"My life is an utopy" - interview for SITA, Slovakian press agency, June 2011

Svetovozn· Director, screenwriter and musician Emir Kusturica visited the Art Film Fest in Piestany, where he will receive the Golden Camera award for significant contribution to the cinema.

  • You are more or less regularly participating in international film festivals around the world. What are your impressions of the Art Film Fest ?
    • EK : I really liked the opening movie house. It's really a profound perspective on life. When the movie is at that level, it's really something that is worth. I'm doing something similar, since I also have such a festival here in Serbia.
  • You are reportedly planning to shoot a film about the destruction. What's in it?
    • EK : It will be the biography of a prostitute. Also, with time travel, before and after the destruction of Yugoslavia. It will look at a family drama about how it happened, and the terrible history that we have experienced, expressed by a woman.
  • It will be therefore a metaphor?
    • EK : It will be very real. It's so much opportunity for it to be dramatic, and also funny, grotesque too.
  • You are very busy - organizing festival in your village Drvengrad, that you build yourself and you are also caring of. You also have a music band No Smoking Orchestra, with which you make concerts throughout the world with your family. When do you find the time for the shooting ?
    • EK : The film about the destruction will be in three years. But now I make a film in Canada. It will be about two criminals who get into the woods, where a drama is happening. It's an absurd story about contemporary life. I'm also still working on a screenplay for the film about the Mexican hero Pancho Villa, who will be played the Puerto Rican actor and film producer Benicio del Toro.
  • Your films are often located in the environment of the Balkans, where you come from. In the seventies, however, under the former government, you moved to Prague, where you attended FAMU. You know the culture and history of Czech-Slovakia. Have you ever thought of the treatment this environment?
    • EK : It is actually the same as what I'm doing well. My philosophy is such a film, what you have here. It's a look at life with a certain lag. Lies in the formal approach, such as the Czech skepticism, irony. Just look at Czech life that we see in literature and in films that were made earlier. I can say that even if my movies run at exactly you will always stay that Czech students.
  • During the opening ceremony of the AFF, you said that the film in America counts millions of dollars to people in Europe. It can be so strictly separated? What's in between?
    • EK : Americanisation remains. Whether it will last, as they want to know. It is in our hands, it is in the hands of the global world. I think most Americans either do not want the world to the American-style, because it's boring, if only America will be everywhere. But I do not believe that festivals such as this, we lose. It is impossible to be completely Americanized.
  • How can we avoid?
    • EK : We have to enjoy and express how we see the world - life.
  • What about American cinema?
    • EK : American cinema is a special thing that should not be put together in Hollywood. Hollywood is such a philosophy of the world that wants the whole world was Hollywood. In America you have some perfect writers who do not belong in Hollywood.
  • Your friend is paradoxically one of the biggest Hollywood stars - Johnny Depp, who starred in your movie Arizona Dream 1993.
    • EK : Johnny Depp is a paradox. He is on the whole time to get out and yet became the greatest hero of what he did not like. He knows that doing cartoon it's just an environment that is used. Before it did not. Johnny was always such iconography of American film. Although not always successful, now it happened. It's a terribly intelligent man who knows it all.
  • Returning to your film and not a successful world imagery. Do you have anything in common? There is within them a certified “scheme”?
    • EK : This social environment in which I started working, it is for me a theme. It is a humane view of human destiny. For example, I like doing films about the Gypsies, that's always seemed so bizarre, dramatic and more human than our lives.
  • What do you mean to be a successful filmmaker?
    • EK : Being successful in the film is something that is irrational. When we take the film as an art, so it's really a question of stars. You can be a successful businessman, to be a successful director of thirty years is an emotional issue. It's not your decision that you want to be successful. I know people who have decided that they will never succeed and I think in the movie. In business it is possible. He says, however, that emotional intelligence is the one still most important. Between what you do and what you're doing really is not how you see and feel.
  • You've already lived in cities like New York, Paris and Belgrade. Finally, you went to Serbia, where you build your own village Drvengrad. Don't you feel that way you lose touch with reality ? Or is it deliberately?
    • EK : This is utopia. In Drvengrad I have all the time, I will have nothing to do in town. It is such a new phase in my life. It is the life of ancient Greece, where the city was what people needed. Not a city that creates life, but people who make life in the city.
  • Drvengrad has many tourists visiting daily. So do not interfere with your world?
    • EK : It's an awfully popular place. I would say that it is a social-ecological experiment, which we put together a national park. It's a large territory, it has eleven kilometers square. There is also a hotel for people who love there you go. I have a house on the other hand, in nature. With that civilization of which we are building there, it has nothing to do. It's cool. People are looking for something for them is not typical.
  • So what is your position in the village?
    • EK : I check the whole things, I'm a ranger, so I'm the director. It's for me, though I did have the whole film to life.
  • You are constantly surrounded by a lot of people. Do you consider yourself a philanthropist?
    • EK : Certainly I am not a misanthrope. Whether I philanthropist, it shows up.
  • are you planning to return to the festival in Slovakia?
    • EK : Sure, it's beautiful here. At least next year we come here with the band.

Interview by Léa Podstanick, translated by Matthieu Dhennin

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