Why do i repeat things

When Unwanted Thoughts or Repetitive Behaviors Take Over

People who are distressed by recurring, unwanted, and uncontrollable thoughts or who feel driven to repeat specific behaviors may have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The thoughts and behaviors that characterize OCD can interfere with daily life, but treatment can help people manage their symptoms.

What is OCD?

OCD is a common, long-lasting disorder characterized by uncontrollable, recurring thoughts (obsessions) that can lead people to engage in repetitive behaviors (compulsions).

Although everyone worries or feels the need to double-check things on occasion, the symptoms associated with OCD are severe and persistent. These symptoms can cause distress and lead to behaviors that interfere with day-to-day activities. People with OCD may feel the urge to check things repeatedly or perform routines for more than an hour each day as a way of achieving temporary relief from anxiety. If OCD symptoms are not treated, these behaviors can disrupt work, school, and personal relationships and can cause feelings of distress.

OCD symptoms tend to emerge in childhood, around age 10, or in young adulthood, around age 20 to 21, and they often appear earlier in boys than in girls. Most people are diagnosed with OCD by the time they reach young adulthood.

What are the signs and symptoms of OCD?

People with OCD may have obsessions, compulsions, or both.
Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. Common obsessions include:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Fear of forgetting, losing, or misplacing something
  • Fear of losing control over one’s behavior
  • Aggressive thoughts toward others or oneself
  • Unwanted, forbidden, or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, or harm
  • Desire to have things symmetrical or in perfect order

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that a person feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought. Common compulsions include:

  • Excessive cleaning or handwashing
  • Ordering or arranging items in a particular, precise way
  • Repeatedly checking things, such as that the door is locked or the oven is off
  • Compulsive counting

How do I know if it’s OCD?

Not all rituals or habits are compulsions. Everyone double-checks things sometimes. In general, people with OCD:

  • Can't control their obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors, even when they recognize those thoughts or behaviors as excessive
  • Spend at least 1 hour a day on these obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors
  • Don’t get pleasure when performing compulsive behaviors or rituals, but may feel brief relief from the anxiety brought on by obsessive thoughts
  • Experience significant problems in daily life due to these thoughts or behaviors

Some individuals with OCD also have a tic disorder. Motor tics are sudden, brief, repetitive movements, such as eye blinking and other eye movements, facial grimacing, shoulder shrugging, and head or shoulder jerking. Common vocal tics include repetitive throat-clearing, sniffing, or grunting sounds. It is common for people with OCD also to have a diagnosed mood disorder or anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of OCD may come and go, ease over time, or worsen. People with OCD may try to help themselves by avoiding situations that trigger their obsessions, or they may use alcohol or drugs to calm themselves. Although most adults with OCD recognize that their compulsive behaviors don’t make sense, some adults and most children may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary. Parents or teachers typically recognize OCD symptoms in children.

If you think you or your child may have OCD, talk to a health care provider about the possible symptoms. If left untreated, OCD can interfere in all aspects of life.

What causes OCD?

The exact causes of OCD aren’t known; however, a variety of factors are associated with an increased chance of developing the disorder.

Genetics is one factor associated with OCD. Studies have shown that having a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) with OCD is associated with an increased chance of developing the disorder. Scientists have not identified any one gene or set of genes that definitively lead to OCD, but studies exploring the connection between genetics and OCD are ongoing.

In addition to genetics, other biological factors may play a role. Brain imaging studies have shown that people with OCD often have differences in the frontal cortex and subcortical structures of the brain, areas of the brain that underlie the ability to control behavior and emotional responses. Researchers also have found that several brain areas, brain networks, and biological processes play a key role in obsessive thoughts, compulsive behavior, and associated fear and anxiety. Research is underway to better understand the connection between OCD symptoms and parts of the brain.

Some studies have reported an association between childhood trauma and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. More research is needed to understand this relationship.

Children who develop a sudden onset or worsening of OCD symptoms after a streptococcal infection may be diagnosed with a condition called Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).

How is OCD treated?

The first step is to talk with your health care provider about your symptoms. Asking questions and providing information to your health care provider can improve your care.

Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask you about your health history to make sure that your symptoms are not caused by other illnesses or conditions. Your health care provider may refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or counselor, for further evaluation or treatment.

Treatment for OCD typically includes specific types of psychotherapy (such as cognitive behavioral therapy), medication, or a combination of the two. A mental health professional can talk about the benefits and risks associated with different treatment options and help identify the best treatment for you. Sometimes people with OCD also have other mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphic disorder, a disorder in which someone mistakenly believes that a part of their body is abnormal. It is important to consider these other disorders when making decisions about treatment.

It is important to follow your treatment plan because both psychotherapy and medication can take some time to work. Although there is no cure for OCD, current treatments help many people with the disorder manage their symptoms, engage in day-to-day activities, and lead full, active lives.

For tips on how to talk to your health care provider about your mental health and get the most out of your visit, read the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) fact sheet, Taking Control of Your Mental Health: Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider.


Psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for adults and children with OCD. Research shows that certain types of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other related therapies (such as habit reversal training), can be as effective as medication for many people. For others, psychotherapy may be most effective when used in combination with medication.

Research shows that a specific type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is effective for reducing compulsive behaviors, even for people who did not respond well to medication. With ERP, people spend time in a situation that triggers their compulsion (such as touching dirty objects) and they are prevented from engaging in their typical compulsion (such as handwashing). Although this approach may cause feelings of anxiety at first, compulsions decrease for most people as they continue treatment.

Children with OCD may need additional help from family members and health care providers when it comes to recognizing and managing their OCD symptoms. Mental health professionals can work with young patients to identify strategies for managing stress and increasing support so that the children are able to manage their OCD symptoms at school and at home.


Your health care provider may prescribe medication to help treat OCD. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) are the most common type of medication prescribed for the treatment of OCD.

SRIs, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are often used to treat depression, and they also are helpful for treating symptoms of OCD. With SRI treatment, it may take up to 8 to 12 weeks before symptoms begin to improve, and treatment for OCD may require higher SRI doses than are typically used in treating depression. For some people, these medications may cause side effects such as headaches, nausea, or difficulty sleeping.

People respond to medication in different ways, but most people with OCD find that medication, often in combination with psychotherapy, can help them manage their symptoms.

Your health care provider can adjust medication doses over time to minimize any side effects or withdrawal symptoms. Do not stop taking your medication without talking to your health care provider first. Your health care provider will work with you to monitor your health and can adjust the treatment plan in a safe and effective way.

The most up-to-date information on medications, side effects, and warnings is available on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website.

Other Treatments

In 2018, FDA approved the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), most commonly used in treating depression, as an add-on treatment for adults with OCD. You can learn more about brain stimulation therapies, including TMS, on the NIMH website.

Beyond Treatment: Things You Can Do

There are several important things you can do to manage stress and anxiety associated with OCD.

  • Create a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Make regular exercise a part of your routine.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Seek support from trusted family and friends.

Where can I go for help?

If you’re not sure where to get help, your health care provider is a good place to start. Your health care provider can refer you to a qualified mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, who has experience treating OCD and can evaluate your symptoms.

You can learn more about getting help and finding a health care provider on NIMH's Help for Mental Illnesses webpage. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has an online tool to help you find mental health services in your area.

I know someone who is in crisis. What do I do?

If you or someone you know is having thoughts about wanting to die or is thinking about hurting themselves or someone else, get help quickly.

  • Do not leave a person who is in crisis alone.
  • Call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
  • Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You also can text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741) or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. These services are confidential, free, and available 24/7.

Participating in Clinical Research

Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.

Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct many studies with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. For more information, visit NIMH’s clinical trials webpage.


This publication is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission from NIMH. Citation of NIMH as a source is appreciated. To learn more about using NIMH publications, please contact the NIMH Information Resource Center at 1-866‑615‑6464, email [email protected], or refer to our reprint guidelines.

For More Information

MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine) (En español)

ClinicalTrials.gov (En español)

National Institutes of Health
NIH Publication No. 20-MH-4676
Revised 2020

Why do autistic people repeat words?

Echolalia is where an autistic person may repeat words and phrases.

What does it sound like?

There's immediate echolalia and there's delayed echolalia.
Immediate echolalia, that happens instantly, whereas delayed echolalia can happen hours days months or even years after.

Both can be interactive where the autistic person says them in a way to communicate. They can also both be non-interactive - where they're used for things like self-regulation.

Some repeated things may depend on the context like somebody repeating phrases of movie that have the same emotional impact as what they're experiencing right now.


A simple form of echolalia could be somebody asking: "Do you want cake?"
The autistic person may reply: "cake cake cake!"


Where a complex version could be someone asking:  "Do you want cake?"
and the autistic person responding with all the details they
heard off a movie or advert or set of instructions.


It could be for a stim behavior. This is because it feels good to repeat those words.

Stimming is any self-stimulatory act and it can use for stress relief, it can help focus and calm.


Find out more here: Stimming

See our sensory page to understand more about the senses: Senses

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

In OCD the person may repeat the words because they're afraid of something happening and feel a lot of shame as a result.
They may do it because they think they're preventing harm and
protecting those they care about.

Sensory Processing

Also see our videos on each of the senses to understand what this may look like.It could also be due to sensory overload such as being close to shutdown or meltdown and this can be because of your senses of pain, temperature, touch, taste, smell, sight, balance, your body awareness, and your digestion.
That's a lot going on there.


Find out more here: Meltdowns

See our sensory page to understand more about the senses: Senses

Tics, Tourette's, and Echopraxia

It can also be due to tics, but with tics it's generally referred to as something called echopraxia.

Which means it's an involuntary repetition of words.


It can also be due to learning because every person during their development repeats words in order to get a grasp for how they feel.


It could be because the autistic person doesn't actually understand what is being said or maybe they just understand a part of it so they're repeating something related to it meaning that they have some kind of understanding but not a full understanding.


It can also be because they want to reply but don't know what to say, but it doesn't mean that we're not paying attention we could be very interested in what you have to say.

what is obsessive-compulsive disorder - T&P

Anxiety is common to all people to one degree or another, and many of us sometimes perform rituals of varying degrees of irrationality designed to insure us from trouble - bang our fist on the table or put on a lucky T-shirt for an important event.

But sometimes this mechanism gets out of control, causing a serious mental disorder. Theories and Practices explains what tormented Howard Hughes, how an obsession differs from schizophrenic delusions, and what magical thinking has to do with it.

The character of Jack Nicholson in the famous movie As Good As It Gets was not only a complex character, but also a whole range of oddities: he constantly washed his hands (with new soap each time), ate only with his own cutlery, avoided being touched by others and tried not to step on on cracks in the asphalt. All these "eccentricities" are typical signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder, a mental illness in which a person is obsessed with obsessive thoughts that make him repeat the same actions regularly. OCD is a real godsend for a screenwriter: this disease is more common in people with high intelligence, it gives the character originality, noticeably interferes with his communication with others, but at the same time is not associated with a threat to society, unlike many other mental disorders. But in reality, the life of a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder cannot be called easy: constant tension and fear are hidden behind innocent and even funny, at first glance, actions.

It’s as if a record is stuck in such a person’s head: he regularly comes up with the same unpleasant thoughts that have little rational basis. For example, he imagines that dangerous microbes are everywhere, he is constantly afraid of hurting someone, losing some thing, or leaving the gas on when leaving home. A leaky faucet or an asymmetrical arrangement of objects on a table can drive him crazy.

The other side of this obsession, that is, obsession, is compulsion, the regular repetition of the same rituals, which are supposed to prevent impending danger. A person begins to believe that the day will go well only if, before leaving the house, he reads a children's rhyme three times, that he will protect himself from terrible diseases if he wash his hands several times in a row and use his own cutlery. After the patient performs the ritual, he experiences relief for a while. 75% of patients suffer from both obsessions and compulsions at the same time, but there are cases when people experience only obsessions without performing rituals.

At the same time, obsessional thoughts differ from schizophrenic delusions in that the patient himself perceives them as absurd and illogical. He is not at all happy to wash his hands every half an hour and zip up his fly five times in the morning - but he simply cannot get rid of the obsession in any other way. The level of anxiety is too high, and the rituals allow the patient to achieve temporary relief from the condition. But at the same time, the love of rituals, lists or putting things on the shelves in itself, if it does not bring discomfort to a person, does not belong to the disorder. From this point of view, aesthetes diligently laying out carrot peels along the length in Things Organized Neatly are absolutely healthy.

Obsessions of an aggressive or sexual nature are the most problematic for people with OCD. Some begin to fear that they will do something bad to other people, up to and including sexual violence and murder. Obsessive thoughts can take the form of individual words, phrases, or even lines of poetry - a good illustration can be an episode from the movie The Shining, where the protagonist, going crazy, starts typing the same phrase “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." A person with OCD experiences tremendous stress - he is simultaneously horrified by his thoughts and tormented by guilt for them, tries to resist them, and at the same time tries to make the rituals he performs go unnoticed by others. At the same time, in all other respects, his consciousness functions perfectly normally.

It is believed that obsessions and compulsions are closely related to "magical thinking", which arose at the dawn of mankind - the belief in the ability to take control of the world with the help of the right attitude and rituals. Magical thinking draws a direct parallel between a mental desire and a real consequence: if you draw a buffalo on the wall of a cave, tuning in to a successful hunt, you will certainly be lucky. Apparently, this way of perceiving the world is born in the deep mechanisms of human thinking: neither scientific and technological progress, nor logical arguments, nor sad personal experience proving the uselessness of magical passes, do not save us from the need to look for the relationship between random things. Some scientists believe that it is embedded in our neuropsychology - the automatic search for patterns that simplify the picture of the world helped our ancestors survive, and the most ancient parts of the brain still work according to this principle, especially in a stressful situation. Therefore, with an increased level of anxiety, many people begin to be afraid of their own thoughts, fearing that they can become reality, and at the same time, they believe that a set of some irrational actions will help prevent an undesirable event.

In ancient times, this disorder was often associated with mystical causes: in the Middle Ages, people obsessed with obsessions were immediately sent to exorcists, and in the 17th century the concept was reversed - it was believed that such states arise due to excessive religious zeal.

In 1877, Wilhelm Griesinger, one of the founders of scientific psychiatry, and his student Karl-Friedrich-Otto Westphal found that the basis of "compulsive disorder" is a thought disorder, but it does not affect other aspects of behavior. They used the German term Zwangsvorstellung, which, being variously translated in Britain and the United States (as obsession and compulsion, respectively), became the modern name for the disease. And at 19In 05, the French psychiatrist and neurologist Pierre Maria Felix Janet singled out this neurosis from neurasthenia as a separate disease and called it psychasthenia.

Opinions differed about the cause of the disorder - for example, Freud believed that obsessive-compulsive behavior refers to unconscious conflicts that manifest themselves in the form of symptoms, while his German colleague Emil Kraepelin attributed it to "constitutional mental illness" caused by physical causes.

Famous people also suffered from obsessional disorder - for example, the inventor Nikola Tesla counted steps while walking and the volume of food servings - if he failed to do this, the dinner was considered spoiled. And the entrepreneur and American aviation pioneer Howard Hughes was terrified of dust and ordered employees to “wash themselves four times, each time using a large amount of lather from a new bar of soap,” before visiting him.

The exact causes of OCD are not clear even now, but all hypotheses can be divided into three categories: physiological, psychological and genetic. Proponents of the first concept associate the disease either with the functional and anatomical features of the brain, or with disorders in the metabolism of neurotransmitters (biologically active substances that transmit electrical impulses between neurons, or from neurons to muscle tissue) - first of all, serotonin and dopamine, as well as norepinephrine and GABA. Some researchers have noted that many patients with OCD had birth trauma at birth, which also confirms the physiological causes of OCD.

Supporters of psychological theories believe that the disease is associated with personality traits, character traits, psychological trauma and an incorrect reaction to the negative impact of the environment. Sigmund Freud suggested that the occurrence of obsessive-compulsive symptoms is associated with the protective mechanisms of the psyche: isolation, elimination and reactive formation. Isolation protects a person from anxiety-causing affects and impulses, forcing them into the subconscious, liquidation is aimed at combating emerging repressed impulses - on it, in fact, the compulsive act is based. And, finally, reactive formation is a manifestation of patterns of behavior and consciously experienced attitudes that are opposite to emerging impulses.

There is also scientific evidence that genetic mutations contribute to OCD. They were found in unrelated families whose members suffered from OCD - in the serotonin transporter gene, hSERT. Studies of identical twins also confirm the existence of a hereditary factor. In addition, people with OCD are more likely to have close relatives with the same disorder than healthy people.

- It started for me at about 7-8 years old. The neurologist was the first to report the likelihood of OCD, even then there was a suspicion of obsessive neurosis. I was constantly silent, scrolling through various theories in my head like "mental chewing gum." When I saw something that caused me anxiety, obsessive thoughts about it began, although the reasons were seemingly quite insignificant and, perhaps, would never have touched me.

At one time there was an obsessive thought that my mother might die. I turned over the same moment in my head, and it captured me so much that I could not sleep at night. And when I ride in a minibus or in a car, I constantly think about the fact that now we will have an accident, that someone will crash into us or we will fly off the bridge. A couple of times the thought arose that the balcony under me would fall apart, or someone would throw me out of there, or I myself would slip in the winter and fall.

We never really talked to the doctor, I just took different medicines. Now I am moving from one obsession to another and I am following some rituals. I constantly touch something, no matter where I am. I go from corner to corner all over the room, adjusting the curtains, wallpaper. Maybe I am different from other people with this disorder, everyone has their own rituals. But it seems to me that those people who accept themselves as they are are more lucky. They are much better than those who want to get rid of it and are very worried about it.

Alexey Popogrebsky: I would find it difficult to formulate the moral of "Simple Things"

Alexey Popogrebsky's film "Simple Things" received 4 prizes at Kinotavr, and now it is fighting for its main prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival - Crystal Globe. Last night there was his first official show. On the eve of the filmmakers' departure to the Czech Republic, we met in the editorial office of RG with director Alexei Popogrebsky, the lead actor, director of the Magnitogorsk Drama Theater Sergei Puskepalis, and producer of the Koktebel film company Roman Borisevich.

How stories grow

Rossiyskaya Gazeta | Alexey, tell us how the idea of ​​a film about a man without a rudder and sails came about.

Alexey Popogrebsky | I must say, "pregnancy" I have an elephant. For example, I nurtured the idea of ​​Koktebel for several years, and then Boris Khlebnikov and I turned it into a script for a long time. When we were already finishing Koktebel, a mise-en-scene occurred to me: a younger man came to a very old man. The mise-en-scene began to grow into details: why did he come? Maybe he is a doctor? There are many doctors in my family, and this topic is interesting to me. Then I thought that the old man could be an actor. This is how the plot slowly grew, and not from some real collision, but from observations: for the doctors in my family, for the elderly, who are served at home. I wrote the main role of Maslov for Sergey Puskepalis.

WP | Why for Sergei? He is a director, lives far from the capital.

Popogrebskiy | At first I didn't know that he was a well-known theater director - a student of Pyotr Fomenko, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation. I knew that he was the father of Gleb Puskepalis, the boy who played the main role in Koktebel. He somehow came to our shooting, his image sunk into my mind, and soon I could not imagine anyone else in this role. I wrote the script "under Sergey", although I hardly knew him. Then it turned out that many details of the script coincided with the life of Sergei - starting with a very similar communal apartment, where he lived in Saratov with a Caucasian neighbor. Somehow I needed to put something on the refrigerator in the frame, and the first thing that came to hand was some kind of bread box. And then Sergey changes his face and says that he had exactly the same in Saratov. I thought: since everything grows together like that, it means that it is not accidental.

WP | And how did you dare to invite the very famous Leonid Bronevoy to play the role of an elderly actor? They say that he is quite cool in character.

Popogrebskiy | It was clear that everyone's favorite artist should be invited to the role. Immediately thought of Armor. I came to him with a role rewritten especially for him, and we discussed the script in detail. Apparently, something in this story interested him, but wariness was felt. Still, for him I was a man from the street, he did not know anything about me or Koktebel. And then he didn’t act for a long time, because he refused a lot: he didn’t like the scripts. Although the theater is constantly playing and in general a person in demand. I was warned that he had a difficult character. All this difficulty is that he is incredibly demanding of himself, of the material and the group that works with him.

WP | Did he contribute much to his role?

Popogrebskiy | He, I believe, created this role. It was sketchy because it did not correspond to my life experience. He carefully worked with the text, disagreed with something, offered a lot. Remember the scene where he reads Tyutchev - it was not in the script. He offered to read this poem, and I thought: "This is long, the audience will not endure it. Let's take it off, and then cut it out." And now I understand that without this scene there would be no whole image.

WP | Wasn't it scary for Bronevoy to play a terminally ill person?

Popogrebskiy | Naturally, we discussed this and came to the conclusion that everything in the film, in spite of everything, comes to light. And they decided that there is no place for suspiciousness. It was wonderful to work with him: the whole group fell in love with him. No whims, maximum composure. He listened carefully to my opinion, offered a lot.

WG | There was a period of wariness in the relationship between the characters of the film, and then thawing. And in your relationship with Bronev was this?

Popogrebskiy | All the ice melted already in the first take.

WG | And how did the duo Armor - Puskepalis develop?

Sergey Puskepalis | Marvelous. I am happy and don't know whom to thank for the hours spent with Leonid Sergeevich in the decoration of the kitchen while the light was being prepared. He brought some pies for the whole film crew - it was very touching. And while the guys were working, we were chasing tea, Leonid Sergeevich lit a cigarette and began to talk. He is a storehouse of all sorts of stories, legends, myths...

Simple anesthesia

WG | Your film is also about a generation that has learned to live and work for money. And such concepts as decency and conscience are important when they do not interfere with making money. Have you thought about how to remain a decent person when there are a lot of indecent people around?

Popogrebskiy | I am an absolutely modern person - neither an idealist nor an altruist. You just want to do what is interesting, what you feel. And I'm afraid of generalizations. "Koktebel" was perceived by many as a parable, although for me it is a specific story of a father and a child. In "Simple Things" there is also the story of private people: Sergei Maslov with his family and Vladimir Zhuravlev, an old actor. Everything else is born in the interaction between the film and a particular viewer. I, as a director, am only responsible for ensuring that the action of the picture is felt as close to life and people as possible. And honestly speaking, I would find it difficult to formulate its morality.

WP | Still, is it difficult for an honest person to live today? Here's to each of you?

Popogrebskiy | I would not say that it is difficult for me to live. Here, pah-pah, I became a director, I shoot films, I earn money, I live normally, I don’t live in poverty. And you know what amazes me? Everyone perceives our hero Sergei as a real intellectual. It's nice to hear, but if you look closely, he is a drunkard, a womanizer and a bribe taker. Although this is also a good tradition of the Russian intelligentsia ... He's just incredibly charming. The charisma of Sergey Puskepalis works.

WP | Is the fact that the hero is an anesthesiologist just a plot function or is it a metaphor? After all, when there are a lot of people without a rudder and without sails, society also loses its bearings and falls into a drug hibernation.

Popogrebskiy | The anesthesiologist, of course, did not appear by chance. I have surgeons, traumatologists, and ENTs in my family, but there are no anesthesiologists, and I already studied this profession for the film. The anesthesiologist is in charge of the life and death of a person. So Sergey Maslov appeared in the picture. This is not the hero of "Flights in a dream and in reality" or "Autumn Marathon". This is a person to whom reflection is to the detriment. We find him at the moment when reflection is born and throws him off course. Although he psychologically made anesthesia for himself, because on his hands people survive or die and let it into themselves, to worry every time - no one can stand it. Therefore, for me, the film "Simple Things" is about simple things. But very serious: life, death, love and the birth of a person. There is always a temptation to talk about such things with a serious face, as American actors do when it comes to something serious: they make their lips go down and their eyes become so transparent, transparent. For me, this is unacceptable: I believe that everything needs to be spoken openly. Otherwise, it becomes wildly awkward for both you and the person to whom you have to tell the terrible truth. It's like you're in some kind of sticky web. In fact, these things, I repeat, are simple, they do not need to be confused and complicated in oneself. If you take it easier, maybe life will look different.

WP | Do you also think, as many do now, that Dostoevsky spoiled entire generations of Russian intellectuals?

Popogrebskiy | I don't think I screwed up, but he's not my favorite writer. I adore Leskov, Chekhov, Tolstoy. I read almost everything of Dostoevsky, and then I realized that I did not want to re-read it. Although two months ago, for some reason, I suddenly re-read "Demons". Of course, a genius, but not mine. This confusion of the psyche, from which I run both in my life and in my social circle. I've been in psychology for nine years.

WP | How do you solve for yourself the problem of financing and payback of your paintings? And what are the film's distribution prospects?

Roman Borisevich | First of all, thanks to Roskultura. It supported us with Koktebel, they believed in the guys. They gave money for the second pictures - "Simple Things" and "Free Swimming". Now "Simple Things" is at the box office - however, on a small number of screens. But in terms of a copy, the results are not bad. Interest in the film is growing, and I think that it will be at the box office for a long time. Now "Simple Things" is in the main competition of the festival in Karlovy Vary, and "Free Swimming" is in its second competition "To the East from the West". This will certainly increase interest in both paintings.

Secrets of creativity

RG | You can see from the film that you had a very friendly atmosphere on the set. Is it in your nature to equip the world around you like that?

Popogrebskiy | I am not a conflict person and at first I was even afraid: well, what kind of director am I if I don’t like and can’t yell? Maybe I'm not professional at all? It turned out that you don’t have to yell - just everyone has their own method. But I believe: everything that is behind the scenes seeps into the frame, and from there into the hall. And any person on the set is capable of either improving or spoiling everything. He will let go of a cynical joke, swear. There should not be such people in the team - this is the main principle of selecting people.

WP | Judging by the film, you are one of those directors who prefer, according to Stanislavsky, "to die as an actor. "

Popogrebskiy | When I invited my colleagues - cameramen, sound engineer, costume designer - to the film, I said: we must make sure that our work is not conspicuous. The main thing is not how it is done, but how it is lived. The acting ensemble that we have developed is the subject of my pride. We thought: there are no bad actors, but there is an unsuccessful casting. And we had an interesting casting: very different people got into the picture - from famous actors to the general director of the Koktebel film company as a person who unfastens money, and the driver of the film crew - he starred in a scene with a bumper. We were lucky with the actors and I'm happy because I have very little experience with actors and I was a little afraid of them.

WP | Did you film in a real hospital?

Popogrebskiy | And during real operations. Moreover, life in the hospital did not stop - there are a lot of people in the frame who got there by accident. The most interesting for us were the faces of the doctors. The actors of the Soviet cinema played the pathos of the profession. And here the faces are just focused, like a good plumber. We tried to catch this concentration, and we were pleased when doctors turned to Sergey, mistaking him for their colleague.

WP | Your cinema is like "belief cinema": the feeling that the people in the frame are just living, and the camera is watching them. And the frame is not built, and the moment seems to be random.

Popogrebskiy | Boris Khlebnikov and I are interested in documentary films. And we try to go from it to a greater extent than from staged cinema. Our cameraman Pavel Kostomarov is a wonderful documentary filmmaker. In collaboration with Antoine Catten, he made one of the strongest films that I have seen - "Life in Peace". In terms of the depth of penetration into reality, this is something transcendental. Fiction cinema can only dream of such a truth of the existence of a person in the frame. This is exactly what we wanted to capture. For us, questions of the beauty of light, mise-en-scene, framing were the tenth thing - it is important that a person lives in the frame. After all, as it happens: the actor is completely alive, it is interesting to watch him, a lot of some micro-movements, sparks in his eyes slip. But then he enters the frame - and everything ends: all this "molecular" life is lost, monumental easel life begins. And I'm just interested in the details. "Simple things" is the first, perhaps, a student's step in this direction. I also want to shoot the next picture with Pavel Kostomarov and Sergei Puskepalis in the title role. We want to shoot it in Chukotka, I have never been there. In the plot - an extreme situation, but caused not by nature, but by human circumstances.

Normal cynics

WP | You represent a new generation of our filmmakers. What can you say about it? What is it proud of, what does it not accept?

Popogrebskiy | I can hardly imagine who the generation consists of. There are people with whom I communicate. These people do what they can and want to do. My cousin is a traumatologist, I went to see him on duty, and I was struck by how many young guys work there. This is not romance, and there is no talk of ideals, but there is normal work. They earn little, and it is clear that there should be leftist earnings, so normal professional cynicism is always present. But these are people doing their job. And at the same time they do not fall into pathos because they save people every day. And God forbid that people just work honestly and professionally in all areas. There are many such people. I tried to show it in the film.

WP | In addition to the aesthetics of documentaries, a kind of "film travel", what other examples inspire you? French "new wave", Danish "dogma"?

Popogrebskiy | No, we are not "wanderers" - their thought is always pronounced "head-on". This is not my principle, I never liked the Wanderers for their open publicism. I love films that are made as if easily, but don’t understand how, you won’t catch on. Indeed, like the French in the "new wave". My favorite director is Truffaut, there is a lightness and elusiveness of charm, his paintings captivate and puzzle. Of the modern - the Dardenne brothers. A fusion of documentary and fiction, and it is imperceptible that it is fiction. At the same time, they talk about almost biblical plots, which I don’t like in movies. I generally don't like too smart, psychological movies, and this is probably strange, if you keep in mind my first profession as a psychologist. But I think cinema is not the best medium for conveying lofty thoughts. Although the Dardennes succeed without pathos and heaviness. As for the Danish "dogma", this is a marketing ploy by Lars von Trier, a talented person, and until recently I watched each of his films with great interest. But somewhere in the middle I noticed a "hairy hand" that stretches from the screen to my vital organs in order to grab and twist them like that. He deliberately manipulates the viewer. And, having understood this, I drop out of the film.

WP | And what films of our cinema of recent years did you like?

Popogrebskiy | "977" by Nikolai Khomeriki, "Russian" and "Alive" by Alexander Veledinsky, "Moth Games" and "Soldier's Decameron" by Andrey Proshkin, "Free Swimming" by Boris Khlebnikov.

WG | Can there be a topic or life situation about which you will not be allowed to make a film?

Popogrebskiy | Surely there are such topics. Almost all of our films are made with state support, and I can imagine a situation where the state, as a producer, will not support a film because of its subject matter. Thank God, I have not yet encountered such a situation.

WP | And if they collided, what would they do?

Popogrebskiy | I would probably look for funding - private Russian and Western. It's possible, it just needs more time. But I know projects that are filmed in Russia and the countries of the former CIS. Mostly with money raised from private funds and European funds.

Non-conflict people in a conflict situation

RG | At the "Kinotavr" a scandal broke out between critics, and in the center of the scandal - your film "Simple things", which, as it were, pushed into the shadows and deprived of prizes the film "Cargo 200" by Alexei Balabanov. Critics divided into two warring camps, and when your picture received a diploma from the guild of critics and the "small elephant", the enraged "Petersburg group" even left the guild. How did you feel in the center of such a conflict?

Popogrebskiy | Very uncomfortable. The situation seems rather stupid to me, and it remains to look at it all with a share of irony: after all, this is just a movie - why break so many copies? I watched "Cargo 200" at first even with pleasure. And then I did not catch either the "friedness" in which he is accused, or the relevance for which he is praised. Maybe I should watch it again, but I don’t want to - this is not a movie that I like. But I can’t even consider that this film is “darkness” and ours is “beluga whale”, because I can easily imagine a context in which our film will also be perceived as “darkness”. In general, it was unexpected and unpleasant for me that we turned out to be an "apple of discord." If this is so important for critics, we can return the “elephant” given to us. But the form of the dispute does not seem very correct to me: an "open letter" is published, and now our potential viewers do not really understand what prizes they want to deprive us of. For the public, this "elephant", and the main prize of "Kinotavr", and the prize for directing - in one heap. In general, all this is very reminiscent of the cunning PR move of "Cargo 200", the only way I can explain the unexpected adherence of critics to such a private matter.

WP | If this is a PR move, then it did not work: the film, declared the best in cinema history, completely failed at the box office. But back to the problems of "Simple Things" - how do you feel about euthanasia?

Popogrebskiy | Our film is not about euthanasia. This is a specific story of specific people. As for euthanasia, I could not formulate any universal law. But I can imagine a situation in which it is inevitable.

WG | There are countries where it is legal. Would you vote for such a law?

Popogrebskiy | I don't know.

Puskepalis | If I were such a patient, I would probably be interested in this law. But if I were a doctor who is supposed to kill a person, I would refuse. Because - who am I? There is someone upstairs who manages everything.

Popogrebskiy | So I imagined that we would adopt such a law. I think it would be terrible. With us, any good law will immediately turn into a bad one.

WP | Your hero is going through a midlife crisis - it's not for nothing that the film is compared to the "Autumn Marathon". As a psychologist, how would you define a midlife crisis?

Popogrebsky | This is when reflection suddenly overwhelms. And a person begins to think too much about himself, his position in the world, society and family. I think it's harmful. It is necessary to do something urgently - sports, tourism, sex. There is no need to think so much about yourself - in this position, the difference between our picture and the "Autumn Marathon" or "Flights in a dream and in reality." I adore these films, I adore Georgy Daneliya as a director, and it seems to me that our Maslov has more in common with the hero of Daneliya's other film - with "Mimino", whose hero is charming precisely because he lives not by reflection and not reflections. So Maslov is a non-reflexive person.

WP | Many young viewers believe that it is impossible to go to Russian cinema: our actors, unlike Hollywood ones, play unnaturally. How could this happen to the Russian acting school? We are the birthplace of Stanislavsky, Mikhail Chekhov, who taught Hollywood actors!

Puskepalis | In the theater, an actor is like a bat: she flies - peak-peak-peak, catches sound reflections and understands where the obstacles are. Resonance to the actor is given by the spectator in the hall: he listens or coughs, sits or leaves. This is not in the cinema. There is only a director who says whether you play correctly or not. And I came to the conclusion that it is impossible to play a movie good or bad. It can be good or bad. This is absolutely directing art. We had a great ensemble cast and soon we knew each other very well. There wasn't a day that I didn't sit on the set. I already got used to it - this is important. You see, a movie that helps answer the question of why you live is a rarity, it is now, unfortunately, not in demand. Although, I think, sooner or later, fairy tales will get bored and people will again think about the main issues. Because they are building a country. And everything will come to its shores. And about the acting school ... yes, no, our artists are wonderful and work wonderfully.


WG | A question for each of you: tell us about your parents.

Popogrebskiy | My father, Petr Alekseevich Popogrebsky, was a thermal turbine engineer by education, worked at the construction of power plants, where he began to write. He studied at the Higher Script Courses and became a screenwriter. He wrote mainly industrial dramas, his debut was "The Day of Reception on Personal Issues" with Papanov, Basilashvili, Burkov. By the way, that painting supposedly by Repin, which the hero of "Simple Things" gives to Sergei, was actually given to my dad by the director of the film "The Day of Reception on Personal Issues" Solomon Shuster, a well-known St. Petersburg collector. He gave it with the words: "Hold it, Petya, this is probably Repin." Everything is like in the movie. My mother has been an engineer all her life. She, thank God, is alive, has been in Germany for many years, I see her mainly thanks to my films, when we are invited somewhere to the festival.

Puskepalis | My dad, unfortunately, died in 1996. He is from Lithuania, from that post-war generation that went to Russia to earn money. He mastered the expanses of Kazakhstan, then the North, Chukotka, met his mother at these Komsomol construction sites. It is written in my passport that I was born in the Kursk region, the village of Alymsky is a Komsomol construction site, some kind of mines. Then my parents left for the North, because they paid well there. Mom is a Bulgarian from Transnistria, lives in Zheleznovodsk, she was a painter-plasterer when the Bilibino power plant was built. She is already old, and I want to take her to me.

Roman Borisevich | My mother is a native Muscovite, my father is from Baku. He is half-Armenian, half-Belarusian, arrived in Moscow at the age of 17, was the director of the dining car of the Rossiya branded train Moscow - Vladivostok. I even worked with him as a peddler for a while. And my mother worked as an estimate engineer at various construction sites.

WP | Sergey, you are the head of the Magnitogorsk Drama Theatre. How did you feel as an actor? Did your directing experience get in the way?

Puskepalis | The ease of the task was that Alexei asked me not to play, which I no longer know how to do. He said: the main thing is to keep the thought, and the main thought: it is harmful to think. As for acting, I, having entered the direction of Pyotr Naumovich Fomenko, promised myself not to go on stage. And I hold it with all my might, because I think: it is wrong to stage a play and play in it at the same time.

WG | How is the theater in Magnitogorsk doing?

Puskepalis | Not bad. We have a very good troupe. I am trying to create an original theatre, but it is difficult in the provinces: there is only one theater in the city and it must combine different directions in itself. When I arrived there, performances were played only on Saturdays and Sundays. Now, like everywhere else, every day.

Popogrebskiy | They say that cultural life ends at the turn of the Garden Ring. But we traveled with the film to other regions - everywhere there are centers of life. We just talked about the Magnitogorsk Theatre. At the Kinotavr there was a wonderful film from the Kazan studio. The Sverdlovsk film studio is being revived and won the main prize in Venice. Centers of culture are springing up all the time, and God forbid that this continues to happen.

Puskepalis | Recently, our theater was in St. Petersburg at the festival "Rainbow", and there our "Thunderstorm" was recognized as the best performance. It was staged by the absolutely wonderful director Lev Ehrenburg, the creator of the St.

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