10 Questions for Jean-Marc Barr

(Interview)

Zuzana Golianová asked Jean-Marc Barr 10 questions.

 

1/ The theme of this year’s Bratislava International Film Festival (the Bratislava IFF) is film acting. How do you see the profession of a film actor today? As an actor and as a director, how do you think it evolves/changes over time?

As a culture the film world is occupied by corporate thought and its product. If it is to survive as a culture, films and the actors and directors involved will have to find a way to resist the homogeneity.

2/ European cinema is still a big topic. What principles or phenomena do you consider characteristic of it?

European cinema can be characterized by the mix in cultures and educations, so different on this continent that can come together to produce an alternative to the Hollywood product.

3/ Not every book is literature, not every film is cinema. What do you think good cinema means?

If a film can make you forget that you are sitting in a dark room and give you a drama so credible that it becomes part of you, that it makes you question your certainties, then it is good cinema.

4/ As you often mention, one of the main topics in your work is freedom – spiritual as well as physical. With every new role, every next collaboration, every new experience, you move ahead and grow. How has this theme evolved in you so far?

Freedom for me is when the work that I do can inspire someone to recognize and resist the oppression in their own life. Finding the courage together to make this a better world.

5/ Journalists often ask you about your cooperation with Luc Besson and Lars von Trier, how they are different and how they approach their work. What has affected you as an artist?

Luc is more involved in big business, franchises – the show. For me Lars takes cinema to more of a metaphysical endeavour. He is not only there to take your money, but actually he offers links to recognize our own humanity.

6/ You visited the Bratislava IFF already in 2012 (when presenting Sexual Chronicles of a French Family). This year you came back to shoot The Cellar and now you are here as the main festival guest and receiving its award. Do you like revisiting old places?

I know Bratislava a little better now after having shot The Cellar. Returning here warms my heart as the city is no longer a stranger. I love returning.

7/ During the festival, you’ll also have your own masterclass. What are you planning to focus on and why?

I will try my best to share what I know. It’s my first masterclass.

8/ How was the shooting of The Cellar? Has it fulfilled your expectations as a European film project?

Working with Igor was fun, the cast and crew were very close and I believe it will be a beautiful European film.

9/ For the festival you’ve selected the film Grain – a strongly visual and meditative work that shows you in a new role. Why did you go with this film and how did you find its shooting?

We shot the film in black and white, in English, in the beautiful geography of Anatolia. The shooting of the movie was difficult, like a physical and spiritual boot camp. The film just won the award for best film at the Tokyo Film Festival. I think it will have a good life.

10/ You often say that you have chosen the status of a “nobody”, a “clown”, rather than that of a celebrity. Your movies are very popular, some to the point of being considered cult films. Is it still the case or is there something that has changed?

With the Internet and VOD, a movie today now has the chance to keep on living after its theatrical and TV release. That makes it exciting because the films don’t die like they used to before VOD.

 

Thanks/Merci/Grazie/Ďakujem

Zuzana Golianová

Based on votes cast by the visitors, the Bratislava IFF Viewers’ Choice Award went to Wanuri Kahiu’s second feature film Rafiki (2018) about forbidden love in Kenya.

Awards of the 20th Bratislava IFF 2018

“If you’re lucky enough to make living of something you really love, there is a downside – you don’t do it for fun, it’s a job.”

 

Tomáš Hudák. He studied Film studies (criticism) at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava (VŠMU). He’s a fan of film, music, literature and the art as such. He’s a freelancer, writing film reviews and co-organizing several Slovakian film festivals.

“It’s nice to step out from the bubble of social networks – the binary world of likes/unlikes to be part of the group of totally different people, who are connected only by the skateboards.”

 

Šimon Šafránek. – director, journalist, DJ – multi-genre artist with the sensation of music and word. He’s a freelancer, writing for the Denník N, Hospodářské noviny, Reflex, Magnus etc.

“Films make us better, braver, more romantic and free”

 

Bibiana Ondrejková. A popular theatre and voice actress and presenter. The general public knows her as the Slovak voice of Phoebe Buffay from the TV show Friends. Upon seeing her, viewers will associate her with the Slovak TV series The Defenders (2014), Red Widow (2014), Homicide Old Town (2010) or Block of Flats (2008).

“Actors infuse film with emotion and give it a soul”

Daniel Rihák. A fresh graduate of film directing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava under the leadership of prof. Martin Šulík. A director of (so far) student films and a number of commercials. His graduation film The Trip recently won the Best Director and Best Sound awards at the Áčko Student Film Festival.

“All women have the power to change things”

 

Ivana Hucíková belongs to the generation of young Slovak filmmakers. She studied at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, from which she graduated in 2015 with her film Mothers and Daughters. A Bratislava citizen from Orava, living and creating in Slovakia and the USA. So far, she has made several short documentary films: Into My Life (2018), Connie & Corey (2017) and is currently working on the development of several film projects as their director, producer or editor.

“Cinema is a great medium for sharing common European values”

 

Dominika Jarečná was born in 1999 in Bratislava. She currently studies Theory and History of Arts at the Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University in Brno (Czech Republic). She was a member of the Giornate degli Autori jury at this year’s Venice IFF and is a LUX Prize ambassador for the years 2018 and 2019.

Film festival: “It’s a bit like a vacation full of stories”

Alena Sabuchová is a young Slovak author and screenwriter. For her debut collection of short stories Back rooms, Alena was awarded the Ivan Krasko Prize for the best Slovak-language debut as well as the Tatra banka Foundation Young Artist Award in the category of literature. She writes scripts for television and radio, and is currently working on her second book, which will be published next year.

“These films were among the most awarded debut films at this year’s leading festivals”

 

Nenad Dukić. Serbian film critic, who has been collaborating with the team of people preparing The Bratislava International Film Festival for 8 years now. This year (the 20th anniversary of the festival’s existence), he is again the compiler of the Fiction Competition and co-compiler of the section Cinema Now.

The popular section Cinema Now brings an overview of the most remarkable films of the season. Its curators, Nenad Dukid and Tomáš Hudák, have assembled the most interesting movies that have stirred the waters of world’s major festivals. For 20 years, the Bratislava IFF has been supplying the Slovak film public with names, which often become stars of the screen.

The curators of the section Lexicon: Female gaze, festival programmer Tomáš Hudák and the director of this year’s festival spot Ivana Hucíková, have focused on the status of women in cinema, their portrayal in film, and the uniqueness of a woman’s experience.