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Text and Photo: Maksim Masaltsev

Ksenya Rappaport has caused a storm in recent years with her varied roles, and multiple festival prizes. She was invited to be on the Jury of the Venice Festival and has just completed a film starring alongside Monica Belucci. She won the Best Actress Award at this year’s Kinotavr for her role in Kirill Serebrennikov’s latest film ‘Yurev’s Day’ just after which, DEI was one of the first to congratulate her…

DE I: Have you ever been compared to the ‘girl with the peach’?

Ksenya:   Do you mean from the Serov painting? No, I can’t see any similarity.

DE I: Is it easy to deceive you?

Ksenya:   Deceive? Go on, try!

DE I: You’ve never been deceived or lied to?

Ksenya:   I have.

DE I: Each time that happens, do we get stronger, or with every lie do we lose something?

Ksenya:   Loss strengthens us more than anything else.

DE I: What do you fear losing interest in most?

Ksenya:   In a conversation that is impossible to finish.

DE I: Have you ever met anyone who seemed incapable of lying?

Ksenya:   My grandmother and grandfather.

DE I: Do you think it’s easy to live with someone like that?

Ksenya:   It was wonderful to live with them. It’s a shame that I didn’t realize at the time how unique they were. Their attitude to each other, to the people around them, to everything was so full of love and integrity!

DE I: How did you gather the sense of loss in yourself that your roles demand? Do you use observations based on real events and people?

Ksenya:   We all carry around the fear of losing someone close to us, especially the loss of our children. We’re afraid to even think how we might feel were that to happen to us. Everything that is in me, all my experience, including my observations on life, I put to use.

DE I: Tell us your version of how you got the role in ‘Yurev’s Day’?

Ksenya:   Kirill Serebrennikov was looking for a young actor who, as he described it, would be able to ‘dissolve into thin air’. That description really grabbed me and I started asking him what for, and he said he was looking for an actor to play the son of the heroine in his new film, so I asked him to audition me and he started waiving his arms around, saying no, no, no, that she has to be at least 45, she has a grown up son. But he agreed to a make-up test and together with make-up artist Galya Ustimenko we managed to age me enough so that when Kirill Semenovich came on set, he didn’t recognize me at first. That’s how I convinced him!

DE I: If we set aside the specific requirements of your work, which ‘vitamins’ are essential for your activities?

Ksenya:   Love. Everything is based on love.

DE I: Are you good as disciplining yourself? At controlling yourself?

Ksenya:   Without some kind of self-discipline and self-control my line of work would be impossible.

DE I: Did anyone help you understand yourself, get a real sense of who you are?

Ksenya:   That is something only you can teach yourself. It all depends on to what extent you have formed the right questions – then it will be easy to find a ‘teacher’. But even the best teacher is helpless if the pupil isn’t ready. If you’ve been carrying around the questions you have for some time, then the answers come of their own accord, unexpectedly and out of the blue, through ‘chance’ meetings. The most important thing is not to close your eyes and put your fingers in your ears…

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