FEST PRO Interview – Lordan Zafranović

At this year's FEST Pro, the famous director, Lordan Zafranović, held a masterclass on the topic ‘The inner construction of the film’ in a packed hall. Apart from his lecture, we also talked with the director about his latest film ‘Zlatni rez 42’ (The golden cut 42), which will premiere in the fall of this year.

Everyone who has worked with you says that you have a special gift for bringing out thebest in actors? How do you do it? It is hard to advise someone. I work in a special way, relating to roles, scenography, make-up, all film elements, I have my own special work process. Actors are also involved in that process, I have a specific way of working with them. They need to be introduced to the characters they aresuppose to interpret and that type of acting, how the characters should be developed. I talk to
them for a long time. I look at them, I see their reactions, what that person is like, where they are from, who they are, what they are, how they think. When I see thatpersonality has come out of them, then I use that to build their character. We are going towards building a character that they interpret on the basis of their personality. A personal stamp. I bring them closer to themselves. I mostly have unusual characters. Evil characters. But evil characters who have human traits. Characters who are complex, just as people in life are complex. Not everything is black and white. Actors are the most important in the film, everyone sees them.


How did you choose the actors for your film ‘Zlatni rez 42’, which will premiere in cinemas
this fall?

I have not been here in a long time, I have not particularly watched films from Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana. I was new to the process, I was helped by the casting managers, who proposed several variants. There will always be some spark in an actor, which will bring out that character that is needed. I have also worked with non-professional actors for a long time. There is no mistake in that. An actor can always bring something, even something more than you planned into that character.
In addition to the lead actors, who are exceptional, we had 175 actors in this film. How to organize the filming of such large scenes with so many actors? It was difficult to organize, to do it. In such moments it is difficult to commit to each actor individually. However, I talked to each actor, what I was aiming for and what his role, even a small one, would mean. There are no small roles. We like to say so. What we made looks impressive.


What advice would you give to actors? Especially to young people who have yet to break
into the acting scene?

Although I do not like to give advice, I will say that the most important thing is for them to study, to read, to exude confidence when they appear, based on their appearance, talent and knowledge. Film acting. They need to know film acting, film technique, camera movement, where the frame begins and where it ends, they must know that film mise-en-scène is something completely different from theatre. I advise everyone to study, to read books, to go to exhibitions, to be interested in everything that is new, to strive for knowledge of new things, especially in art.
Then they become someone whose opinion is respected in the team. If they are insecure, do not know, then that is a problem. Film acting is a military formation that requires immediate solutions.

You hold a masterclass on the topic of the inner film construction. What do you want to
convey to the audience with this lecture? What advice would you give to directors?

I am a someone who makes his own films, I am not a director, I do not realize someone else's scripts, I create both before and after the film, I do not realize other people's work. There is no copyright in all of this. An author's work is something that should be unique, authentic. With directors, there is no uniqueness, authenticity in their choice of topics. One of the main things I blame my colleagues for is that they do not tackle some topics, they do not want to take risks.
There is no courage.

Is courage something that a person is born with or something that can be learned? How do you deal with the consequences of your own choices in the film?

Courage is a matter of self-confidence. If you get into such a topic, you must know what awaits you, you must expect that you will be criticized, that your life will be in danger, you must dealwith it and say: I can do it. You have Hollywood making that confection phenomenally. However, when I see an author who has his own style, aesthetics, then I take my hat off to him. It is a risk that you have to take or quit.

Ministry of Culture
Grad Beograd


Knjaz Miloš
Italijanski kulturni centra