Matvey Zhivov, director
The theme of war and its impact on human characters and destines has always been interesting to me — in fact, that is what I my first picture was about. But that isn’t the only reason that made me want to shoot The Letter. I was attracted by the absolutely realistic and, at first glance, simple story, which turns into a complicated and very difficult one. The plot mustn’t be seen as a historical or military one. You can change the character’s costumes and play out the exact same story today, or, conversely, you can move it several thousand years back. Unfortunately, wars still continue, and therefore our film is relevant and, hopefully, understandable to the modern viewer. I know that, for example, American soldiers leaving for the Iraqi front, are not afraid of death — they afraid to return home crippled. Even when the script was only being written, I envisioned Alexey Serebryakov and Victoria Tolstoganova as the main heroes. But I realised how busy these and requested these actors are, so a casting was carried out in case of their refusal. Nothing came from it, but to our luck, Alexey and Victoria both liked the script and managed to find the time to act in our movie. The professionalism of these actors, their willingness to give one hundred percent and more in any weather, be it day or night, truly delighted me. Working with actors of such a level creates a special atmosphere on site, where each frame becomes super realistic and unpredictable: there were occasions when you simply forgot that this is only a movie. Despite the relevance of the plot, the depicted events take place more than sixty years ago. We made definite to ensure the historical veracity of the happenings by carefully checking up on the authenticity of the costumes, accessories and household items. There was no leeway for error here, as that would destroy the movie’s atmosphere and interest to the story itself would be lost. Working on the The Letter provided me with an opportunity to work with great actors and a unique crew. They are true professionals who provided for a clear and streamlined filming process and I am very grateful to them for this experience.