Interview with Anastasia Mashina
George Barros interviewed Anastasia Mashina in June, 2017 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The interview was transcribed by Katherine Hughes in Spring 2021 as part of the Russian Movie Theater Project.
Anastasia Mashina was born in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and has lived there her entire life. She attended university at Kyrgyzstan Slavic University and received a bachelor’s degree in linguistics before beginning to work. Mashina has never been to St. Petersburg but has many relatives who live there.
As a child, Mashina loved to watch movies. She remembers that she first began to go to the movies at about age ten, when she was able to understand what she was watching. Mashina usually went to the movies with her grandparents, as her parents were usually busy, but started to go with her parents more frequently as she grew older. As a child, Mashina loved watching animated films, but also loved watching horror films. She added that of course, after watching these films she would be scared, but that they were always very interesting. Now, she said, these types of films are less scary and have lost some of their strength for her (9:33).
Mashina said that her parents went to the movies as well. When they were younger, Mashina thought they tended to go alone, and Mashina thought they watched black-and-white films, as it was still the Soviet Union. Mashina added that as she grew older, her family went to the movies together, especially if there was a break. (32:36)
Mashina remembers that her family bought a television when she was about ten years old. At the time, televisions were still rare and were not in every home. In fact, Mashina’s family invited guests to show them the television (32:54). Even after buying the television, though, Mashina did not stop going to the movie theater. She said that the movie theater had a unique atmosphere and was a place of leisure for her, and added that the theater is where one can watch a film for the first time (33:28). Mashina later said that going to the movie theater was a unique event and made an evening special (36:35).
As a student, Mashina went to the movies less because she had less free time. Usually, the movies that she watched were movies that were required for her lessons. When she did watch movies for fun, they tended to be fictional (10:04).
Mashina also mentioned her favorite movies in the interview. She said that she loved watching historical movies, especially biographical or war films. She mentioned the film Битва за Севастополь as a recent film that she particularly liked. Mashina also loved the film Ирония судьбы или с легким паром, which she described as a very famous film in Russian cinematography (2:43).
Mashina said that her motivations of going to films have changed over time. When she was younger, she loved going to movies because they were new and exciting, and that she was very interested in the movies themselves. As she grew older, she began to go to movies just to relax, go out, and raise her mood (35:49). Mashina also said that even though she was very young and was not fully aware of the changes in movies during perestroika, she understood more through watching films, such as Ирония судьбы или с легким паром (35:02).
Mashina gave a detailed account of movie-going in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan. She is an avid movie-goer, and described in detail the experience of going to the movies and how that varied between theaters and over time. She also focused on the emotional benefits of movie-going, and why she still loves to go.