On a compositional level the movie is based on Nikolai Gogol’s biography and creativity. As in his previous works, Leonid Parfenov not only tells us about the life of the writer, but shows what was happening to his characters and the author himself. The geography of the shooting is quite wide. We’ll see Gogol’s house in Paris, where he lived irritated by the local journalists, now it is an editorial office of Le Nouvelle Observateur magazine. His apartment in Rome, where Gogol “glancing from the window at Madonna sculpture across the street” wrote his novel “Dead Souls”. The shooting took place in Ukraine, Moscow, Saint Petersburg… In particular at Voznesensky prospect in the northern capital of Russia, where L. Parfenov washed the monument to the great Nose, telling us how it became the main character of the story. There are also scenes from the Ustyuzhna regional center, Volgograd region, which was one of the prototypes for the uezd city in the “Government Inspector” play.
The audience will see Leonid Parfenov as a “bee-keeper Rudiy Panka”, who is up till now is considered to be the author of the “Evenings on a farm near Dikanka”. “In this pen name Gogol has transparently ciphered himself (Panko is ukranian slang word for “the grandson of Opanas” or Afanasiy, which was the name of Gogol’s grandfather”…), and as Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov, embracing his brief case, bucking along in his britzka on the rural roads from one manor to the other (The field was filmed in Vologodsk region and the road in Poltava region”…)
The chapters of the film go in chronological order. The first episode is about Ukraine and Ukrainian tales, Saint Petersburg and Petersburg tales and “Government Inspector”, France, the begging of life in Italy. The second episode — “The Nose”, “Dead Souls”, “The overcoat”, “Selected quotes from his personal letters to his friends”, the last years of writer’s life, his death and his “immortality”.
Extracts from Gogol’s novels are read by Zemphira.
Extracts from Gogol’s letters, diaries are read by Oleg Tabakov.
Another participants of the film: Alexander Kalyagin, Yevgeni Mironov, Lia Akhedzhakova, Bogdan Stupka and others.