Vladimir Basenkov's novel about the Old Believers is adapted for the screen

Mon, 07/17/2023 - 22:44

In 2018, Vladimir Basenkov's first book "The Treasure of the Old Believers" was published. The novel was a surprise: the heroes of the dynamic action movie, developing on the book pages, were Old Believers. Rescuers and defenders of ancient relics, remaining faithful to the precepts of their ancestors, entered into an unequal battle with international criminals who stole a  book of the times of Yaroslav the Wise from the taiga skete. The actions of the novel unfold in a provincial Volga town, in the Siberian forests and Latin America. The book has been translated into English. And recently the work on the adaptation of "The Treasure of the Old Believers" to the screen has been finished. We asked the author of the book, Vladimir Basenkov, to comment on the news.

- What inspired you to create this story?

- Honestly? I found myself at a medium-sized cinema in good company and thought, why is it that the West actively uses a variety of plots to create attractive films for mass audiences (I do not touch on the question of their content at all), while we are not so successful in this so far? After I thought, why not take characters dear to my heart and try to show them to the viewer in a dynamic story understandable to them, but at the same time, with "our" content? So the idea to write a book about brutal Old Believers from a secret organization, engaged in the salvation of shrines around the world was born. Actually, it was both an experiment and a writer's debut. Well, and a year and a half later on "Lipki" I was given a real compliment during the debacle in our writer's group: you have a real novel! It's true that I only recently got my hands on it.

- Why do you think the book has been a success with Western audience?

- I think it's their cinematic culture that makes it clearer to them. Although, let's be honest, Hollywood has spread its clichés all over the planet... I'm not going to say whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. But I will leave the question unanswered: why not try to treat this "monster" of the movie industry with our product in order to draw attention to the very topic of the Old Belief at the expense of its resources? The Old Rite, by the way, has its popularity among English-speaking Christians. They are also not numerous, as in Russia, but from the experience of communication it is quite an active and confident group of people. What is important, being across the ocean, they nurture a huge culture toward the Russian faith, Russian culture, and everything connected with Russia.
Well, plus the plot is unusual. Or rather, the characters who find themselves in this plot. And what is creative and fresh will always resonate with an audience ready to flexibly accept something new.

- Are there any arrangements already in place for a film adaptation?

- That's what we're doing. And, hopefully, with God's help we will succeed.

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