Julie, Sebastian and Zhivago
Sebastian Rosacker has a passion for
David Lean's "Doctor Zhivago", which he has seen at least 200 times. On the
occasion the Danish digital 4K re-release, I caught him in Imperial Bio's
foyer for a quick talk about his life-long interest in this film. The day
was unique, as it was also Julie Christie's 75th birthday.
|Read more at|
The 70mm Newsletter
Interviewed and photographed by: Thomas
Hauerslev. Imperial Bio's foyer, Copenhagen, Denmark 14. April 2016.
Rosacker at the Imperial Bio, Copenhagen 14. April 2016 on the occasion of
the Danish re-release of "Doctor Zhivago" in 4K.
Tell me a little bit about your
Sebastian: I was born on April 28, 1953 in
Helsingborg, close to
Denmark. I have been an opera singer, and I mainly worked at the opera in Malmö but also at Fredriksdalsteatern in Helsingborg, with Nils Poppe, and
at the Opera in Gothenburg. Last summer I did a concert with excerpts from
Die Walküre by Richard Wagner in Birgit Nilsson's church in Västra Karup,
Sweden. I was lucky to sing the part of Wotan together with great singers
like Iréne Theorin (Brünnhilde), Gitta-Maria Sjöberg (Sieglinde), Anette Bod
(Fricka) and Visti Hald (Siegmund), accompanied by Bo Ericsson and Ulrich
Stærk. I am retired, but still sing occasionally and work as a projectionist
at the Kino theater in Lund, Sweden. I enjoy both my work and my freedom
THa: When did you first see "Doctor
SR: That was in February 1968*), at the
Royal Theatre in Malmö,
and the second time in May at the same place. I saw it twice at the Royal,
and then I saw it 4 times at the Palladium in Helsingborg. **).
THa: How many times have you seen "Doctor Zhivago"?
SR: I usually say about 200 times, but I have no idea. Many times at home,
in my home theatre as well.
THa: What is it that appeals to you about "Doctor Zhivago"?
SR: It has everything. Best photo, best film, best actors and actresses,
best music, you name it. It has everything. But it is the Zhivago character
I like the most. He is a man not seeking revenge. How bad the situation ever
is, no revenge. That is big. That is what appeals to me because that is the
future, I believe. I don’t think we will have wars in the far future even if
it doesn’t look like that right now. Zhivago is, to me, a man of the future.
I have read the book, and this is the theme in the book. In the novel by
Boris Pasternak Yuri says to Lara: "I don't think I could love you so
much, if you had nothing to complain of and nothing to regret. I do not like
people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of
little value. Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them". Strong,
wonderful and, to me, true words.
THa: Why do you see it 200 times? Do you see new things?
SR: Maybe less and less, but still, I focus on different things on the set
and everything. Like today, I noticed Julie Christie's knitted gloves, and
there were holes in them, and I had not seen that before, as an example
[laughs]. What art do they have on the walls in the different homes. I look
for different things, and I find different things. It actually took me quite
a while to find David Lean in it. Even if I knew where he is supposed to be
seen in the film I didn't discover him until I had seen it several times.
THa: Why is "Zhivago" special to you compared to other films?
SR: I guess it has to do first of all with this Zhivago figure who doesn't
look for revenge, and then op top of that, all the fantastic actors, with
Julie Christie as the real lead. I mean, she is so good, and she is so
beautiful. Al Pacino is so right when he calls her ”The most poetic of all
THa: She is in other movies as well
SR: Yes, and I know she doesn’t even like this film, but I love her in it
|More in 70mm reading:|
"Doctor Zhivago" at the Royal,
on the largest screen in Sweden
Pictures: "Doctor Zhivago" in
70mm: The Gallery
Classics at the
Facts For Editorial Reference
About The Making Of Doctor Zhivago
The Latest Word From
METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER on DAVID LEAN’S Film of DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. From The
Novel By Boris Pasternak
Rosacker outside the Imperial Bio, 14. April 2016
THa: Are there any other films like
Zhivago that you enjoy to see
SR: Of course, "Far From the Madding Crowd", "The Go-Between",
"Afterglow", "Finding Neverland",
"Hamlet" and "Darling" of
course. There are more films with her I like. I think I have almost all her
films, which are release on DVD and Blu-ray.
THa: What is your most priced "Doctor Zhivago" collectible?
SR: I think it is the British poster actually, and not the common one. They
have two British posters. Zhivago, Tonya and Lara in the middle, there are
no horses in between. It is blue and you see big streets behind them. It's
hand painted, and I think that is the one I cherish the most.
THa: How do you come across these things?
SR: eBay and other places. I have posters from many many countries. Denmark,
Germany, Australia, several from America, two from England, Italy, France,
Argentina, Japan and more, Sweden of course. Lobby cards from Sweden, USA,
Mexico and Spain. Programmes and lots of photo’s.
THa: Is that something you look for when you travel?
SR: I have done, yes, but I have so much now. But, of course, I keep my eyes
THa: Did the screening today live up to expectations?
SR: Mostly, yes. It was fantastic. It looked really, really good on the
screen. Unfortunately, they have butchered the Overture. It was the same in
London, so it is probably this release. The first two drumbeats in the
Overture are gone. They are not there. I do not know, someone butchered the
Overture. That disturbs me quite a lot. I do not think the composer [Maurice
Jarre] would like that very much. But otherwise it was great, it looked
fantastic. I was very happy to see it, and I might come again before it is
over here [at the Imperial]. Because it is wonderful to see it on a big
screen like this.
THa: Does the big screen improve the film for you?
THa: Why do you think that is?
SR: You see more details, and ”Doctor Zhivago" is so full of details.
Not only what you watch, but also what you can observe in between the lines,
what they say, how they react, their relationships. I see ”Doctor Zhivago"
as sort of an egg completely full of information. It is definitely not an
empty egg. If you can compare a film like that with an egg.
Rosacker outside the Imperial Bio, 14. April 2016
THa: I know you have met Mrs
Christie, what did she tell you?
SR: She kissed me on both cheeks (I haven’t washed my face since that day),
and thanked me for the little gift I brought her. I invited her to my
"Doctor Zhivago" -screening at the Royal. She sent me a nice post card
telling that she unfortunately couldn't come. She seems to be a very nice
THa: ...and she doesn’t like "Zhivago"....
SR: Well, she didn't tell me that, but I read it in a book about her. I will
never forgive her for that. Well, maybe I will.
THa: How did you feel about meeting Mrs. Christie?
SR: You know how you feel when you are in love. I was shy and I trembled!
[Laughs]. I was very, very happy. It was thanks to Mark and Margaret, our
friends in London. I got an e-mail from them with the title: Now it can be
told: We have a ticket for you to the pre-premiere of Julie Christie’s new
film "Away from Her", and she will be there for Q&A's. So we met her
after the film, and I was in heaven [laughs]. Just look into her eyes...when
you see a film with her, she doesn’t need to say her lines. The expression
in her eyes.....
THa: Did you sleep well that night?
SR: No. Well, maybe a little and I dreamed about her.
THa: Tell me about the
Royal [in Malmö] and your work with that, because
that started with "Doctor Zhivago", I seem to recall.
It did. It was for my 45th birthday. Before it all started I was thinking,
"When I turn 50, I want to see "Doctor Zhivago" at the Royal".
A friend said "Forget it, they will close the Royal soon". So I
instantly got in touch with them, and they liked the idea, so they arranged
it with me. 531 happy people where there for the occasion and they wanted
more. SF Bio, Malmö, wanted to do one screening a month but we decided to do
it every second month instead. It was a very happy period of my life.
THa: How many times did you run "Zhivago" at the Royal?
SR: Twice. On my 45th and my 55th birthday
THa: Did the audience appreciate to see "Zhivago"?
SR: Yes, but of course some people thought it was a little too long, but
most of them, 99,99%, loved it, and they said "it was wonderful to see it
on a big screen again, instead of on the TV", you know.
on the 1. February 2009, in front of his "Doctor Zhivago" display case in
THa: What kind of reactions do you
get from people when they find out you are such a fan of this film?
SR: They are usually very nice and understanding but I don't think they dare
to say what they really think [laughs]
THa: Is there a "Doctor Zhivago" community?
SR: I don't know. There is a
"Mad World" community, but I don't think
there is a "Doctor Zhivago" community. Maybe I should start one on
Facebook? You have given me an idea. That could be interesting.
THa: Did you visit some of the film locations?
SR: No, unfortunately not. I have heard about the place in Finland, and the
place outside Madrid as well, but I have never been there. That would be
nice one day.
THa: Any last thoughts?
SR: I think it is interesting they did not dare to show it in Russia until
1994. I was in Russia long before that, we were of course only allowed
certain places, and we were in a restaurant that played the music from "Zhivago"
THa: Is it the last time you have seen
"Doctor Zhivago" today?
SR: Yes, I’ve had enough now! Ha ha, are you kidding? I’ll continue to watch
it at least once a year.
*) 10/2 1968 and 11/5 1968.
**) Four times in 7OMM at the Palladium in Helsingborg: 22/7 (premiere), 14/9, 6/10
and 20/10 (last performance).
***) 26/4 1998 and 5/4 2008.
Sebastian, Classics and The Royal
Projectionist Hans Braman, Royal, Malmø, Sweden
70mm Cinema Profile
The Royal, Malmö
Classics at the Royal.
The largest screen in Sweden
"My Fair Lady" at the Royal. The
largest screen in Sweden
"Doctor Zhivago" at the Royal. Free
screening on the largest screen in Sweden
"Doctor Zhivago" in 70mm: The
This was a thrill
Swedish Screening in Todd-AO: "Those
Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines...", 16. March 2013
Sebastian and the 70mm Film
A Magnificent Todd-AO Day in
|Go: back - top - back issues - news index