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Interview with John Malkovich and Aleksey Igudesman


- Mr Igudesman, what are we going to watch tonight, what kind of play is it and how did this concept come about? How did cooperation with Mr Malkovich come about?


We met ten years ago at a festival in Dubrovnik. The next time we met, we came up with the idea of ​​making one such play - The Music Critic. It is a concert with some theatrical elements, I have done a compilation of some of the worst reviews of the greatest music pieces in history, with John playing a music critic. We show, of course, that the critics at that time were either right or wrong, but in some ways, we are also displaying the beauty of those compositions.

John and I find this very positive for people in the creative business because it is good to know that both Beethoven and Brahms and other great composers have been criticized. They hated them, but so it is with artists - therefore, if you are a young artist, it is perfectly normal for you to be criticized or belittled, but it is important to know that no matter what, you need to move on.



- Mr Malkovich, you, as an artist, have been the subject of criticism. Is this play for you playing with criticism nowadays, cleaning up from criticism, or did you see this show as just one form of communication with the great old artists?


The main thing here, as Aleksey said, is music. What is important for creative people is to be aware that when you put something in a public forum, recording, film, song, painting, it must be criticized. That is the job of the critic.



-Your lavish career is marked by numerous roles that make you stand out. What roles were most important to you?


Mostly these would be theatrical rolls. I started in a theatre troupe with my classmates, so many things that were valuable to my development happened back then. ‘The Glass Menagerie’, 'True West', but the most significant was ‘Burn After Reading’, 'The Libertine' ... The films are very different. You cannot work on your role like you can in a play, where every night is different. In a film, you shoot a scene one day and never return to that role again.



-You will find yourself in the role of a critic tonight, how cruel of a critic are you?


I am not afraid of criticism and I try to always be objective and look at things that way. There are actors who cannot watch themselves, I am one of them. I cannot stand listening to my own voice. I am critical of the whole work of art, not just my role in it.


Aleksey: I have to emphasize that few people accept criticism as John Malkovich. For example, I found a terrible critique by one critic about John's play he performed in Istanbul, and I put it into a performance, that part is called ‘Malkovich's Torture.’ We are traveling to Istanbul this week and we invited that critic to have a drink with us and to hear that criticism live, saying that Malkovich should audition for entry into the country, and if he does not pass, he should be given a Turkish delight and be sent home. He has accepted our invitation and will come to the performance.



- There is a lot of criticism about the streaming services that stifle cinemas. Do you think there is room for both?


I honestly doubt it. But it has less to do with streaming services and cinemas but with the way audiences watch films. Previously, you could only watch films in cinemas, but this is no longer the case, there are more options. I do not think anything special can be done. Films began to change when VHS appeared, because you no longer had to run to the cinema while the film was in repertoire, but you could watch it when you wanted. The streaming platforms have only intensified that, and who knows what it will look like in ten years.



-How much has your attitude towards acting changed over the years?


What excites me most are the very good screenplays. I do not really think too much about a particular role, because the role only matters in the context of the story and the script. Some roles are more interesting than others, some were interesting to me briefly but no longer, I think my attitude towards acting has changed as much as I have personally changed.



Grad Beograd
Ministarstvo kulture i informisanja - Republika Srbija
CEBEF - Centar beogradskih festivala
Knjaz Miloš