kinds of art. For instance in "The Strange Time", the heroine is a cellist and performs the works of Bach and her father is a painter. I`m aware you can draw well…

For me interpretation of art that is modern or classical are much the same thing. The fact that we study and are inspired by the classics is already a generaly accepted event and the music of Bach that features in the film is connected with my personal memories. In my childhood I had one record of Bach I`ve listened to often. The works of this composer are so emotionally rich and versatile: everything is in there, happiness, sadness - and they are like life itself.

- Does is matter for you what heroes speak about?

Certainly it does. I think everything must be real in a film, like in life itself - very real, and if the dialogue in a picture goes beyond the bounds of reality, or explains what is happening on the screens, it sickens me.

- Often original works of art, including many famous author films, do not have great success in the mass audience market. When working on a new film do you think about how the audience will accept the picture, or is it not important for you?

When creating a film I don`t think the attitude of the audience is important for me. The most essential factor for me is to create the world I see and feel myself, but it does not mean I`m indifferent to how the audience will accept my picture. I think that if it is, as you say, an original work of art, the picture will certainly have its admirers. In general, it seldom happens that original works of art have great success in the mass audience.

- It is known that the scenario for you future picture has been approved under the working name of "Melody of Space". As a rule, producers do not like to talk about their future picture until it appears on the screen. Nevertheless, what is this picture about?

The main hero of my picture is an elderly composer who, in the final moments of his life, accidentally finds out that he had made a mistake which changed his further destiny.

- Each time your pictures are mentioned all the critics note the pictures of Huseyn Mehdiyev are a reflection of our folklore…

The important thing in love, policy, ideology and generally in any case is not fanatical but a meaningful belief. For example, in the picture of "Strange Time" the best things in life are traditional values, sacrifice and selfdenial can in the absence of inner freedom, cause a break up and death of the soul. I have already told you something about the future picture, and in it the main hero, by the end of life, finds out that he has made a mistake staying within the bounds of the social morality. A human always has to find harmony between responsibility, consciousness and natural satisfactions.

- You`re a deputy director of the production company of "Azerkinovideo". It is not a secret that our cinema is not experiencing its best times. Probably some work is being carried out to avoid such a difficult stage?

When we say that Azeri cinema is experiencing a crisis we mean its economical state. I wouldn`t say that within the last 10 years Azri cinema looked weak. On the country, it appears to be strong on the international arena.

A few years ago the law on cinema, which we had worked on since 1993, was approved by the Milli Mejlis (National Assembly). According to this law the state is responsible for maintaining the national cinema industry. It also stipulates that the Gosfilmofond and the Goszakaz will be maintained. Accordingly funds have been allocated for production of feature and documentary pictures for both children and youth. This is all minimal guarantees of the state. However, as we have a market economy in the republic, the normal economic state of the cinema industry depends on the general economic state of the country. Now it is necessary to keep moving forward, preserve the values and create new ones if it is possible.