The Serbian director Bojan Vuletić is attending the 19th edition of the Bratislava IFF not only as a member of the main competition jury, but also to introduce the audience to his successful film Requiem for Mrs. J. On this occasion, Lea Pagáčová asked our festival guest a few questions.
LP: What was your inspiration for Requiem for Mrs. J.?
BV: The idea for the story of REQUIEM FOR Mrs. J. originates from the intimate acquaintance with a woman who, it seems, embodies a typical victim of the transition process in Serbia. She is a modest, quiet woman, who does not want to bother anyone. Without a job or redundancy pay, without a husband or even the will to go out from her apartment, feeling unwanted and rejected by her family, Mrs. J finds the parts of an old family gun and decides to assemble it. The film deals with one of the painful and unavoidable issues in Eastern Europe – social transition and economic crisis. The new political and economic system are altering the old face of socialism, bringing big changes in the value system, which inevitably leads, as in this case, to a total identity crisis.
LP: Could you describe a casting process for this film?
BV: From the moment I started writing this script, I knew that Mirjana Karanovic was the right actress for this role. Working with her is the best experience I’ve had so far. Emotional, honest and with a distinct energy, she is a versatile artist whose pedagogical work as well as a theater director present an indispensable part of the cultural life of the region and Europe. We went through all the phases of the process together: talking about the script, rehearsals with other actors, and during this course, I learned a lot from her because her experience is incredible and valuable. Jovana and Vučić I met during the casting audition. Jovana is a character actress of a younger generation. Her special personal style provides her with a wide emotional specter, often enriched with authentic humor. Also, Vučić has drawn attention to himself with his authentic minimalist style adorned by his distinctive emotion and sincerity in close-ups, making him one of the most exciting film actors of the younger generation.
LP: What do you consider as a “must have” of film actor/actress that you are working with?
BV: This is a very difficult question. Every actor is an unique artist. Each actor is authentic, charismatic and has its own special character. However there is one thing without there is no good result. It is TRUST. Trust between actor and director is the most important thing. If there is no trust there is no good result.
LP: What qualities of audiovisual media are the most important for your artistic expression?
BV: Every thing is equally important. In this film I have worked on producing this atmosphere with my colleagues- artists: Jelena Stanković as DOP, Zorana Petrov as Production Designer and Lana Pavlović, Costume designer, very seriously. From the beginning, we wanted to visually recreate the mental state of our heroine. We realized that her perspective (point of view), on the last few days of her life is crucial. Since she is already with one foot in her grave, she cannot see things in a realistic way anymore. Dreamlike and oneiric visual style was established. At the same time, we wanted the film to stay realistic. In the end, I feel we achieved a very nice balance.