On Saturday, November 14, Bratislava International Film Festival held a gala evening to present its Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award upon actress Emília Vášáryová and make her the newest holder of the memorial tile on the Film Walk of Fame in Bratislava downtown.
An exceptional woman and an outstanding artist, Mrs. Vášáryová manifested her flair and sense of humour immediately upon receiving the symbolic award when she commented: “I hope the people won’t step on me too much and will prefer to walk around [my tile],” adding promptly: “I hoped you would wait for a little while longer and give it to me when I’m dead.” Following the ceremony, the newest award laureate started our brief interview in the same good-tempered tone.
At the beginning of the ceremony Mrs. Mária Reháková, former president of the Bratislava film festival and founder of the Film Walk of Fame, mentioned that this award was number 27 to your credit. Yet, I can’t help resist the feeling that this one is somewhat special as it is not for any particular role but for your lifetime work and contribution to Slovak cinema and theatre. How does it feel to you?
I don’t know. I am not rushing anywhere yet. I hope I still have something ahead of me. I will have to do my best so that it does not feel like I am washed out. My life is not over yet.
I doubt any of us would assume so; we rather watch you in awe and marvel at everything you are still able to cope with. Do you manage to find any time at all in your busy schedule to relax and enjoy watching films or do you only make them?
Well, not too often. For instance, yesterday we returned from a big international film festival in Thessaloniki with director Marko Škop. While I was there, I finally said to myself that I would sit down and watch the picture. And so I saw Eva Nová. And today I watched The Copper Tower. I have seen it once or twice and now I saw it for the third time. Because a TV screen would just not do. The camera is so wonderful. Mr. [DP Karol] Krška was certainly one of the best European cameramen and shot that picture gorgeously. It is a pleasure to the eye to watch it on the big screen. I generally don’t like to watch 35 mm films on television. Whenever I can, I like to go watch them in a cinema. I would describe myself as an avid film fan. Last pictures I have seen were Youth [by Paolo Sorrentino] and The Cleaner [by Peter Bebjak] and I was delighted with both.
You said you were a film fan… Do you still keep any movie dreams or ambitions? Perhaps you have read a book that gave you an idea for a motion picture you would like to play in…
I don’t have any movie dreams. I don’t even have any normal dreams. So… I guess I prefer to wait for whatever falls into my lap.
You have mentioned your latest film, Eva Nová. You are just about to set out on a tour to a number of towns around Slovakia to promote it. How would you describe the film and your cooperation with director Marko Škop?
He is a wonderful person. I am happy to have met him. He is my blood type and we get along very well. Today I think I can say that he is my friend. I am very glad that the film saw the light of the day, that he eventually talked me into making it and that we made it together.
How do you choose films you will play in? What was the something that placed Eva Nová over perhaps another film?
I always care very much about who comes to me, who wants to make it, what theme they will pitch, what is the subject-matter, how well it is written, who will appear in it next to me, what colleagues they offer me, who will shoot it, what will be the setting, etc. All these are the factors I tend to consider for a long time. I consider them for a very long time before I say yes or no.
You have ample experience from various areas. Have you ever been tempted to sit in a director’s chair?
No! Why, it is the hardest job; one of the toughest professions there are. A director always keeps one leg in prison, so to speak. It’s terrible. They must raise the money, then they must manage the budget, they must attend to everything by themselves… It is a very tough profession. Never in my life would I desire that. And I admire them for it very much. All those who set out to do it; who are able to pull it off; who are brave enough; who manage to write the script, put the money together… they deserve admiration.
By Anna Predmerská
Translated by Daniel Borský