Emir Kusturica, all along his great career, started many projects he has given up after having worked on it, sometimes for a long time. Here are some of them…
Interfax announced on 3 october 2014 that Emir Kusturica has a film project for 2015 in Bélarus : “If not now, then when ?”, the adaptation of a Primo Lévi novel.
Levi's novel is centered on a story of Jewish and Belarusian resistance fighters during the Second World War as they struggle to survive and sabotage the Nazis, with the plot taking them all the way from Western Belarus to Milan.
Filming is to take place in 2015, with 60 shooting days in Belarus and another 20 in Italy. Kusturica co-penned the film's script with his longtime collaborator Gordan Mihic.
(source : hollywoodreporter.com)
« I will be very happy to make a film for the 100th anniversary of the First World War and to show the history as it is, and not as some would like it to be », declared Emir Kusturica in December 2013. A comity of Russian and British historians has asked him to direct a documentary. Emir Kusturica says that the film will focus on the events which preceded the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo which will be evidences showing that Gavrilo Princip's shot did not cause the war.
(source : blic.rs)
In august 2013, Andres Copelmayer, producer and Uruguayan government adviser told the press that Emir Kusturica had given his agreement to direct a film on president Jose Mujica, ex-guerillero of extreme left, put in jail under the dictatorship (1973-1985), in order to produce a “humanist gift which transcends borders”.
Elected since 2010, president Mujica differs from his peers through his lifestyle of an extreme simplicity. He frequently moves with no body guard, repays 87% of his salary to charity and continues to live in his “chacra” (farm) in the popular area of Cerro, in Montevideo. He is at the origin of a law project (waiting to be validated by the senate), to make the forst state in the world to control the production and sale of cannabis.
(source : culturebox.francetvinfo.fr)
In septembre 2013, the project seems to become reality : an Uruguayan website says that the shooting will start on 23 septembre 2013 in New York, when Mujica is expected to make a speech at the United Nations. The site also indicates that Emir Kusturica has scheduled to meet president Mujica four times, and the first encounter shall be in november. (source : elobservador.com.uy)
In mars 2013, Emir Kusturica declared during a conference to students of Nis phisolophy faculty, in Serbia, his intention to shoot a film on organs trafficking in Kosovo. He adds that he will shoot the film in Russia, because he won't get authorisation to get to Kosovo.
« Even the Chief of the Chancellery of the government of Serbia for Kosovo cannot get to the territory of Kosovo » he said during this conference, referencing Alexander Vullin.
(Source : ruvr.ru)
In november 2012, at the opening of the Marrakech International Film Festival, Emir Kusturica told about a new film project : it will be his “first French film” that will be shooting late 2013 with several stars.
”I wrote a script which is a Moroccan history, and it will be my first film in French. This is a love story, a film in which I will do with Tahar Rahim and his wife Leila Bekhti, and also Monica Bellucci. This is a beautiful story about a couple whose wife does not see things as us, but differently. To heal, she needs to go in France. The woman's grandfather arranges a marriage with a rich old man so she can go to Marseille (south of France), while her lover, remaining in Morocco, does everything to join her.”
According to Emir Kusturica, former president of the jury of MIFF (2011), the filming should start “late 2013.” (source : lepoint.fr)
On her side, Monica Bellucci, also present in Marrakech, gave a slightly tempered version of the news : ”Emir Kusturica has indeed presented me the idea of the film, with the two French actors Tahar Rahim and Laila Bekhti. But, for the moment, I don't have enough details.” (source : aufaitmaroc.com)
A few days later, she gives details and explanations to the French magazine Les Inrocks : ”No, it isn't like that. I also read the press release, but the journalists must have got mistaken. Emir has two ongoing projects. (…) Even if I can't tell you that much for the moment, it will be a film centered on the relationships between love and war. I will play a Serbian woman from a simple background, and Emir will be my husband. It's quite conceptual and very violent.”. We suppose thus that it is the other project in the drawer : the long film based on the short "Our Life" (source : lesinrocks.com)
Director Sara Driver - producer of Jim Jarmusch - has been seen at the Küstendorf Film and Music Festival in 2010. She announced in March 2012 preparing an animation film with other directors with different cinematographic backgrounds like : Alfonso Cuaron, Michel Gondry, Marjane Satrapi and Emir Kusturica.
The film should be cut into different tales coming from different countries, with metamorphosis as a conductor line.
”They’re from different countries, and the stories are from different countries, and Marjane is going to tie it all together with her incredible animation… The directors have to do every effect in camera or by light and shadow or in very tangible ways so that it brings magic to children. I also made all the fairy tales—I adapted them and brought them up to the present, so it’s also about bringing magic into the present day, for children and adults.”
(source : collider.com)
In july 2011, in an interview for russian magazine Izvestia, Emir Kusturica declares he wishes to adapt the Arto Paasilinna novel : The forest of hanging foxes. This novel looks like a truculent comedy, in the big spaces of the North. Shooting should start in december 2011. (source : izvestia.ru)
After the release of his autobiography, in march 2011, it seems that Emir Kusturica got keen on writing, because he announced in a TV interview in Republika Srpska, he wanted to write a novel about a young director haunted by Dostoïevski. (source : ruvr.ru)
In september 2010, a Spanish website tells us that Emir Kusturica would have (yet another) new film project, this time in Russia. The site even mentions the names of the characters : Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė for the feminine lead role (we've seen her in “Burnt by the sun” and Farewell) and Ivan Urgant or Konstantin Khabensky (famous Russian actors), for the masculine role. One problem : the scenario is not written, but is confident : his forthcoming stay in Russia will certainly help him.
Source : espanarusa.com.
It looks like he found an idea in December 2010, since, after a concert in Moscow, he declared to local press he had an idea for making a film in Russia : the story of a man who would like to make a film, searches for a producer, and the one who accepts asks in return that he kills his wife…
In August 2010, in an interview to a Mexican newspaper, Emir speaks of a project of making an Unza-Unza version of Verdi's Aïda to celebrate the 110 years of the death of the Italian composer (in 2011, so, which seems to be rather unlikely).
Source : eleconomista.com.mx
In May 2010, we learn that the producer Johnny Lin, through his production company Filmula, would have hired Emir Kusturica to direct the film “Tweakers Delight”, after ”Wild Roses, Tender Roses”, the film on Pancho Villa which is likely to be shot only in 2011, so needless to say this new project is not for now. Moreover, on this big budget ($35 millions) film, we know very little : the scenario would be written by Sean McEwen ; the story would be about a man who has 24 hours to straighten out his life or he will lose custody of his son.
Source : hollywoodreporter.com
Shall we, one day, see the third part of the “Sarajevo trilogy” ? Abdulah Sidran and Emir Kusturica had this project to make a third film together, after Do you remember Dolly Bell ? and When father was away on business. But the Palme d'Or received for the second one gave new possibilities for Emir Kusturica, and their route diverged. Then if the two personalities didn't have good relationships for years, they reconciled last year, and since then, they meet regularly ; last week, they met twice, in Gorazde then in Küstendorf, and have discussed precise projects. Sidran would even have a script and a producer, but all this shall be kept secret for the moment.
Source : glas-javnosti.rs
In March 2010, during a stay in Yerevan, Emir Kusturica said he wanted to make a film on Armenia, in the future.
Source : panarmenian.net
In november 2009, Emir Kusturica announced to Italian press that he has a project to direct a road-movie in Palestinian Territory, called “Cool Water”. He would start shooting in April 2010. It would be the story of a Palestinian strip-teaser from Berlin, back to the Middle East for the funerals of his father and the wedding of his brother. The few kilometers between Gaza and Ramallah will become for him the journey of him life. It looks like a weird and poetic road-movie
Source : lastampa.it
In January 2010, Emir Kusturica confirms this projects and we learn that the script was written by Gabriel Bornstein, that Thierry Arbogast will be director of photography and Johnny Depp will co-produce.
In Variety, on 22/01/10, we learn more information on the plot : ”two Palestinian brothers who smuggle the dead body of their father from Jerusalem to Ramallah as they are pursued by Israeli police, Russian mobsters and a terrorist gang.”
Again in Variety, on 26/03/10, we learn that French actor Tahar Rahim (main actor from Jacques Audiard's film “Un prohete”) is negociating one of the lead role of the film. Source : variety.com
In december 2010, Emir Kusturica would have asked the Armenian group Almazian’s Obsession to compose the original musique. Emir has already met this band in 2008, when they came for the opening of the first Küstendorf Film and Music Festival. Then, they also played together with the No Smoking Orchestra in march 2010 in Yerevan. (source : panarmenian.net)
In july 2011, we learn that the project is definitively given up. In an interview for russian magazine Izvestia, Emir Kusturica declares that the German producer has become… mad (!). (source : izvestia.ru)
In november 2009, Kusturica announced to Italian press that he wants to shoot in 2012 a film on Giuseppe Verdi, which would be called «Verdiana», the name of an imaginary city, like an Atlantide, and which recalls a film of Luis Buñuel. The place will be a theatre, la Fenice of Venise, invaded by a terrorist commando. We don't know much on this project, except, as says Kusturica, it will be a little surprise 'green from head to feet'.
Source : ilsecoloxix.it
In april 2011, we hear about this project in Italian press : Andrea Gambetta, the Italian producer of the No SMoking Orchestra concerts declares that he will produce “Verdiana” through his company, a film on Giuseppe Verdi, with the musique and the characters of his operas, from Aïda to Otello, the director would be Emir Kusturica. Shooting is scheduled for 2012, so that the film can be ready in 2013, year of the bicentenary of the birth of Verdi. The film, which title is still unknown, would be a thriller telling the story of a show which can't go on stage…
Source : cinecitta.com
In septembre 2012, we hear again of this project in the press. This time, it's associated to French producer Thierry Potok (The Bourne supremacy, Alien vs Predator). We now learn that the story will be about a terrorist group in Venice…
Source : elporvenir.com.mx
End 2008, both Serbian & Russian press echoed a documentary project on Ossetia by Emir Kusturica. Indeed, during a recent move in Moscow, Emir Kusturica showed some interest in the Ossetia conflict, which opposes Georgia and Russia. The film would be based on Fatima Salkazanova's work, a journalist based in Paris. We can read, on this subject, the article of Serbian magazine : blic.rs (in English). Little concrete details have emerged, but EMir ensured willing to first direct his other project “Pancho Villa”.
In october 2009, Emir Kusturica went back in South Ossetia, and was warmly welcomed. He was even initiated as a Cossack through a ritual. We can read, on this subject, the article of Serbian magazine : blic.rs (in English).
But shortly after his journey in Osseita, Emir Kusturica made clear into a newspaper that he was bounded, for the next four years, with the contract for the film Pancho Villa, which prevented him to make this documentary. It is thus very likely that this project stays in the drawer.
The final point on this project was sealed in January 2010, when visiting Moscow, Emir Kusturica, interviewed by Russian media, confirmed he would not do this project. Source : news.az
The San Marinese Vladimir Gruska has announced in March 2008 to Italian press that he was going to produce an animation film on the history of his small republic. Emir Kusturica is said to have agreed for supervising the film direction. The other collaborators of this project would be Anders Thomas Jensen, oscarized Danish scenarist, Zoran Janjetov (Serbian cartoon author who has already collaborated with Alejandro Jodorowsky) and Rajko Milošević-Gera (drawer and animator at Warners Bross). It will be the first film produced by the republic of San-Marino.
Source : altamarini.it
Emir has declared in june 2007, in an interview in “Russian Gazzeta”, that he would love to make a film on Pancho Villa, the famous gangster that became general during the mexican revolution. He explained that he admired his fight for freedom and that it would fit his cinematographic style…
In february 2009, French producers Fidélité have announced the launching of the work for the next film of Emir Kusturica on Mexicain revolutionary. The title of the film would be “The Seven friends of Pancho Villa and the woman with six fingers”. Gordan Mihić and Emir Kusturica are currently working on the script, based on a novel of James Carlos Blake. The book explores the life of Pancho Villa from the point of view of his lieutenant Rodolfo Fierro, between fiction and real events. It tells the big facts of the Mexican revolution, while taking some distance with his engagement sometimes cruel. Javier Bardem is still candidate number one for the lead role. The shooting was supposed to start by the end of 2009, or beginning of 2010.
But then, some things have changed.
Here are the known information about this project :
In Juanuary 2010, Johnny Depp says : ”I would like the shooting to start as soon as possible, because I am scared that Emir will change his mind and fire me (laughing). When he told me that he would like me to play the role of Pancho Villa, I thought that the better choice for that role would be some Mexican actor, because Villa is a national hero. However, knowing Emir, I am sure that he has something on his mind, some vision. I visited the big studio made by Kusturica in Mecavnik where interior shooting will take place, I read the script and I can’t wait to start shooting. I have great expectations and I will try not to disappoint my fans.” Source : blic.rs
Yet, in december 2010, it looks like this project is sinking into the depths of the drawer again. Indeed, during the promotion for “The Tourist”, his last film, Johnny Depp took his distances with this project. He declared to French Press Agency ”that he felt uncomfortable with the idea of playing the role of Pancho Villa, for the Serbian director Emir Kusturica, without being 'Hispanic'”. He also added : ”With Emir Kusturica, we haven't talked of this project for a while. (…) I don't know what happened with this project.” (source : AFP)
In 2013, Emir Kusturica no longer speaks of this projects.
But in november 2014, against all odds, Emir Kusturica evokes it once again, saying he still wants to shoot it one day or another… (source : eluniversal.com.mx)
During the rehearsals of the Opera "Time of the Gypsies" in Paris, in may 2007, Emir Kusturica has declared to journalists that he loved this kind of directing, and that he would set one day anotherone of his films Black Cat, White Cat in opera, but in New York…
When he was working on the adaptation of the Opera "Time of the Gypsies", Gordan Mihić declared to Blic (Serbian newspaper) that he was also working with Emir Kusturica to start the adaptation of the novel “Autumn of the Patriarch” by Columbian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
He never mentionned this project anymore.
During a masterclass at a FNAC in Paris in may 2004, Emir promised one of his next films will be shot in France, in french. He even already has a scenario : the story would take place in the Middle-Age (a time - these are his own words - he's familiar with), and it's about a man and a forest.
We haven't heard from this project anymore.
Edouard Limonov is a Franco-Russian political writer who participated in the dissident movements of the last years of SSSR. This led to his exile to the USA, then to France where he collaborated to communist (L'Humanité) and nationalist (Le Choc du mois) newspapers. Back in Russia, the writer created under the direction of Alexandre Douguine the national-bolchevic party (PNB). After he ceased this association, he had a provocative behaviour which led him to make four years in jail. Limonov was freed under the pression of an international campaign.
Emir had not yet finished filming of Life is a miracle that an article published in Serb magazine NIN spoke about his next project : a musical film on the life of Eduard Limonov, controversial Russian writer, author of best-sellers written from jail.
We haven't heard from this project anymore.
Several times, The bridge over the Drina, the masterpiece of Ivo Andrić has been worked in the imagination of Emir Kusturica. Thus, in 1985 already, after his first victory in Cannes for When father was away on business, then again after Arizona Dream, he wished to tell the story of his country through this cult book.
The adaptation work was made during an long time, because Emir Kusturica has talked about it at several occasions to journalists with much enthousiasm.
”It will be the biggest yugoslav film ever made” was he saying in 1993.
Unfortunately, he had to renounce. The story happened to be too complex to adapt. Too many characters, story too widely spread in time, and most of all : no producer accepting such a big project in Serbian language…
But in February 2009, Emir Kusturica held a press conference in Küstendorf with Serbian minister of Culture Nebojsa Bradic, to announce his intention to realize an adaptation as a “film-opéra” of the monument of Yugoslav literature : “A bridge on the Drina” (Na Drini cuprija), by Literature Nobel Prize Ivo Andrić. We remember that Emir wants to make the adaptation of this classic since a long time. For this project, he wants to use a mix technique with real shootings in Višegrad (Bosnia, a few kilometers from Küstendorf) and live show. But first things first, the libretto and the music have to be written by a whole team, including Emir Kusturica, Nele Karajlic and the No Smoking Orchestra. International coproduction, the projet wishes also the collaboration of Turkey, due to the cultural legacy of Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. Emir Kusturica hopes this project can be achieved in 2011 for the 50th jubilee Ivo Andrić's Nobel Prize attribution. About this project, the minister declares ”this novel encloses our present, past and, I am afraid, future. That is our Old Testament. I know that Ivo Andric opposed ideas of putting his works into other genres due to some bad experiences, but he was not quite exclusive. With good preparation we can overcome potential obstacles”
He confirmed this information in March 2009 in an interview.
In november 2009, after having performed in Banja Luka with the No Smoking Orchestra, Emir Kusturica met the Republika Srpska authorities ; they then declared they would help financing this project, in order to make from the area Višegrad-Küstendorf a major touristic attraction. Source : rtv.rs
Then, in 2011, Emir started to build Andrićgrad. Works are scheduled to be finished in 2014.
In november 2014, we hear again of this project, as an opera. Thee libretto would be cowritten by Emir Kusturica and Dejan Sparavalo. The première would be made in the famous venitian theatre La Fenice in may 2015. (Source : tt.com)
After Super 8 Stories, one of the first projects Emir Kusturica talked about was The Nose, the amazing story of a theatre actor who, just before entering on the stage for the character of Cyrano de Bergerac, has his nose broken by Russian mafiosi. Emir has often talked of this project with much enthusiasm before finally making Life is a miracle. In an interview of 2001, Emir Kusturica says even it's already one year and a half he's working on this project, that Dušan Kovačević has written a satisfying script, and that Miki Manojlović is already booked in the casting…
We haven't heard from this project anymore.
After his role in The widow of Saint-Pierre, Emir Kusturica has several times talked about making a film with Daniel Auteuil which would be called The king of Sweden a sunday afternoon on his green bicycle. This project was given up when Black Cat, White Cat, which should have initially been a short documentary about the gypsy musician of Underground, transformed into a real film.
Just after Time of the Gypsies, when Emir Kusturica arrived in the USA, he wished to adapt the famous Dostoïevski book Crime and punishment transposing the story to the current times in Brighton Beach, near New York, an area where many Russian migrants live. Johnny Depp was supposed to be in the casting : Raskolnikov would have been a bass player in a rock band. But Emir finally decided to shoot Arizona Dream in the USA. Even when he started the work on Underground, he still said this project was his real big projcet that he would do after the “parenthesis” Underground.
Much adaptation work was made on this film, at such a point that Emir found it symptomatic of his numerous aborted projects. After The good thief, he said he would like to make a film called Why I didn't shoot crime and punishment, Nick Nolte was supposed to be the leading role…
We haven't heard from this project anymore.
For a long time, rumours circulated on the adaptation of The White Hotel, a psychoanalysis history. Many names of great actors had even been quoted (next to Johnny Depp was to play Nicole Kidman, Juliette Binoche, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Frances McDormand, Holly Hunter, Lena Olin, or even Irène Jacob). Dušan Kovačević had made an adaptation of Denis Potter's scenario transposing the action in Berlin instead of Viena and replacing Freud by a young psychanalist. Giuseppe Rotunno, Fellini's camera operator should have even been photography director. Anyway, the project had to face difficult financial problems, and it is today definitively given up by Kusturica.
Before Kusturica, the project had been proposed to Terence Mallick and David Lynch who had refused, and after him, it was proposed to David Cronenberg and Simon Monjack, but the film is still not made.
The author, DH Thomas, recently wrote a book on the incredible misadventures of this adaptation project. About the Kusturica episode, he says : ”I once again had a vision: of a white hotel springing up by magic beside a Serbian lake, with snowy mountains behind, and fir trees… Then, in March 1999, Nato forces bombed Serbia. Kusturica’s son almost died when a bomb fell just 40 yards from him in Belgrade. Exit Emir, understandably enraged with the West, especially America. ”.
More excerpts of the book can be read on times.co.uk
In december 2009, with the sudden death of actress Brittany Murphy, also companion of director Simon Monjack, we start to talk of the “White Hotel curse”. On this topic, we can read the article on vanityfair.com
The Doukhobors is the name of a Christian religious movement, of slavic origins, settled in Canada.
Doukhobor means “spirit fighter”. The Doukhbobors rejected men's governement, the Russian orthodox priests, the icons, all the ecclesiastic rituals, the Bible except for the Gospel and the divine character of Jesus. They were real pacifists, which caused for religious and political reasons a strong repression from the Tsar and the Orthodox Church, enduring tortures, exile and freedom loss. At the end of the XIXth century, the Doukhobors left Russia massively. They chose Canada for the isolation andthe peaceful atmosphere. This country was ready to welcome them and they settled there in 1899.
After the Golden Palm of When father was away on business, Emir Kusturica has much worked on the Doukhobors, and he even went on the shores of the Saint Laurent to meet their children. He talked several times of this project, but he gave up to do Time of the Gypsies.
After Do you remember Dolly Bell ?, Emir Kusturica co-wrote a script called The thieving magpie strategy. It's finally Zlatko Lavanic (assistant director on When father was away on business) who did it in 1987, with the actor Davor Dujmović.
Student in Prague in 1977, Emir Kusturica wrote a script named The house of the dead-end street (Kuca u slijepoj ulici), but never directed it.