On April 4, 1985, Dinara Asanova passed away. She was 42 years old.
There is hardly a director who would be able to treat the world of children and adolescents with as much understanding as she did. And hardly anyone else managed to transfer their problems and hardships to the screen with such persuasiveness and touching humanity.
Asanova was notable for her great commitment to her work and creative fertility, even though at the Lenfilm studio she was treated, to put it mildly, with distrust. There was already a scandal during the defense of her graduation film, there was a scandal. A short film about a girl’s love for an adult man made not only the VGIK professors (Dinara studied in the famous directing workshop of Mikhail Romm) hiss and fume but the management of Lenfilm, where her graduation work "Rudolfio" was made, as well.
As a result, only four years later she was entrusted with an independent directing work, based on Yuri Klepikov's script "The Woodpecker Doesn't Get Headaches" (based on his scripts, she will later make the picture "Tough Kids" and start shooting "The Stranger"). The best directors of the country considered it an honor to work with Klepikov: Aleksei German ("The Seventh Satellite"), Andrei Konchalovsky ("The Story of Asya Klyachina"), Mikhail Kalik ("To Love"), Vitaly Melnikov ("Mother Got Married"), Viktor Tregubovich ("Dauria"), Larisa Shepitko ("The Ascent"). Incidentally, the audience knew Klepikov by sight: he appeared in one of the best Soviet films of the 1960s. It is his hero, the director in the film "The Beginning" by Gleb Panfilov, who finds Pasha Stroganova for the role of Jeanne. It is he who offers to saw off the arms of Inna Churikova’s heroine, which get in her way on the set.
Over the span of twenty years, Asanova made twelve and a half pictures (she referred to “Rudolfio” as the “half”), mainly about difficult teenagers. However, she also made films about sensitive social issues - "Trouble", "The Wife Has Left".
The last thing she was able to do was to shoot screen tests and several scenes for the film "The Stranger" (now they are kept in the Gosfilmofond of Russia).
In "The Stranger" we are talking about the offspring of wealthy parents. The ninth grader Zhenya Rodimtseva enters the world of these silver-spooner, whose material well-being is the source of envy by their peers. She is the stranger. Zhenya transfers to a new school after her parents get divorced and exchange their apartment. The girl falls in love with the handsome Borya Ogorodov, who belongs to the school elite, and struggles to win his favor.
The role of Zhenya was played by the Leningrad schoolgirl Polina Fedosova. Ekaterina Vasilyeva, who appeared in almost all of Asanova’s films, played the role of a single mother who is trying to arrange her personal life, not paying attention to her daughter’s problems.
Asanova forbade child actors to memorize the text of their roles. On the set, situations from the script were created, certain life circumstances were suggested so that boys and girls found "their" words, behaved openly and organically. “Shout, shout! It’s still sitting inside you! You can, you can. It’s going well. Well, throw a chair, I don’t know... Do something”, - this is how the director communicates with Polina Fedosova during the shooting of one of the episodes, "pulling" the necessary emotion out of the actress.
Her favorite creative technique is improvisation. With its help, not only reliability and truthfulness were achieved, but also a special artistry, a unique intonation in the reaction of the performers.
For example, in the scene in the car, when Vova Vozhzhov is driving Zhenya to the dacha, the characters have a long impromptu dialogue. It is interesting that the director is hiding in the back seat of the car; she has a tape recorder at hand for recording sound, and a clapperboard... Her voice is heard on the soundtrack - it points to the pressure points in the dialogue, brings the actors to the desired emotional level.
Work on "The Stranger" began with a delay of several months. Some winter episodes had been planned, but the film only entered development on January 8, 1985. In order to shoot the exteriors before the change of seasons, the film crew went to Murmansk, where there was still snow. Asanova had a presentiment of her early death: in her youth, she was diagnosed with a heart defect. And she was in a hurry. Having not yet finished one film, she was already planning another one. She believed that "The Stranger" would be her best work and was in a great hurry.
Three years after the death of Dinara Asanova, a special issue of TV show “Do 16 i starshe” ["Till 16 and Older"] dedicated to her was shown. The program included part of the material filmed for the film, interviews with members of the film crew, fragments of the film "Temptation" dedicated to the memory of Dinara Asanova and filmed a few years later based on the same script by Yuri Klepikov, as well as an interview with its director Vyacheslav Sorokin.
A significant part of the program is devoted to a discussion of the problems of social inequality, which were going to be touched upon in "The Stranger". Among the participants in the conversation is Fyodor Dunaevsky, who would soon play the title role in Karen Shakhnazarov's “Courier”. Dinara Asanova herself shares her emotions in the footage shot shortly before her death. This episode of the prorgam, courtesy of the State Television and Radio Fund (Gosteleradiofond), is also included in the screenings program.