Interview of Emir Kusturica and Nele Karajlić, before the concert at the Aéronef (Lille), 29 May 2000

  • How did you meet ?
    • Dr. Nele Karajlić : Not in a bookshop !! (laughs) In fact, we made the same thing in a different way. When Emir made his first film, we recorded our first album. And, we had same the ideas. Otherwise, I believe that our first meeting took place in a radio station.
  • Why did you choose No Smoking for the music of Black Cat, White Cat ?
    • Emir Kusturica : I was born against ! I was born to revolt, just like the group. To have a telephone line, because at the time it was not automatic … it was necessary to fill papers, and as I was badly seen because of my political opinions, I had to pay for some services. Thus, our revolt… which is common because No Smoking sang stories of heroes…
  • What do you like in playing in a group ?
    • EK : My first film told the history of a hero in a group of rock'n'roll. The influences which were important then, were the chewing-gum, the jeans, the toothpaste… which arrived by Italy. And, when I joined No Smoking, for me it was like joining the hero of my film…
    • Dr NK : In the group, we sing stories of characters in a political and social environment. For example, there is a song which tells the story of a guy who steals a car to go on the coast. There is another one, it's a gypsy who sells his horse for 3.000 F and then after he is very sad. (note : laughing in the room because the interpreter translated this last story without saying the price… the singer, repeated 3.000 F so that it is translated…!!)
  • You started by playing bass guitar, then you went to the guitar. Which instrument will you be playing this evening ?
    • EK : Guitar. I learned bass. Very quickly. Then, I learned guitar. Very quickly also (laughs in the public). Both are guitars.
  • What do you feel on stage ?
    • EK : To stay in good shape, it is easier to play on stage than to make plastic surgery ! (laughs in the room, whereas he remains impassive) In fact, on stage, I feel at home. And what helps to hold out, it is this adrenalin push you feel on stage, in front of the public.
  • Don't you think people who come to see you in concert come especially to see the 2 Cannes gold palms winner rather than your group ?
    • EK : (silence) In fact, I think that it is a privilege for me to be able to make both, the cinema and the music. I did not have a plan of career as you imply it… It is like when I was proposed to be an actor. I received scenarios, without really interesting me. But, in fact, what attracted me, was the discovery of a new experiment. To pass on the other side. Because each director imagines his film, and hears it. And, being one element among all attracted me.
  • I think that your son is with you on stage ?
    • EK : Yes, my son plays the battery. He worked during 6-7 years, while many people did not believe in him. And, then, he held on… By the way, it's him who found the name “Unza Unza”. It is when we in were touring Italy, he told the 4-times music he heard in the bars of Belgrade. It was hard rock, metal reggae.. And, that made unza unza unza…
  • What would say on your music ?
    • EK : It is a generous, joyful, anti-depressive music, completely different from the one we hear today which is sad. Showing it on stage makes it possible to feel good…
  • What do you think of Emir Kusturica on stage ?
    • Dr NK : On stage, he jumps more than a team of Football !! He would have to play Football… He has an insane energy to spend… (laugh) He is good, disciplined, and clever ! You know he makes his films like a musician, and when we're in studio, he behaves with the music like a director !!
  • How did you manage to work on the music of the film Black Cat, White Cat ?
    • Dr NK : There were two front lines. We knocked ourselves with ashtrays…!! (laughs) Well, in fact we worked approximately 17 months on the music of this film ! Emir had come one morning to listen to us to repeat. And, he heard a piece he liked well. He came back the following day to ask to us whether he could integrate it into his film. Two days later, he came back, and asked us if we could write a piece of techno. - Hey, it takes only 3 hours to record a piece of techno…! - Then, he came back to ask us a tango… There, I said to him : “Listen Emir, who makes the music of your film? “He answered me : “Well, you !”.
  • Do you think to work with the No Smoking again for your next film ?
    • EK : Yes, because there were excellent songs in the last album. And, we had excellent working conditions. Like a family work. And, that stuck perfectly with Black Cat, White Cat which marked a transition between my old life and the new one, more turned towards the music.
  • What is the message you want to leave when we leave your concert ?
    • EK : That we play elements of traditional music, but in a dynamic way. And, what arises is positivity and energy there is in each one of us. It is like in my last film, it is the first happy-end I made. - what you find in all these bad Hollywood films (laughs in the room) I don't say that the American cinema is bad, but, the films of Hollywood. - Therefore, for once, I wanted to release the positive energy of the characters…
  • What do you privilege when you shoot, the images or the music ?
    • EK : When I think of the story, I project in myself a lot images, but, to stick them, I need a very good ear to see how they are bound by the music.
  • Do you recognize references ?
    • EK : Yes, they are numerous… At each stage of my life, I have had. When I saw Jean Vigo's L'Atalante I felt much poetry… how can one put as much poetry in a film ? Otherwise, I also have Buñuel, Fellini
  • How did you pass from a very dark film like Underground, where you said you left a part of yourself, to Black Cat, White Cat, more festive ?
    • EK : With Underground, I touched the bottom. All that arrived before, during, and after the film has forced me to change life. Black Cat, White Cat, that was the end of the tunnel ! Release of the past. But, I am extremely glad to have been able to say in Underground all that I had to say, to have been able to deliver the political message and history which imported me.
    • Dr NK : It went in the same way with the group. At the time of Underground, we touched the bottom too, we were sinking in Yugoslavia…
  • What is the subject of your next film ?
    • EK : It will be called “The nose”. It is about an actor who plays Cyrano of Bergerac at the theatre. And, 5 minutes before going up on stage, he receives a small package with the nose of his father, cut by the Russian Mafia. At once, he drops all to leave and revenge his father!!

Interview transcription by Julien, translation by Matthieu Dhennin

en/itv_00-05-29_aeronef.txt · Last modified: 2008/02/17 16:23 by matthieu1