Bojan Vuletić: “We lead towards a total identity crisis”

Interview

 

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. 

 

Bojan Vuletić at opening ceremony of Bratislava IFF. Photo: Martin Žilka

 

Lea Pagáčová

 

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.