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Rade Šerbedžija: FEST Emerged from the Time of the Yugoslav Black Wave

On the second day of the 49th International Film Festival - FEST, on Saturday, May 8, Damir Handanović, director of the Belgrade Festivals Centre - CEBEF, actor Rade Šerbedžija, winner of the Belgrade Victor honorary festival award, cast and crew of the feature films ‘Fishing and Fishermen's Conversations’, ‘The Living man’, ‘Deadlock’, as well as short films ‘Way Back’ and ‘Family Vacation’ spoke at the press conference.   

CEBEF Director Damir Handanović announced a new collaboration of this institution with actor Rade Šerbedžija and the Ulysses Theatre. After the collaboration on the realization of the play ‘Antigone’ at BELEF in 2019, another serious production project will be realized, for the first time in Belgrade, in September 2021.

Rade Šerbedžija praised the organization of FEST for its courage: ’Despite everything, we should try to maintain the rhythm of our lives. The needs of our body and spirit. That's why I congratulate you.’ About the Belgrade Victor award, the acting doyen from this region said: ’For me, this award means an awful lot. First of all, It means belonging to a culture that has its own name and surname: it is the culture of the South Slavic people. In our country, Yugoslavia, I had the honor of playing in the films of the masters, from the time of the Yugoslav Black Wave, when FEST actually emerged. In that sense, I am one of the representatives of Yugoslav film.’ Šerbedžija also commented on his participation in the film ‘Fishing and Fishermen's Conversations’ by Milan Trenc, which premieres in Serbia at FEST: ’Above all, I was fascinated by Pan-Slavism. Petar Hektorović was a true pan-Slav - he spoke about the unification of the Slavs, that this Slavic people is great, and that he speaks the greatest language in the world.’  

Director Milan Trenc, among other things, spoke about the collaboration with Rade Šerbedžija on the film: ‘Rade gave me several suggestions for the film through telephone conversations, which actually completely changed it. Rade and I are really collaborators in this film. I have never had the synergy I had with him. It was a very difficult project, but it was all for the sake of me and him putting this thing into practice, which Petar Hektorović actually gave us as a bequest from another dimension to make.’

Oleg Novković, director of the film ‘The Living Man’ with Nikola Đuričko and Nada Šargin in the lead roles, said about the work on the film: ‘Actors are the most important for my films, because they are the ones who represent the characters, which viewers must believe are living people and interesting personalities. Rehearsals are necessary in order for the actors to harmonize and come to play in the same violin key, as well as connect to characters they play, carry them within themselves. The real relationship between the director and the character is never direct and always goes through the actor. That’s how I work on all my projects, and on this one it was a special pleasure. The lead role was written for Đuričko from the very beginning.’

Nikola Đuričko said that the role in this film was one of the greatest he had had in the film, and that it had been a big opportunity for him to show the nuances of the character. ‘Djela is a passive hero and his life is unfolding before his eyes. If you analyze the film a little more carefully, you will see that the acting ensemble actually carries what Djela is seeing, what his life is like. In that sense, I really needed them, and of course Nada Šargin above all. These rehearsals now sound like magic, but shootings are often a very technical thing and there is no time to research and gain the trust that is needed. Only in a pleasant, safe, creative atmosphere can the full potential be realized. ‘

Nada Šargin said about her role in the film: ‘Sunčica is fierce, interesting, fun, but also difficult. She is special, brave, and inspiring. For me, the characters of Milena Marković that I play in Oleg’s films are inspiring because they have the intensity and move on, keep on fighting. The best thing for me was Oleg's first sentence, which he said during the preparations - Sunčica is the sun, and everyone else is somewhere around her. That was immediately clear to me.’

The Slovenian film ‘Deadlock’ has its world premiere at FEST, and director Vinko Möderndorfer expressed satisfaction that the first screening of the film will be at this festival. Möderndorfer said about his film: ‘The main idea and essence of the film is the problem of empathy. I think that is the problem of this world: not only Slavic, but all of us. This wild capitalist time lacks just that. Capitalism kills people - it catches them and wears them out, and then throws them away. In a way, we agree to this time without empathy, everyone is going in their own direction, we think that everything can be bought. We think that everything has some life value, except life itself.’

In the short film ‘Way Back’, the legendary Yugoslav and Croatian actress Mira Furlan played one of her final roles on the big screen. The director of the film, Aleksandar Adžić, said about that collaboration: ‘The time spent with Mira was wonderful, as with any special person. It is also a moment of learning, when you meet people who are always young. I think we managed to create an atmosphere on set in which the whole team enjoyed.’

Maja Šuša, the leading actress in the short film ‘Family Vacation’, said about the screening at the 49th FEST: ‘I think it's a wonderful thing that FEST introduced short films into its programme. Since I deal with the short film festival, I love it and it is a pity when it stays aside. This is a really big thing, to have the opportunity to show our film on the big screen, in the big hall.’

On the third day of the Festival, on Sunday, May 9, at 7 p.m. in the Kombank Hall, the premiere of the short film ‘Family Vacation’ directed by Katarina Koljević is on the programme. On the same day at 9 p.m. in the Belgrade Youth Centre, the audience will be able to see a rerun of the film ‘Fishing and Fishermen's Conversations’, while ‘The Living Man’ will have a rerun screening in the Kombank Hall at 11.30 a.m. and the IMAX Cinema Hall of the Cineplexx Galerija Belgrade at 2 p.m. A rerun of the short film ‘Way Back’ is scheduled for 11.30 a.m. in the Sava Centre.