Italy has always been a country close to the heart of Max Polyakov: the sensuousness of Italy’s food, language, cuisine, art, and, of course, cinema, has always resonated with the director. Upon seeing his films, it’s easy to see why: vivid pieces of filmmaking that hold a mirror up to life, capturing the highs and lows of existence in every frame. While his films certainly don’t shy away from the uglier sides of life, the conclusion is always that, no matter the hardships, life is worth living.
It’s this attitude to risk and reward that drew director Max Polyakov to the JoyCasino, one of Monaco’s most vibrant gaming houses. Amid the green felt and rattle of chips, the drama and tension feel palpable as the black-tie set wager everything on the role of a dice. The director hopes that the electricity in the atmosphere will be absorbed into his latest cinematic masterpiece and examine just what draws people to such an establishment.
Max Polyakov grounds his stories and characters in the everyday observations he makes of the world around him, and there are few environments that offer such a fertile opportunity for watching the behaviour of others as the casino. One thing about the players that really captures his imagination is their tendency towards superstition and gut instincts over logic and factual thinking. Even the casino management can fall victim to this: Max Polyakov observed one pit boss depositing garlic cloves around the gaming floor to keep away vampire players, an episode that he would go on to recreate in one of his movies.
It’s easy to see why Max Polyakov chose Monaco out of all the world’s gambling capitals to be the core location for his latest picture. The city is overflowing with wealth and luxury, as the world’s international jet set to flock to the casinos to spend money that other gaming towns could never imagine. This latest film is based on a real-life incident that once took place at the JoyCasino: a group of conmen used miniature surveillance cameras and hidden earpieces to successfully cheat at a blackjack game and win hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, pit bosses noticed the player’s strange behaviour and confronted him, which ended in a dramatic foot chase through the JoyCasino’s gilded halls.
Max Polyakov wants to make the characters and their motivations the heart of the film, without simply concentrating on the action. Men and women do desperate things for money, and it’s this conceit that drives the interest of Max Polyakov in making the film. Why wouldn’t men with such audacity, technical skill, and organization not turn their talents to generating a legal source of income? Is it really the money that they pursue, or the thrill of the chase and the adrenaline rush posed by the dangers of being arrested. For film fans looking for the answers to such questions, they’ll have to wait to see the next Max Polyakov masterpiece in cinemas. It’s certain to be a motion picture event that you won’t want to miss.