"Kusturica celebrates love and fresh air" - interview published in French newspaper Le Figaro, 29 january 2008

The director of «Underground» signs an initiatory tale on tradition and modernity.

«Promise me this», Comedy of Emir Kusturica, with Uroš Milovanović, Marija Petronijević, Aleksandar Berček. Length 2 h 6.

The Serbian director with two golden palms (for When father was away on business and Underground) comes back with Promise me this, a lively and over powerful fable. The story of a peasant, Tsane, that his grandfather, before dying, sends down town with the mission of bringing back an icon, a souvenir and a bride.

  • What means this triple mission ?
    • Emir Kusturica : It looks like these injunctions in the tales : go to the city, make three things and return. That seems simple, but the consequences which result from this are complicated. Tsane must first bring back an icon, which marks the place of Religion. For the Serbs, saints are very important. The icon accompanies Tsane and brings humanity to the city.
  • Does Religion also count for you ?
    • EK : I am moderately religious, but I consider those who do not believe in the existence of God more limited than those who believe in it. Today, the personality is burst. Only the smell of God gives the unity. Without God, you will never harmonize with the rest of the world.
  • In Promise me this, there is an opposition between countryside, where Tsane comes from, and the city, where he's initiated to modernity.
    • EK : Yes, he discovers capitalism, gangsters and property developers. Today, it's obvious that the multinationals are destroying the democracy. But I treated that by the joke and by showing that everywhere we can meet nice people. Tsane finds burlesque twins to guide him. It's a cartoon idea. There's also this kind of buffoon characters in the spaghetti westerns. And I love the cinema of Sergio Leone, his splendid exaggeration. The souvenir that Tsane brings back from the city, it's not a thing, but meetings.
  • Yourself, You've chosen to live in the countryside…
    • EK : Serbia is the last country of Europe where the purity of air still exists, in the countryside. But if you live down town you simply don't have quite enough oxygen and that affects your brain and your way of thinking. These four last years, I built my village. It's important for me to try to bring together the life and the cinema. I am happy when I can work in family. There, my son is one of the characters and it's him who composed the music.
  • Did you enjoy making this film ?
    • EK : Most of the actors are not professionals and that gave me a particular excitation to work with them. They allowed me to get into the story in a fresh way. Professionals bring effectiveness, but also sometimes routine.
  • But you're a professional. Do you fear the routine  ?
    • EK : It's a danger when you become skilful in your art. Visconti is one of my favourite directors, but his last films do not communicate emotion any more.
  • What do you do to avoid this danger  ?
    • EK : I correct what my visions have of too precise to let some place with improvisation, I try to remain open to new feelings and new challenges.
  • You love politics. What do you think about Kosovo ?
    • EK : Europe wants to give independence to Kosovo while exploding the area, without any concern of the Serb minority which is found in an impossible situation. Many Serbs perished in Kosovo to prevent the Turks from settling in Europe, and, six hundred years later, one makes an international decision dictated by a pragmatism of circumstance which breaks the rules.

Interview by Marie-Noëlle Tranchant, translation by Matthieu Dhennin

en/itv_08-01_lefigaro.txt · Last modified: 2008/02/12 23:37 by matthieu1