Writer-soldier Pavel Belyansky (Pate): “The more we fence ourselves off from Russia, the faster we will win”

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Writer and screenwriter of the film “I work in a cemetery” Pavel Belyansky shares the nuances of working on the film and his observations from the front.

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The author of the script for the new premiere film “I work in a cemetery” – a popular blogger and writer Pavel Belyansky (Pate) is now fighting in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. And he still writes posts, only on military topics.

He came to Kyiv from the front – he met with Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov and attended the triumphal premiere at the Molodist festival of his painting “I work in a cemetery “, where it was intercepted by Focus.

Belyansky speaks temperamentally, precisely, lively, directly. Or does not say at all: “Do you want me to be buried?” And we talked about the intricacies of creating a new film, about what the characters in the picture and people on the street need most of all, about the lessons of history and the war.

Who is Pavel Belyansky – screenwriter of the film “I work at the cemetery”

About Belyansky. At first he wrote in LiveJournal, but things were slow. But when he started Facebook, his short stories became in great demand: thousands of likes and shares.

Pavel worked at a cemetery, in a monument manufacturing company, and his almost documentary touching miniatures resonated with subscribers. Why? Coincidentally: talent – format – time. Facebook did not really welcome professional writers and journalists, links to the media, but when a certain person vividly describes an extreme situation (and a cemetery is not an easy place), it captivates, this is the “truth”, which is here and now.

Belyansky writes laconically, capaciously, where necessary – a metaphor, where necessary – a sharp word, a quote. He is unusually observant, and his main interest is human destinies. At the cemetery, people no longer have anything to hide, in a sense, this is a summing up. And Pate (Belyansky's nickname from childhood, on behalf of Pasha) could write someone's fate on one page. With a beginning, climax and denouement. With accurate everyday details and curious details of a personal nature.

He skillfully displays in his posts (which have become prose) the lines of human destinies. A little ironic, but not merciless; not judging, but trying to understand. He passes someone else's fate through the prism of his humor and heart – and the readers, together with the author, laugh and cry, recognizing acquaintances, neighbors, themselves in tiny stories. Today, Pavel Belyansky's account already has 31 thousand subscribers.

“Dad writes books in the cemetery”

Belyansky's success is the story of a hero of our time. In 2016, he accepted pre-orders for his future book – his subscribers supported him with hryvnia. As a result, a collection of thirty stories “I work in a cemetery” became a bestseller. As the author said in an interview, at a discussion at school on the topic “where parents work,” his first-grader daughter said: “Dad writes books in the cemetery.” The somewhat stunned teacher asked: “Why in the cemetery?”, The girl answered logically: “Nobody interferes there.”

So the books of Belyansky went one after another: “The Dentist Decides to Get Married”, “The Great Escape” , “Grandma didn't like to die”, “Badness Zakudatstvo”. Pavel positioned himself as a Ukrainian Russian-speaking writer, but after February 24, his position on this issue began to change – which we will discuss separately.

Belyansky, of course, wrote a post about the film: “Today, the film “I Pratsiyu na Tsvintari” is released on the big screens of Ukraine, filmed according to my script, based on my book. One year of work on the script. Four more years of work on the film. Pandemic , which stopped the release of the cinema, and the war that could not do it. I worry, as parents worry at the school graduation party of their child. I did everything I could: I invested, raised, raised, then the picture has its own life.”

Focusappreciated the picture. Now we ask the author questions: details are always interesting.

Pasha, how did you get to work at the cemetery?

I came there to earn money. I was called to work on this business: to help control it as a manager. Before that, I was a director at one enterprise, having graduated from the Faculty of Chemical Technology at the University in Dnipro. Then he went into trade – it was in the late nineties. I came to the cemetery as to a commercial project. I was told: this is a profitable ritual direction. We need to figure it out.

I treated it like a business. There were superstitions, but the profit was good and I was not afraid. I didn't believe in anything then.

And now?

Now I believe, of course, there has been a transformation. And then I was thirty-something, it was in 2007. As it turned out, I have a fairly high degree of empathy, and people began to reach out to me. And the “hardened” workers of the cemetery do not listen to people, for them human tragedies are commonplace. And I listened, and people began to tell me their stories – about the attitude towards the deceased and a lot of other things. It was the richest human material. But heavy.

This material needed to be put somewhere. And I started posting on Facebook. The main part is generally written on the phone – posted it, forgot it. But suddenly it all began to resonate.

It seems to me that you finally brought out an acting hero in Ukrainian cinema – a real man. Although he was not weak once just to run away from the bandits. In the film, the viewer is still waiting for the hero, when they have already been baked, to go to a weapons store, buy a shotgun and, like Schwarzenegger's characters, deal with the offenders. With you, he does the same effectively, but with dexterity.

The story of the protagonist was largely invented by director Alexei Taranenko. And I already pressed on. But I knew that at the beginning he would run around the stadium, and in the final. However, these are already two different people.

You constantly take the viewer by surprise: he expects one thing, and it happens – the third. And the hero of Vitaly Saliy was also incomprehensible for a long time: a bad good person.

Probably. But he still even confesses to his client Lena – about his dead child. However, this episode was later cut. Although, in general, a child falling out of a window is a very common occurrence.

Writer-soldier Pavel Belyansky (Pate):

Soldier writer Pavel Belyansky (Pate):

The film shows a spiritual catastrophe: people do not know what to do with their grief. They build huge monument complexes in the cemetery, if there are funds. They are far from any spiritual practice, they do not pray, they do not confess. And they don't even call for a funeral service. Why didn't you show the priests?

About the spiritual catastrophe – I agree. But as for the priests, it seemed to me that they could direct this story in the wrong direction. Then it will no longer be a film about a person's attempt to deal with his own inner world.

And with the bandits – where did the “paints” come from?

(laughs) The guys told me about it. There are always few people at the top. A competitor has arrived. What if this cemetery can earn more? They allowed to make a “collision”. Even in bandit brigades they took people with a business that could be milked. And if someone came without such a business, then why are you needed? And everything around is captured. So, redistribution.

February 25 went to the defense

Now you are fighting in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Have you served in the army before?

Did not serve: one eye does not see well. But when the enemy was at the gates… On February 25, I went to the defense, here near Kyiv. When it was over, he joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

And when do you have time to write your masterful posts?

(laughs) During the breaks.

Do the APU know that you are a popular blogger and writer?

My military authorities have no idea who I am and what I am.

How so? With you the other day, judging by your post and photo, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov met.

I had a specific task. That's why he met with me.

But this task is for you, as a popular person from the culture?

It has a little to do with it. But I can't say anything yet.

Are you on a secret mission?

(laughs) Still not a mission. We will limit ourselves to the word “task”.

Writer-soldier Pavel Belyansky (Pate):

Soldier writer Pavel Belyansky (Pate):

There is a cruel, bloody war with Russia. How many decades do you think we will have complete rejection with them?

Look. Let's take the Germans. Notice that even after such terrible, inhuman atrocities as they committed during the Second World War, it took only less than one generation for the German language to return to the world discourse.

As for our culture, I am in favor of the Ukrainian language being supported by the state. And today, this is actually not being done enough. We need a policy of carrots and sticks. Today, the more we fence ourselves off from everything connected with Russia, the faster we will win. There is an urgent need at the moment to separate as much as possible from the aggressor country. And we do it. Everything is fine.

Even if we do some stupid things in the humanitarian sphere, they are not as disastrous as if we were holding on to Russian ties. Of course, if we are talking about momentary interest, then it would personally be beneficial for me if Russian-language books were sold here in large quantities. But if we look at the historical perspective, it is more important for me that they are not sold, because I want the citizens of Ukraine, including my children, to live in a peaceful country. And instead of Russia, there were the Muscovite Republic, the Trans-Urals, etc.

But Germany, which you mentioned, has not disappeared anywhere.

Yes, but she has come a long way. Let these do it. From a historical perspective, anything can happen.

Which writer-blogger do you like?

Martin Brest. I read it. He writes about the war.

“In a few days I'll get to the front line”

How did the war burn you, what did it change in you?

Views of people. First, don't judge a person by their appearance. It happens that you look at a person – he is so brutally cool all of himself, but in real life – a complete zilch. And sometimes, you look – some kind of drug addicted worm, but in battle it turns out – a physically and morally strong person.

Second, don't judge by words. Someone blurted out something, and that's all – they went to judge, to judge, without understanding the motives. We often judge others – disgustingly careless.

Have you seen how people performed feats?

I saw how a fighter's legs were torn by a grenade. He was at a distant position. There was a dense fire: they shot so that the head could not be raised. And our girlfriend, a shooter-orderly, ran in his direction, stumbled, fell, but continued to move in the right direction. She tied her legs with a tourniquet, bandaged him, and pulled him out.

Are there many women on the front line?

Not many, but there are. But this is truly heroic. She could have been killed at any moment. I then talked to her: “How could you?!” And she: “You had to save him somehow.”

Are you already preparing a military book?

I am writing, but where are we, and where is the book? I'll be on the front line in a few days.

God take care of you! By the way, they say that there are no atheists in the trenches.

Atheists are only in the trenches on the first day. And then they all pray. Although not everyone knows how to do it. They pray as best they can, but everyone prays.

It is believed that war is an absolutely negative experience. Do you agree with these?

I just know that war is very unnatural. In the animal kingdom, yes, animals kill each other. But man is not an animal. We're just probably not very intelligent beings yet. We need to develop and develop to this state.

And humor helps to survive in the war. We laugh a lot. To share the dude's equipment before going out: “Here you are fucked, so what will I take for myself? I'll take the” unloading “”. – “And I – if you get fucked up? Your berets are nothing, my lousy ones. And a backpack.”

Your black humor is good. But since we have already started talking about religion: are there priests at the front?

There are chaplains. But there are dudes who think that this is, like, not their level, they are, they say, boys. And there are those who go to the priests, communicate. What a person wants to get, he finds.