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Hollywood star of German origin, actor Udo Kier, came to the 51st FEST to present the film ‘My Neighbor Adolf’, which is shown in the FEST Special selection, but also to receive the Belgrade Victor Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film Art. Before the presentation of the award, Kier appeared in the FEST press room for a meeting with journalists.
‘Every award is an honor, regardless of what it is called. I kept my awards in my house in Palm Springs in the bathroom, and when I invite people over for dinner, and then they have to go to the bathroom, as soon as they come out, the conversation goes, "Oh, the awards. Well, we didn'tknow”, and I pretend like the awards are unimportant and that is why they are standing in the bathroom. Now there is a good number of them”, Kier said at the beginning of his address to the press.
According to him, after a long flight from San Francisco via Frankfurt, he was placed in Moskva Hotel where, due to the high ceilings and large windows, he feels like he is in a palace, and even though he has jet lag, he would like to see Olivera Katarina, with whom he filmed his first film ‘Mark of the Devil’ 50 years ago, in which she is a witch and he is a witch hunter. ‘The Internet says, and it knows more about me than I do, that I have shot more than 250 films and series. I can say that more than 100 of them are bad, about 50 you can only watch with a
glass of good wine, while 50, I can say, are good. I honestly think it is a pretty good ratio’, he said.
The actor recalled working with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, whom he met as a sixteen-year-old in a workers' bar in Cologne.
‘In London, I open a newspaper and read the headline "Fassbinder an Alcoholic and a Genius" on two pages, and I say to myself, "Well, that is Rainer from the bar", he remembered and added that he had soon become part of Fassbinder's film family.
‘I think that in that generation of filmmakers, he best showed what post-war Germany really looked like’, he emphasized, adding that because of Fassbinder, he had never worked with Herzog or Wenders, because he would have to be a ‘spy’ for Rainer. Kier also described to the Belgrade journalists his fateful meetings with Lars von Trier and Gus van Sant at film festivals. He said that thanks to Van Sant his career had begun in America, where he had lived for 30 years.
Coincidence also led him to Paul Morrissey, whom he met on a plane. ‘A man is sitting next to me, an American, he asks me what I do for a living. Americans always ask that. I told him I was an actor and he took my phone number. He wrote it on the back of his passport. He said his name was Paul Morrissey and that he worked with Andy Warhol. After a few weeks, the phone rings: "Paul here. Do you remember me? From New York, the plane? I am shooting a film with Carlo Ponti, he is Sophia Loren's husband. I have a role for you.” I ask
which one. "You are going to play Frankenstein"’, he recalled.
He said that every film with Lars von Trier had been important."We met at the Mannheim Festival. I was watching the film “The Element of Crime”. When the film ended, I could not get up from my chair and told everyone around me: "We can go home, this film will win." And it did. I wanted to meet that director and I told that to the director of the festival. I was expecting someone like Fassbinder, and a young man appeared. We had a beer and he said he did not like festivals. A few weeks later he told me he was filming “Medea” and wanted me to play her husband, the Viking king. “We have a problem”, he told me. “You do not look like a Viking, but do not shave, do not wash your hair and come back in a few weeks.” I got on the plane to Copenhagen, you can imagine how strange I smelled, but our collaboration and
companionship began. His wife was about to give birth and he told me he wanted me to be the child's godfather. "I am not interested in Christmas and birthday presents, but if my wife and I die in a car accident tomorrow, you are responsible for the child”, said Kier.
The German actor stated that his five-decade-long career had been a series of fortunate circumstances, because he had not studied acting, but that now he taught it. ‘I am a happy man. I never wanted to be an actor and I did not study acting, I only learned through collaboration with colleagues and directors. Now I am in Germany, teaching acting, but I believe that talent cannot be taught, nor can it be explained’, he says. He says he was condemned to play villains, vampires, Dracula, devils, because what can a German expect after World War II, but that he does not regret it.
‘I like playing the devil, it is more interesting. The devil is an angel who is tired of being good’, he stated. Since Kier came to Belgrade with the film ‘My Neighbor Adolf’, Hitler was bound to emerge as a topic of conversation. He says that he played Adolf Hitler five or six times, in comedies, and that there is no preparation for Hitler.
‘Your mustache and outstretched hand are enough. He was a monster, there is no psychological preparation of the character. He is the worst German that ever walked the earth’, the actor said. The film ‘My Neighbor Adolf’ is shown within the FEST programme on 1 March in MTS
Dvorana and in the Belgrade Cineplexx Galerija.


Knjaz Miloš