GENERICO.ruCultureMosfilm is 100 years old: how the film studio is structured and what you can see there

Mosfilm is 100 years old: how the film studio is structured and what you can see there

MOSCOW, January 30, Anastasia Silkina. One of the largest and most equipped film studios in Europe, Mosfilm, today celebrates its centenary. Where are people's favorite films made and why 70 percent of filming is carried out in pavilions – in the material.

Flight of fantasy

Mosfilm’s birthday is considered to be the release of Boris Mikhin’s film “On Wings High.” Then, in 1924, the film studio was just a pavilion on Zhitnaya Street.

Three years later, the formation of the complex on Vorobyovy Gory began. The main building was built in the shape of an airplane: the fuselage and tail section are filming pavilions, in the “cockpit” there is the director’s office, which has been occupied by film director Karen Shakhnazarov since 1998.

Today, on an area of ​​30 hectares, there are 17 indoor pavilions, two open-air film sets, a tone studio where films are recorded and edited, a costume and props house, a car park, Mosfilmofond, a cinema and concert complex, administrative buildings, and a park area. They even have their own toponyms that cannot be found on citywide maps: Leonid Gaidai Square, Sergei Bondarchuk Square, Isaac Dunaevsky Square, Alley of Great Masters.

A film studio sometimes becomes a film set itself. Thus, the production building can be seen in “Prisoner of the Caucasus” in the scene when the Wedding Palace is opened.

Petersburg and Paris in the center of Moscow

About 70% of film material is shot on sets, only 30% on location. The pavilions are soundproofed, gray or black to avoid glare. Polystyrene foam on the walls dampens vibrations from the outside, and metal grilles on the ceiling diffuse sound to prevent echoes.

The new Mosfilm pavilion is the largest in Europe. The area is 2.5 thousand square meters and the ceiling is 16 meters. You can build an entire city here.

Usually the scenery is prepared for a specific project and then dismantled. But there are exceptions.

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“Church” was made more than ten years ago – feature films can be shot in real churches it is forbidden. The scenery was used in the series “Demons”, the comedy “The Monk and the Demon”, as well as the video “Confession” by the singer Shaman. Frescoes and icons are printed and pasted onto wood.

The open set “Old Town of the 19th Century” is more than 20 years old: it was built for the film “A Horseman Called Death”, and then dozens of films were filmed in it: “Anna Karenina”, “Doctor Zhivago”, “Dead Souls”, “State Councilor” , “Christmas trees 1914”, “Wings over Berlin” and others.

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On one street is St. Petersburg, on the other is Moscow. From the wealthy St. Petersburg area you find yourself on the outskirts: paving stones give way to cobblestone streets. Plywood facades on wooden frames – with stucco and foam statues. The first floor is full-scale, the second is reduced, the third is even smaller. It’s not noticeable on camera; construction materials were saved. Doors and windows open, but behind them there is emptiness: all the interiors are in pavilions.

“The image of cities is collective, these are not specific streets,” explains the Mosfilm guide. Natalya Anufrieva. — Buildings are often repainted, facades and signs are changed. It could turn out to be Paris, Berlin, London.”

So, for the new series “GDR” they filmed Russia and Germany in the late 1980s and early 1990s within a day of each other.

Half a million costumes and decor

There are no handles on the doors of the “Old Town” – they are selected for a specific project.

The Mosfilm costume and props house stores about half a million items: clothing, furniture, decor, retro vehicles and much more that may be needed in the frame. The guns and tanks are located at the military-technical base of the film concern in Alabino, Moscow Region.

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Props also move from film to film. For example, cats from “Operation Y,” on which Georgy Vitsin’s character trained, appear in the films “Marriage,” “You for me, I for you,” “Love and Doves.” The sculpture “Shulamitida” from “Running” was filmed in “Formula of Love”, “Perseus and Pegasus” from “The Diamond Arm” – in “Office Romance”. And costumes are often worn twice.

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Individual plastic makeup. The thinnest rubber mask is pasted on the actors like a second skin. And every day – a new one.

It’s not an easy job even in a post-production workshop. It takes a make-up artist two hours to create a very small mustache, several days to create a thick man’s beard, and several weeks to create a wig.

In short scenes where the animal flashes for a couple of seconds in the background, plaster figures and papier-mâché are used. Fruits and vegetables are often fake too. In the scene of the royal feast in “Ivan Vasilyevich Changes His Profession,” only “overseas” caviar is real. Red is imitation, black is dyed millet.

But sometimes it’s necessary naturalness. For example, greenery to capture summer scenes in late autumn or winter. For this purpose, Mosfilm has its own greenhouse. Bananas, grapes, tangerines, and lemons grow there. Employees are harvesting.

More than 2.5 thousand films

At the film studio they write scripts, make sets, film, process the footage, and make film copies for distribution. Props and costumes are rented.

In Soviet times, Mosfilm produced up to 55 of its own full-length films a year. Today, the film concern, while remaining a state enterprise, acts mainly as a production base, explained head of public relations Gayane Ambartsumyan.

"Capacity has increased. Now there can be up to 100 projects at different stages of production at the same time: something is being filmed, a set is being built somewhere, some material is already in the studio,” she clarified.

Over 100 years, about 1.8 thousand full-length films have been created here, not counting various versions, as well as more than 800 short films.

The studio’s “Golden Collection” can be watched for free in the online cinema, Much of it is with subtitles and audio commentary. “Mosfilm” is restoring it independently.
““When they restored Andrei Tarkovsky’s films, the cameraman who worked with him, Vadim Yusov, said that they wanted exactly this color. This is high praise for us,” noted Gayane Ambartsumyan.
You can learn more about the history of the studio and the secrets of film production on an excursion to the Mosfilm Museum.

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