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Video: Watching The Film "Dovlatov" With A Psychologist - Reviews, Society
- Russia, 2018
- Director: Alexey German Jr.
- Cast: Milan Marich, Danila Kozlovsky, Svetlana Khodchenkova and others.
Honestly, Sergey Dovlatov is one of my favorite writers, so I treated the film about him with special attention. The film is based on the works of the writer himself, the memoirs of his contemporaries and the imaginations of the creators. The action takes place in Leningrad, during the Brezhnev times of the tightening of the Soviet regime
The young writer dreams of recognition and publications, but for now he works part-time in a factory newspaper, philosophizes with friends, tries to deal with his personal life and drinks. He writes not about labor shock workers and heroes, but about “ordinary people” with everyday difficulties. His stories do not come to the "court" of the Soviet regime, he faces criticism and the threat of criminal prosecution. Remain yourself or adapt to the surrounding reality, betraying your principles?
It is this choice that I want to discuss. And let's immediately agree: we will not discuss the reliability of Dovlatov's image, facts, transmission of the realities of the 70s. Let's talk about the choice: stay yourself when faced with rejection and threat, or adjust to others by sacrificing yourself.
Outcast by society
Each of us has a need for acceptance, support, approval. We live in a society, in a group; our ancestors lived in a flock. At all times, one of the most terrible forms of punishment was exile - rejection by a group. In primitive times, it brought with it almost certain death, and the memory of this is still alive. Therefore, each person seeks acceptance and painfully experiences rejection.
In this case, there is not always a coincidence between a person and a group. This can be a small group (school class) and a large - society as a whole with its views and attitudes. This is how Galileo Galilei and Giordano Bruno did not coincide with their contemporaries. Disagreement with the group is always painful, a person may decide that he is wrong and that something is wrong with him. But most are not always right.
And the loner or those in the minority may be right, like the same Galileo Galilei and Giordano Bruno or the Germans who sheltered Jewish families during the Nazi regime.
The threat of change
If the individual does not coincide with the group, the group perceives this as a threat - a threat of change. And you never know what changes will lead to! Therefore, many innovators - scientists, artists, etc. - were rejected or even persecuted by society.
What does society do to a different individual? He begins to work towards becoming “like everyone else,” or expels or destroys. In isolated cases, an individual manages to change the society for himself, this requires remarkable strength and luck. “Fashion is what I like and what suits me,” said Coco Chanel.
Fashion is what I like and what suits me
What should someone do who does not coincide with their environment, with their small or large group?
There are different strategies
- 1. Adapt, change, adapt. This is what one of the girlfriends of the film Sergei Dovlatov does and advises him to endure, pretend. But here it is important to understand what price will have to be paid. The hero of the film does not want to humiliate himself, because he is afraid of losing himself, he is afraid that nothing will remain of him and his work.
- 2. You can develop resistance to rejection and attacks, strive for indifference. As the saying goes, "trample the corn." Strengthen your psychological boundaries. And then the toxicity of the environment will not hurt you so. So, in her memoirs, Maya Plisetskaya writes about how her competitors at the Bolshoi Theater practically hounded her, but she tried not to pay attention. Dignity and pride helped her in this.
- 3. Change the uncomfortable environment for you. But it takes a lot of effort, time and energy. This strategy was chosen by the hero of Ken Kesey's story "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (in the film adaptation his image was embodied by the charismatic Jack Nicholson): once in a madhouse, he begins to fight the rules. True, he eventually suffered a failure.
- 4. Change the environment in which you are, find a more suitable environment. This is exactly what Sergei Donatovich Dovlatov did years later: he emigrated and spent the rest of his rather short life in the United States. The cause of death was a heart attack, provoked by alcoholism.
Any of these strategies has the right to be, and in each situation the choice is different.