Джумагалиев – This is a real man, he lived in the village of Uzunagach Alma-Ata about the region. In the late 1970s and 1980s, he committed a series of shocking crimes that shook the entire Soviet Union. He killed, dismembered and ate his victims. He chose only women and worked in Kazakhstan. More than 40 years later, his name continues to terrify and frighten people. To this day, Dzhumagaliyev is being held in a closed psychiatric clinic in the village of Aktas, Talgar district, Almaty region.
In the film “Three” the main role is given to a young police trainee who is part of the group in search of a maniac. They played in the picture Askar Ilyasov, Samal Eslyamova, Yerzhan Tusupov, Nurzhan Sadybekov and a Russian actor Igor Savochkin. During the pandemic, the film won the New Currents competition section of the 25th Busan International Film Festival in 2020 and won a special prize at the Kinoshok Festival in 2021.
The hero is not him
Director and screenwriter of the film Ruslan PAK was born in the Uzbek SSR, has been working in the film industry since 2001. After graduating from film school at the Korean National University of the Arts, he lives and works in Seoul. The film was shot jointly by Korean and Kazakh cinematographers, so after its premiere it will be widely distributed in South Korea.
– Ruslan, what interested you in this story?
– I just want to make a reservation: I was not interested in the antagonist Dzhumagaliev himself. The things that really touched me are much deeper. First, I didn’t know he was still alive. Secondly, he was not aware of what had happened to the investigators involved in the case. I met a man who led the operation to capture this criminal, I learned a lot from him shocking details. Then I had an internal protest, I disagreed with many things. This prompted me to write the script. I did not expect then that we would get to production. When you see a story, you can tell if it’s cinematic or not. This story turned out to be cinematic. I also wanted to make a film for the Kazakh audience in an unusual genre for local film distribution.
– Did you know the name of Nikolai Dzhumagaliev before?
– As a child, I remember being told at school to go straight home after school – it was after his escape. The Union tried not to use words like “cannibal”, “cannibal”. He was said to be a maniac.
– They say you had the opportunity to meet this criminal, but you refused.
– I had no intention of revealing his identity, the film is not about him. I saw no point in meeting him and trying to understand his sick philosophy. If it was a documentary about the psychology of such criminals – then yes, I needed to talk to him.
– How much of the documentary component in the film? Did you have to delve deeply into the story, maybe you saw the relatives of the victims?
– The film is based in part on real events, the rest – artistic moments. As in any other story, I, as a director to the bone, had to dive into it, believe in it, and then start working on the production. If I don’t believe in her, the viewer will feel it. I did not seek a meeting with the relatives of the victims. Again, this is not a documentary. In order for our film to be complete, we had to endure the artistic part. The picture consists of 3 chapters – hence the name “Three”, each means a test for the protagonist. The hero shares the last test with all the spectators.
“Without flavor enhancer”
– Do you reveal to the viewer the phenomenon of cannibalism?
– No, the topic of cannibalism is not studied. I’m not interested in the philosophy of such criminals, maniacs, not very healthy people. So after watching it, it becomes clear to everyone that I’m actually trying to hurt other feelings. I don’t want to reveal the plot of the film, but the things I’m trying to say are not cannibalistic.
– It happened last year in Almaty brutal murder of a girl. They even wrote that with signs of cannibalism. In the yard of the XXI century, what do you think is a terrible deviation, a disease?
– You know, I think nothing in the world is changing. The essence of man is as it was, time has no power over it. Maybe now even the manifestation of such people has become more frequent, because we have unlimited access to the Internet, where there is really so much terrible. It seems to me that this is the real horror that people can post and watch a lot of abnormal things without any censorship. Which can greatly affect the psyche of individuals. I haven’t heard of the crime you mentioned.
– Korean TV series has become popular in Kazakhstan “Squid Game”. Why are people attracted to blood, violence, murder? Did you emphasize this in your film?
– I will say at once, I am not a supporter, not a fan of all this, I apologize for the expression, “tin”. I know that there is a stereotype about Korean cinema, that it is very cruel, so bloody, etc., I do not want to evaluate the series now, it has definitely become a phenomenon in the world, in this whole industry. But I personally am a director of another warehouse, and dramatic things are much more interesting for me. If I want to get some emotions in the audience, I try to do it with the help of drama. I was taught that the basis of everything is drama, not special effects, not moments that can stimulate temporary emotions.
That’s why I first of all try to build my directing work this way. Unfortunately, many thrill seekers who want to see more blood may not find this in my film. But they will definitely see other things and get emotions much deeper, more multifaceted.
Blood for me, cruelty, violence etc. – it’s like adding a flavor enhancer to food. In cinema, many directors try to add this flavor enhancer, they want it to be “sweeter, more salt, pepper.”
Definitely the viewer tastes this taste, experiences emotions, but for me the aftertaste is very important. With what you leave the hall – devastated and do not remember what was on the screen, or at least realize something, becoming better, no matter how high-sounding it may sound. I have always strived for this. And even through this movie. I read the comments, they say, found someone to shoot about. I want to repeat once again – the film is not about a criminal! He is assigned the role of antagonist. There is an antagonist in any genre film. This does not mean that we glorify the hero Dzhumagaliev.
– The film was shot before the pandemic. Why did he go to the audience for so long, for 2 years?
– It is clear that the pandemic had a strong impact. We filmed in 2019, when there were no prerequisites for it, but as soon as we started doing post-production, it started story with the coronavirus and continues to this day. Therefore, for some time we did not think about the premiere at all, because cinemas and shopping malls did not work, but all this time we applied for international film festivals. In principle, we had such a strategy – to start with festivals and then come to the general rental, we followed it. But, again, unfortunately, many film festivals did not work or were held in a reduced format. Despite all this, there are several where we were awarded prizes, it’s good.