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L.E.P.: Lectio Equaria Palaestra (Manege Horse Reading)

L.E.P. Manege horse reading.

Documentary Russia, 2010.

Film director: Alexander Nevzorov

Every film by Alexander Nevzorov provokes a lot of questions: to the author, to history, to ourselves. The first channel has presented the first night show of the film by Alexandr Nevzorov “Manege horse reading”. The film being over its bottom ideas inspired hot controversy among its viewers.  

Alexander  Nevzorov: “This film represents a screen version of  famous quotation by Einstein: “Human mind which has once extended its borders can never go back to old dimensions.” It is a film about  human mind capacity which has made it clear that intelligence is not our exclusive possession. It is an attribute of many mammals. If anyone nurtures illusions of this kind they have to reshape their views.”  

The author claims: Although in comparison with the rest of the animal world the class of primates is inferior in everything: in speed, in strength, in reaction, in hunting skills – still primates feel extremely jealous whenever intelligence is concerned. People tend to view their mental abilities as their differentiating feature and feel deeply hurt whenever, for instance, mammals display theirs. The author disproves this myth in his film. 

“Manege horse reading” is a translation from Latin Lectio Equaria Palaestra – abbreviated variant - L.E.P. This is a stunning method which claims: any horse can be taught to understand alphabet and words and as a result to read. But it is a surface. The true essence of this manege practice represents a human attempt to show a horse that a teacher is an intelligent living being while the horse demonstrates its mental abilities.

Alexander Nevsorov: “When a horse comes into contact with a human for the first time it faces another animal which is badly lacking any intelligence from its point of view. Namely, it tries to cross interspecific barrier, produces sounds which are perceived as wild as hippopotamus’s shrieks by a horse. Believe me the horse gets no more information from a human voice. To crown it all, the inadequate creature called a human makes the horse perform some strange actions or even worse uses forceful coercion.  Manege  reading practices enable a man to demonstrate his intelligence to the horse”.

What will happen to a man deprived of any “human” skills such as reading and writing? Why do we think of animals watching some human actions? How will any human be capable of self expression without hands or a tongue? What severe trials did the medieval scientists have to go through in order to carry on with their researches of human essence and brain? The new film by Alexander Nevzorov is intended to answer these and many other questions.

Some facts and numbers from the film.

  • It took a year to bring the project into life. The film was made on the borderline of a feature film and a documentary. To make his ideas sound even more convincing the author illustrates them with true stories from the past boldly travelling through the time.
  • Original props provide the impression of a true to life picture. This postulate was a primary one during the filming process that is why all the props are genuine. The major part of film property was acquired by the author from various museums and private collections. For example, in the scene with a Templar the king of Portugal is holding a genuine gothic silver cup dated by the XIV century. Genuine books, genuine swords…. Even the skeleton dates as back as the XV century.     
  • The film viewers get a unique opportunity to watch real lessons of Manege Reading given by Alexander Nevzorov at his school. They represent School visual aids and were not intended primarily for the film. Kaogi or Kao as Nevzorov calls him starring in his pupil part came into author’s life three and a half years ago, now he is nine. He has an extensive vocabulary. Although he has no idea of declinations and conjugations he can carry on a dialogue on various topics. However there are few ones who can understand him because Kaogi as well as the other School students speak Latin.
  • More than 100 costumes of different historical periods have been made for the film. The costumes which are kept in the central studio didn’t suit the author in the majority of cases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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