Extract from Volgograd seminar (28-29 September 2013)
I recommend everyone to see this film and more than once.
I was struck by the fact that the conflicts in this film are very clear, varied and much more complete than the conflicts you find in American films. In modern American Hollywood films what is a conflict based on? There's only one type of conflict: it's the good guy must kill the bad guy. In addition, there may be some personal life problems which need to be overcome for example. There are no other options. That is the primal solution to the conflict: goodness wins, evil must be destroyed.
However, look at a conflict scenario in this film. The main character has a conflict at work, a conflict with friends and a conflict with his family. In addition, there is a conflict with his girlfriend, with his fate, a conflict with his coach and a conflict with his future. It is not just a snapshot, an action-packed adventure where the main character shines, he kills everyone and is the best one.
He gets involved in all these conflicts and solves them. Most importantly he solves them in the right way.
What is very important here is that the film shows how a talent is developed. In this case it is a film based on true events.
It is when you start analysing this film, that you realise what it really takes to be talented. So if we look at the film from the point of view of ‘how a talent is developed’ this becomes a very curious film. This film could become be a manual on ‘how to survive in a critical time’. This film could also become a manual on ‘how to become successful in life’, ‘how to become rich’ and so on..
What is wealth and money? Wealth is the equivalent of energy. If a person doesn't have energy, he won't have money. The money will kill him. Only the man with lots of energy can be rich. If there is no energy inside the person — then money will corrupt or give problems.
So the question is: How do I increase energy?
Did you notice how a talented hockey player differs from a talentless one? A talented hockey player is prepared to play 24 hours a day. The talentless player will try to hide, to save his energy and because he lacks the energy he won’t achieve. The coach immediately realised that this is the most talented person. The question is ‘why is he torturing him’?
Talent is energy and energy is present in our soul.
What then corrupts the soul? Answer — Fame, money, and especially easy money etc...
Big money attracts big problems. So what do we have here? The coach realises that in the pagan system, when the talent is realised it can result in killing the soul. The person then either destroys his soul, where he will be morally decaying or to save the soul he must become ill and die.
In real life, Kharlamov died in an actual accident. Which can be seen as his fame resulting in his death. And in the film it is masterfully shown when he begins to judge someone, he almost immediately has a car accident in which he nearly dies. He is kind of justified in judging the man – who has behaved immorally and some could say despicably. But in judging the man, Kharlamov’s soul is deprived of love, his soul suffers and then there is immediate retribution.
So, in the pagan system, when you see a talent — what should you do? It is necessary to somehow try to bring it closer to God and revive his soul so a person can survive. In order to revive his soul — his pride and his instinct of self-preservation need to be diminished. In this film the coach specifically tortures, humiliates him, lies to him and ignores him. In addition, there are problems with his girlfriend and problems with his mother so that his personal life is in tatters. The result is his two main instincts are crashed.
What does the main character do? He retains love and perseverance. He doesn’t panic, he has no fear, he doesn’t judge and despair.
The result is his energy starts to increase and he starts to realise his potential.