Inna TCHOURIKOVA and Svletlana ZAKHAROVAMonsieur le Ministre, Cher Alexandre AVDEEV,Messieurs les Ambassadeurs,Messieurs les élus,Dear Inna TCHOURIKOVA,Dear Svletlana ZAKHAROVA,Dear Naoum KLEIMAN,Dear Gleb PANFILOV,Dear Pavel LOUNGUINE,Mesdames,Messieurs,Dear Friends,

«You will see that this little machine that turns while clicking-clac
will revolutionize our life»: thus did Leo TOLSTOY prophesy in 1908 the
great future of cinema. History has given it reason and Russian cinema all
especially. Russian cinema, as we all know, knew without delay, with a
pioneering spirit and eager for modernity, write the pages among the most
sublime of the 7th art. I think of course, dear Naoum KLEIMAN, of this giant
that was EISENSTEIN, who immediately set the bar of cinema at its highest
of artistic demand as well as of historical consciousness. About this
filmmaker, perhaps you know that in our French film school,
FEMIS, one of the most popular and most
used is a book by EISENSTEIN: we always take in France, in
2010, «Directing lessons» by Sergei EISENSTEIN, and I
think that we are not the only ones in the world and that this will
last a long time!
I am talking about cinema, for which I have a passion, but there are
another origin that I would like to mention and somehow invoke with
in the framework of this Franco-Russian Year which opens under
the best auspices. There is another aesthetic dawn of the twentieth century that has
sealed the fascination of our country and our modernity for culture
Russian: it is of course the dance and the famous Ballets Russes by Serge
DIAGHILEV, who marveled at Paris just 100 years ago.
But I didn’t come to Russia just to call back with
recognition, perhaps with solemnity, the past too rich, too glorious,
too prestigious of our crossed admiration. I came, on the contrary,
to witness to the permanence and vitality of our dialogue, which
between our creators and our
artists, but also our museums and cultural institutions. To do this,
I particularly wished to honour five cultural personalities
contemporary Russian whose talent and prestige are particularly dear
to France and the French.

I would like to add, before turning to the recipients, to what
point I look forward to this France-Russia Year. I am happy
that the spontaneous network of artistic exchanges between the two countries, we
added the living fabric of our communities, so that each of our
territories is innervated by this friendly and cultural event, and feels
stimulation and emotions. The special contribution of patrons, Russian and
France, whose solidarity has further strengthened these ties, also deserves
our gratitude.
Dear Naoum KLEIMAN,
If there is an institution that is dear to me, it is, as you know, the
Cinematheque, a mythical institution for all film lovers, a place
somewhat austere in general, but charged with all the dreams of the world
whole, which it has on, day after day, crystallize and share. The
cinemas are high places of cultural dialogue. And that’s telling you,
dear Naoum KLEIMAN, how special a moment this is
where I have the opportunity and pleasure to pay tribute to the
the founder and pillar of the Russian Film Library. You are, in
the Russian Henri Langlois. And I represent the
Moscow Cinematheque as the great mythical libraries,
that of Alexandria for example, as one of the crucibles of discoveries
where measured, compared, surpassed, in short invented the
Russian cinema. You are the guardian of this Temple, at the same time
that of the memory of the first Russian cinema giant, EISENSTEIN.
I would remind you that you have been a researcher and even a curator for
decades at the EINSENSTEIN Museum, and that you have published the complete
his work, restoring it in all its splendour.
Just as we have all been able to see many Russian films at the
Cinémathèque de Paris, on your side, you have dedicated festivals
unforgettable to Jean-Luc GODARD, and more recently to the late Eric
ROHMER. I am also thinking of the celebration of the first century of cinema
French», through which you offered the Russian public a panorama
the best French films produced since the origins of cinema.
And I know, dear Naoum KLEIMAN, the role that your notoriety, your
will and your fighting energy in the defense of this temple, sometimes
threatened in its existence.
Yet you are not only driven by the desire to preserve, to
safeguard, but also, and perhaps above all, by the desire to transmit:
by the Museum, but also by the conferences on cinema that you
in Europe, in the United States, in India, in the United States, in
This transmission of the memory of cinema, and by cinema, it is
also an ethical teaching: I am thinking, for example, of this new
Shoah, by Claude LANZMAN, whose
first broadcast in Russia and a new generation could discover it
a few weeks ago.
One might think, dear Naoum KLEIMAN, that the image is a thing
immediate, who needs no intercessor; but I believe like you,
for a long time, that it is an illusion and that it would be too simple. I believe on the contrary, that cinema, like everything that transports us, has
need for mediators, smugglers and passionate initiators.
That is why, dear Naoum KLEIMAN, on behalf of the French Republic,
we give you the insignia of Commander in the order of Arts and
des Lettres.
Each of us here remembers the shock, I would say almost of
electroshock, represented at the Cannes Film Festival in 1990, the first
film of a young director: Taxi Blues. From the first images, to the sound
unexpected from a saxophone, we found ourselves immersed in a universe
at once strange and familiar, that of a Russia long remained closed to our
eyes, and suddenly appeared in an entirely new aspect.
Since then, you have embodied this new face of Russian cinema
the opening of the Iron Curtain, that of the new Russia that
we discovered with some astonishment.
Film after film, you explore the mutations of the Russian identity, those of the
present, and now the past.
After Taxi Blues and its night wanderings and watered shaped
urban road movie, after Luna Park and the excesses of a disoriented society
and tempted by extremism, A Russian man makes the striking portrait of
follies of money king.
Then you go back in time, as a historian of Russian customs and identity.
It is the mystical meditation of the Island, it is, very recently, the great breath
Tsar’s epic, which combines the tutelary powers of TOLSTOI and
DOESTOIEVSKI, and also did not forget the directing lessons
At the same time, this stubborn questioning of the Russian identity, it is not
not at all cut off from the rest of the world, especially from Europe and
France, which produces most of your films. Since your
you have forged more than privileged ties with the public
following you as one of his own. Your mastery of our language
is a symbol of this friendship that has united us for so many years.
You are one of the inventors of a rooted universal, a form
typically Russian of the universal, a secret alchemy that is capable of
touch each of us.
Dear Pavel LOUNGUINE, on behalf of the French Republic, we
Let us present the Commander’s insignia in the order of Arts and Letters.

Dear Inna Tchourikova, Dear Gleb Panfilov,
Before I address each of you, let me address the
legendary couple that you form on screen as in life, at the
director and his muse, which are mutually inspired as the painter and
his model, like other mythical couples of cinema like Jean-
Luc GODARD and Anna KARINA, as well as Federico FELLINI and Giulietta
MASINA… I am pleased that retrospectives have come to do better
to learn more about your work common to the French public, especially
Cannes in 1988 and most recently at the International Film Festival
“Art begins where there are perhaps”: with this beautiful maxim, you
define very well, I think, an art all of nuances and subtlety, free from
and endowed with a power of emotion worthy of the most
Historical figure of the Soviet cinema, then Russian, you have not stopped, over
of your works, to question Russian history and identity. You have
the Soviet regime by almost always succeeding in
circumvent censorship, without resorting to self-censorship, but through
an artistic perfection that has often enabled you to convince
to the most fearless censors…
From your very first film, interested as a pioneer in the civil war
Russian, you were able to avoid the pitfalls of caricature, especially thanks to
this character of white general very human, certainly committed as the
others in bloody violence, but far from being the only wicked, designated
from the outset. Thanks to your meeting with Inna, you are interested in
In the tradition of a Anna, this is a special way of
KARENINA, or rather it is from a feminine perspective, or even
the portrait of society: it is TANIA who, in
the Ford, tries to escape the horrors of war by painting; it is
ELISAVETA OUVAROVNA in I ask the floor, it is SACHA
NIKOLAEVA in Thema is VALENTINA, VASSA and the MOTHER in the
eponymous films… It is also, of course, the unforgettable JOAN OF ARC of
Beginning, which fits you in the great lineage of MÉLIÈS, DREYER,
ROSSELLINI, BRESSON and RIVETTE, which were like you inspired by
this figure. The prohibition to represent this woman who hears voices
and who says "Niet" has led you to a complex and
stimulating, that of a Joan of Arc in the second degree, on the shooting of a
This taste of the second degree, privileged tool of critical questioning on the
film and on the world, it also stands out in the interest for the
artists and creators: besides the painter of the Gué and this
Beginning actress is the playwright and poet of Thema, these are the
conversations about art in I ask the word, or reflection on the
Voice coding in your latest opus, Archived for Eternity.
This beautiful title seems to me to refer, in a way, to
the whole of your work: a work that, by the subjects it addresses, by its aesthetics, its large spaces and its long worthy temporalities
of a BERGMAN or a TARKOVSKI, is made to last, feed our
memory and put our world view into perspective, thanks in part to
these “maybe”, which seem like an invitation to constantly renew our
Dear Gleb PANFILOV, on behalf of the French Republic, we
Let’s present the Officer insignia in the Order of Arts and Letters.
Dear Inna Tchourikova,
Let me start with a few lines that will remind you
some memories…:
In the silence of the nocturnal inspirations,
I rule over the universal atmosphere,
Nothing is impossible to me, nothing is hostile to me…”
You recite these verses in French, with a perfect diction and a
charming accent, at the beginning of Thema, where you play a
charming museum guide, wearing your unforgettable fur hat
By hearing you say them, ULYANOV, the character of the
playwright, has these tasty words: The French, I don’t understand
what they are talking about”…
From her first feature-length film to today, you’re the face of Gleb
PANFILOV, from which you inhabit each of the films of your presence at once
bright and all interior.
As soon as you appear in No ford in the fire, you show this face
with emotions, smiles, laughter and sometimes tears. This
you know how to communicate it all the more forcefully as your
art is made of sobriety and restraint. I am thinking in particular of the
where you play as the mother whose child accidentally kills himself
by wielding a gun, and which continues to assume, with many
courage and dignity, his role as mayor of his small town – “mother” and
“maire” is the same word in French, as you may know
by playing this character, as well as Gleb PANFILOV by imagining this film…
This memorable role by JEANNE D'ARC, whose
relentless will equals only fear of death, or, in this film in
the film I was talking about earlier, you also play the role of the actress
PASHA, so reserved without being shy, whose smile and look full of
life decline all the rainbow of feelings.
You have also deployed your exceptional talents as an actress in
theatre, at the «Tiuz» then at the «Lenkom», notably in La Mouette de
CHEKHOV and in Hamlet, where you have successively incarnated
OPHELIA and GERTRUDE, with as much power of conviction for
each of the two roles, under the direction of Andreï TARKOVSKI then Gleb
By your exceptional play, by your presence, you are undoubtedly the icon
the most touching and humane contemporary Russian cinema.
Dear Inna Tchourikova, on behalf of the French Republic, we invite you
Let’s present the Officer insignia in the Order of Arts and Letters.

Dear Svetlana ZAKHAROVA,
We are now leaving the «magic lantern» of cinema for others
fairy tales no less enchanted: those of dance and ballet, and
the most brilliant forms presented by the MARIINSKY Theatre and the
BOLSHOI of which you are one of the most glittering and most
moving. As we celebrate the centenary of the coming of the
Ballets russes in Paris, it was only natural that I pay tribute to the woman who
is today one of the greatest dancers of our time, that
we admire and love: sumptuous, divine, luminous, you
seem to come from a world where all is grace and poetry.
Despite your very young age, you have already explored and marked
your genius the greatest roles in the repertoire, with a maturity that has
equal to your spontaneity, and that freedom that only the perfect
Also at ease in the role of romantic heroine of La Belle au bois
sleeping, fragile woman in Swan Lake or dancer
flamboyant in La Bayadère – as many shows as we had
the joy of seeing at the Palais Garnier – you embody the irreducible modernity
of classical dance.
You probably know that DEGAS produced a series of pastels
representative of Russian dancers, then in Paris: one cannot
stop thinking of you, dear SVETLANA, contemplating these
canvas: brilliance, sensuality, expressive force, fluidity of movements, such as
are some of the qualities of your truly unique style.
You are also unique in your commitment to culture.
Elected to the State Duma, you are also a member of the Council
President of Culture and the Arts: you have the sense of collective and have
chosen to invest some of your energy and intelligence in the
how complex is politics… Your commitment does not stop
not at the door of the opera houses: by signing your contract for
Carmen, you demanded that the price of seats be reasonable so that
the art of ballet remains accessible to each of your fellow citizens, even the most
modest: as minister of the Republic, attached to what I call the
“culture for everyone”, I can only warmly greet your
generous initiative!
Poet of grace, time and space, you enchant us show
after a show, by incandescent the roles you know in
at the same time preserve the mystery. By the perfection of your art, by your
charm and grace, you are the ambassador of the Russian woman, whose
you give us the perfect face.
Dear Svetlana ZAKHAROVA, on behalf of the French Republic, we
You are presented with the Officer’s insignia in the Order of Arts and Letters.