Emir has signed a new contract with Studio Canal for three films : Hungry Heart will be the first…
AFP news of 18 june 2001, 7h59
LYON, 18 june (AFP) - 12 years ago, Aïcha walked the red carpet of the Palais des festivals in Cannes: she was Baba, the grand mother of Emir Kusturica's film, “Time of the Gypsies”. Today, Aïcha, temporarily living in the Rhône, has made a asilum request after fleeing away from Montenegro where she says being harassed by the maffia.
This Rrom, of 59 years old, show old photos where we see her at an official dinner with the Bosnian director (Golden Palm in 1985 and 1995) and Gilles Jacob, director of the Cannes Film Festival. She was told he was the president, and thus she's sure it was Jacques Chirac.
Without any regret, Aïcha, puts her hand on her heart, to express her greeting toward the “nice” persons she met in Cannes, like this unknown american who gave her his ring.
This mother of nine children sits on a bed, patiently. The face old and burnt by the sun of the Balkans, she wears a scarf on her head, braids, earrings, a teenager tee-shirt and a purple satine skirt.
Slowly, she lights a cigarette, and says with her rocky voice she simply want “water, bread, and a house to be quiet in France”.
10 days ago, this Montenegrin left ex-Yugoslavia, persecuted, she says, by “the maffia” who was asking her money, threatening to kill her, which she describes sliding her hand horizontally close to her neck. This same maffia has destroyed her house she had built with the money of the film, leaving her without any money, explains her son, Alexander, politic refugee, who translates the conversation in French to the AFP journalist.
Carefully, her mother doesn't want her full name to be published no the precise place where she is.
Kusturica, a “man of heart”
She has endured the fate of thousands of ex-Yugoslavia inhabitants who escaped from their country, through Albania and the harbour of Vlora, unhuman conditions of the crossing to join Brindisi in Italy, from where she went to Lyon in a truck.
The actress of onely one director recalls of Emir Kusturica, a “man of heart”. For him, she was Baba, the grand mother who takes care of her grand-son Perhan, before he gets to rob to survivre, in Italy, on the gypsy tunes of Goran Bregović. Later, she was Sujka, in “Black Cat White Cat” (1998).
She hasn't seen Kusturica since three years, but if he proposed her to play in another film, she would accept immediately, yet worrying with humour of his answer, because she lost, since then, some front teeth.
In 1987, collaborators of Kusturica came to her place in Montenegro to propose her a role in “Time of the Gypsies”. She had met him for the first time in Skopje, in Macedonia, th same year.
During one of the last scenes of the film, Baba refuses once more any money to her son turned mad. To take revenge, he pulls with a bulldozer the structure of the prefeb house of his mother, who finds herself in night dress under the rain, protecting her grand daughter…
“With the maffia, it's the contrary of the film, I gave all my money, hoping they would leave me in peace”, she explains.
Aïcha is called on 10 september by the préfecture du Rhône for an official consideration of her asilum request.
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