Saterday is the day of the Republic - interview in Vecernje Novosti, 27 november 2008

World tour of “Emir Kusturica & The No smoking orchestra“, after two years travelling all around world, will stop in Beograd, on the ex-most important celebration of nations and folks, 29 November. Just before the spectacle in „Arena“, the famous director explains why is No Smoking Orchestra a „circus attraction“, thrills audience like some kind of acrobat balancing on thin wire despite death… This year they have had concerts in 44 countries, and the only place where never play are Africa and North America. Committed audience are with them in Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, and even Japan and Australia ; and this year, there will be 3 concerts in Serbia. During 2nd Kustendorf film festival in Mecavnik, among a lot of others actor and directors will be Alain Delon. The most impressive moment on this tour is when Mikhalkov went up on stage… or maybe when Oliver Stone joined the band in Thessaloniki ? Or again, with Diego Maradona as suport in Cannes !? Or… Let's wait the concert in Arena. We are connected with music and film experience. Each song is short film. This project made something unexpected in the world, taking from one side Balkanian identity, communicating at the same time with great success like „Western bands“. But, without the support of the global industry of showbussiness.

  • The band played in every corner of this World. How you can be so famous without costly publicity ?
    • Emir Kusturica : We don't have precise conducting and guidence career. Today you have kids with trousers on their knees, put them funny hat on their head, surrounded with 10 cameras while they're smiling and acting like spontaneously walking around. You will never have chance to see us on that kind of channels, because we'd feel shame. We don't pay some people to promote us and take pictures on every step.
  • NSO looks like having complete estethic value, in meaning of showbussiness, politic…
    • EK : We are a band of the past and the future. “Zabranjeno pušenje“ was a big band in ex Yugoslavia, and „The No smoking orchestra“ is an even important band in today's world. We became as rock'n'roll wanted to be, but just without the control of mass media and global industry of showbussiness. We are nothing imposed, behind us is no one powerful, but our salary is just enough for our proper life.
  • On NSO concerts, with the band, was Nikita Mikhalkov, Oliver Stone, Maradona…
    • EK : They are ally of the people, and we match in idea that market is not only to deal to regulate world relations. In this same group I saw Harold Pinter, the man who was receiving Nobel price and at same moment strictly defining crimes of new ages, the “dreadful“ actor Johnny Deep, and director Jim Jarmush who will be in January in Drvengrad.
  • The concert in Arena coincides with the old celebration of 29 November, the Day of Republic, big celebrations in past times for all nations and folks in ex Yugolsavia. Is that purposely or random ?
    • EK : When I go to visit old military wastes, what ever I think about Tito, I can see that is here crumbled. Old Yugoslavia no one could shake, like everyone did today, with this 6 sample-contries. We produced in old times tanks and aeroplanes. Power… Now we are building permanent instability. That is our future. The date is chosen as a reminder.
  • Audience in Arena will have chance to listen old songs, and from 4 CD-s of NSO…
    • EK : Yes,we made a song list. Each of us in the band acts like an acrobat, from the beginning of this interview, on wire, in life, and two hours on stage ! You must have very educated musician as Dejan Sparavalo, writer and fantastic performer like Nele Karajlic, puncher as Stribor, and the most tender percussionist like Ceda, and me as director… We are together with one idea that in Serbia have a lot valid things, despite all of those, from inside and outside, who think here nothing is going on.
  • You celebrated your 54th birthday in Bilbao on stage. Biologically and artistically speaking, do you feel old or mature ?
    • EK : That was an incredible party ! I'm feeling like 28 years old. And I never catch a cold. About creativity, there are very visible results. I would like to have a long life… And one day when I die…. Wauh, that could be an event !
  • On this tour you received the title of honourable citizen of Buenos Aires, but you had to back the same title to the major of Uzice. How, in your mind, can you reconcile that kind of paradox ?
    • EK : I'm an heavy man. I search recipes in my neighbourhood, and I have „honourable“ titles in ten cities all around world. How can I be myself, shoulder to shoulder with the importer of ruined idea in a global level ? On this way I stay faithful to those which liberal capitalism without success could not punch down with hyper-production of trash, like Jarmush, Mikhalkov and others in world. On the same principle I choose my cities.
  • Do you have some interesting surprises for Arena ?
    • EK : Yes, secret guest. He will heat atmosphere. The deal is that audience will discover him during the concert, to hear a special song…

Interview by Nikola Jankovic, translation by Nina Novaković and Matthieu Dhennin

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