Juri: I hope there is, since I do not think we have a better option for co-existence than a family. It is becoming increasingly challenging to live like that, at least in the west. I now live with my wife and son very far from my parents, and only after getting a child I realized how useful it would be to live with my parents and other family members.
- The character of Hanna is very dependent on Jury. Is he a necessary balance in her life, is he the straw that she clutches?
Angela: She is a person who loses her carefree life; before the start of the film, everything is in front of her, ideas, dreams and hopes, and then she “falls on the floor” and breaks down completely, and that’s where the film and her role in it truly begin. She is trying to hold on to something that is not available at that moment. First she thinks that this is Yuri, then that it is her mother, after that she is no longer sure and she is looking elsewhere, and her helplessness is important at that moment for her as well as for each one of us. What happens when you are in a situation of total helplessness, what are your priorities, what kind of questions do you have, what do you do?
- How did your cooperation with the director come about?
Angela: I got a message that a certain director whom I had known as a documentary director was making a feature film. I wanted to meet him and talk to him, but I did not think I that would get a role. Then we met and he brought me this story and unexpectedly for me, we continued to encounter. I did not believe that it was all happening for real and that I was working with colleagues like Maria Hofstätter - even six, seven months after the beginning of the shooting I was still in disbelief.
Juri: I was very happy with my choice and I was impressed with the results of her work.
- What did working on this film look like?
Juri: My main work was with the actors: this kind of film requires a thorough investigation of the characters because we rely heavily on improvisation. When you work like this, you cannot write a conventional script, it must be a precisely positioned situation and a conflict, all the dramatic points to be stricken must be prepared. These are eventually long periods of uninterrupted action, which can last for half an hour or for ten hours. The main difficulty arises in the editing because you have so many options how the film might look, so it's very difficult to decide which film you want to show at the end.
Angela: There is no script. You only know what is going on in the scene that you are about to shoot; you have been preparing for a whole year, you do not know any other roles, you do not know who does what, how they act, what their goal is, you do not know how long the scene will last, and you do not know what is being filmed that day. My role was a specific one; I knew roughly what we were shooting and what could be.
- Since the film was practically produced during editing, what was your initial idea and story with which you started this project?
Juri: There were two situations, one is a story about a couple in a hospital that is pretty clear, it had the beginning, middle section and the end, written as a classic script. The other was created by thinking about what could be parallel to that, what is the counterpart of the Ukrainian hospital, and the story of dementia and the old couple in Austria appeared. In the end I edited almost simultaneously, an accident in Ukraine, an accident in Austria, a love scene in Ukraine, a love scene in Austria. It's a simple structure. Of course, before the shooting, I had in my head a pretty detailed vision of how the film might look, but I have a problem with completed scripts. Okay, you've finished the script, you've got financiers, you started preparations, you finished casting, it’s been a year. You are coming to a location which is different from what is written in the script, you have actors who have developed characters much richer than what is written in the script. Of course, I can try to follow the script forcefully, but that does not interest me, I prefer to create a situation where there is a conflict and let it surprise me and evolve into something surprising. My scripts are an example of what can be, but what never will be.
-When someone looks at your biography and sees titles like “Sickfuckpeople,” “Why So Happy,” “Ugly,” one would think that you have a rather discouraging worldview, but in person you leave a completely different impression of someone quite positive.
Juri: I do not know why this is so, maybe because I'm sick of being depressed.
-So your way to deal with depression is to shoot movies?
Juri: I would say that my private life is a therapy for depression that arises from my movies and from my deep thoughts. It's not something I choose, it's something that I can think of or something that happened to me, as with this story at the hospital.
-You had a premiere at the Rotterdam Festival, what were the impressions and how the audience's reactions affect you?
Juri: It's hard to answer this question because I'm still confused about the reactions. I have no clear answer, I do not really know whether I can trust either positive or negative comments. The film has divided people, but not even some compliments make me happy. When I read some comments, I realize that these people were watching a completely different film. This is probably my fault because of the way this narrative was told and, of course, the differences in interpretation, but I was surprised, however. I do not know, I still cannot say how this film was received; I need more time and more screenings.