The tragedy of arrogance. By JAVIER OCAÑA seamen of The ‘Kursk’ were burned to death and trapped in a complex exhaust system to The rescue of the submarine ‘Kursk’

“Ready to fire torpedoes”. That was the last communication they sent the nuclear submarine Kursk on Saturday 12 August 2000, the pride of the Fleet North Russian. The ship was part of the usual maneuvers of the summer of the Navy, and continued to sail silently at periscope depth, undetectable even for the most sophisticated espionage methods of the us. Hour and a half later, at 11.28, the bow of the submarine blew up while the commander Gennady Lyachin, captain of the Kursk, it terminated the final geometry of the shot: a torpedo-HTP in a poor state exploded. In just 135 seconds, the Kursk, sank to 106 m depth in the Barents sea. And when he touched the bottom, came the second explosion, caused by this shock and by the increase of temperature of the rest of the torpedoes. It was 250 times stronger than the first, fed by the pumps and the fuel, and caused an earthquake of 3.5 on the Richter scale. The front part of the Kursk was destroyed and the greater part of the 118 men who sailed in her interior died in that moment.

however, the Kursk was a huge ship constructed with the best Russian technology, and that included a double-hull of a steel optimal: despite the massive detonation, they saved their two nuclear reactors, and 23 crew members were in the overhead compartments rear hacinaron in the last, the ninth, waiting for a possible rescue. Russian Navy, hampered by a lack endemic of investments and by the old soviet habits of masking the bad news, he could not recuperarles with life. In the book Kursk (Platform History), the british journalist Robert Moore conducted a detailed investigation of the disaster -that seemed predestined by the lack of maintenance of war material, or the use of torpedoes HTP (hydrogen peroxide, highly volatile), for example, the british had dismissed in 1955 by another similar tragedy – and the subsequent work of rescue. And hence was born the script of the movie with the same name of the Danish Thomas Vinterberg, produced by the study European-Corp , frenchman Luc Besson, which opens now in Spain.

Vinterberg has wandered too far from its usual range of action: from that it became popular with its dogma, the Celebration (1998), his film has been focused on dramas very human (Dear Wendy, The hunting, The commune), with the odd foray into literary adaptation (Far from the madding crowd). “I wonder that you miss,” he answers, laughing in the promotion in Madrid of the film. “Do not stop being human drama of people fighting for their life”. The Danish didn’t walk away from any question, and his film provokes several. The project was born around the actor in belgian Matthias Schoenaerts, who embodies the alter ego —you have changed the names— of the official Dimitri Kolesnikov, the leader of the survivors and author of a few notes that identified 23 marine that fought for his existence a few more days. “Matthias called me, I accepted, and from there I made the deal,” says the director. That’s why there are no actors Russian, but central, to achieving an English neutral, the language that is spoken in the film. They even sing songs sea british, which Jestbahis distance the viewer from the characters. Not filmed in Russia, “even though at the beginning was raised as a possible co-production franco-Russian”, and this causes the major issue that muddies the story of a film: why not get the then-now – president Vladimir Putin?

you should go back to August of 2000 to understand what that meant, the tragedy of the Kursk in the political life of Putin. The disaster occurred within the first 100 days of his first term, and the president remained on vacation until a week and a half after the sinking. Well because you didn’t have agility policy, because the military will not transmitted the right information, Putin did not come up to the Kola peninsula until the 22 of August. And there he had to endure the verbal attacks of the families of the victims in a tensísima meeting. But his name is not listening on screen. What nothing to do with the possible co-production or its release -now has a distributor – in Russia? “No, it’s a choice purely artistic. And I I made, because I didn’t want to see a mimic of Putin in my story. My film is not a documentary, it is inspired by real events, but it is that we do not know what happened exactly. Not even how much he knew Putin on the issue during the first few days”. The film also fantasizes about the time that managed to live those 23 marine and to communicate with the outside, thanks to the system standard of the russians: four strokes in four rounds each time or contact, to differentiate it from any sound accidental. Moore, in his fantastic volume, pointed to by the remains and the autopsy, when the first submarine rescue Russian came to the hatch to the stern where it could have gone, were already dead. “In the film we play with other elements, it is true, concede Vinterberg. Also relativizes much the importance of norway in the work of rescue and of the private sharing in the same. It all boils down to a clash with the aroma of a cold war.

expand photo Matthias Schoenaerts in the film.

In contrast, Kursk succeeds in the reconstruction of the life in the interior of the submersible and the tension between the old ways-soviet -although the country is already outside Russia – make-up of the truth and need of a rapid coordination between Russia and the West for a possible rescue. “It is ironic that the submarine rescue soviets could have reached the Kursk had been sold by the authorities to u.s. firms to wealthy tourists to visit the wreck of the Titanic. Reflects the end of an empire,” says the filmmaker. In addition, “the Russian authorities decided not to accept international help to protect secrets naval, and his pride, and it was a fateful decision”. It is also clear that the small door on the hope of a Russia-free was drowned -according to both Moore and Vinterberg – on one August of 2000. “There died the freedom of the press in that country”, they say both. The dane explained: “We have shown the first famous press conference, Friday, August 18, between the admiralty and Russian, and the family that accused them of hiding information. They came to sedate in front of the cameras to a mother who was protesting. It was a symbolic moment, since that time the Government never ceased to flow free of any type of information. And even today continue to be murdered Russian journalists”.

expand photo Thomas Vinterberg, right, during the filming.