Press conference in Montréal, 2000

Emir Kusturica prepares a new film, by Pierre-Mathieu Tremblay

Present at the Festival of World Films of Montreal with his group of music, Emir Kusturica managed to meet the press and to speak about his projects. Summary of the press conference.

Although he's currently touring (musically speaking) with the group The No Smoking Band, the director Emir Kusturica did not give up touring… with a new film. Even if he recognizes having five or six scripts which he would like to shoot, he is sure at 80 % that his next project will be filmed at beginning February. It is the story of an actor who must interpret Cyrano of Bergerac in New York. The evening of the first, he leaves the theatre to go to help a woman captive of the Mafia. When he returns to play Cyrano, he does not need a false nose because his is broken. During all the representation, his nose enlarges until it becomes enormous.

If Kusturica managed to create a dynamic and personal cinema, he makes however a severe assessment on the contemporary cinema : 80 % of today's films are industry. The heroes and the stories are empty.

For illustrating his thought, he uses the parabola of tomatoes : If you produce a million tomatoes, you risk that your tomatoes are worse than if you plan only one hundred.

Although he criticizes the Hollywood production calmly, Kusturica does not believe however that the part of the independent cinema is lost in advance : New technologies are the future of independent cinema. It is increasingly easy to make a film with little means.

But if it is easier to direct a film, there will remain always the problem of the diffusion : I have a boat in Greece. A very old boat which had one day needed some repair. The man who came to repair it then gave me a collection of poems he had written. I pointed out to him that the father of Fellini also renovated buildings and he said to me : But who is this Fellini ?

If Kusturica does not hide any more his desire to make cinema, it was not always that easy. After the splendid Underground (1995), dealing about the situation in Yugoslavia, which gained the golden Palm in Cannes, he declared publicly that he gave up the cinema. At the time, several observers had associated this decision to the many criticisms who took party the director “a pro-Serb film”, according to Westerners' “a pro-Bosnian film”, declared one in Moscow. Bernard-Henri Lévi was among the criticisms just like the German philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, who showed pro-Serb Kusturica of propaganda… while not having ever seen the film !

But according to the director, his decision had nothing to do with the opinion of pseudo-philosophers, one day inspired by May 68, the following day Maoist, whose thought changes with the liking of the modes. After Underground, I was exhausted, problems of health and a delicate marital situation. Later, I realized that it was for me extremely suicidal not to make films anymore. He then started Black Cat, White Cat.

He also rises of the English term given to designate the directors : storyteller. For me, a director is not a storyteller. He is an architect [… ] When I shot Arizona Dream (1993), I did not realize that Jerry Lewis, Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway spoke English because I was preoccupied too much by the other aspects of the film.

As for his presence in Montreal with The No Smoking Orchestra, Kusturica declares that it is a very good idea bringing the music in a Film Festival. Particularly that of Montreal, bus tries to preserve the cinema of the world without yielding to the pressure of Hollywood. Our music, like my cinema, is free. It is thus easier to touch people of a festival of film if they search free films, they are opened to listen to such a music.

the original article by Pierre Matthieu

Thanks to Pierre-Matthieu Tremblay for allowing the publication on this site.

Translation by Matthieu Dhennin