Jure Pavlovic graduated directing from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb. His short films have been screened and awarded at numerous international film festivals, including the Berlin International Film Festival. For the short film Picnic (2015), he won the European Film Academy Award (EFA) for Best Short Film. Matriarch is his feature film debut, and will premiere on Sunday, March 1st at 7:20 p.m. at the Kombank Hall. Jure Pavlovic and lead actress Daria Lorenci Flatz are guests of this year's FEST.
-What prompted you to deal with the mother-daughter relationship in your feature debut?
Jure Pavlovic: I like to joke that I made a short film about a father-son relationship, and that I needed a feature-length film for a mother-daughter relationship, this relationship is much more complicated. The idea for the film came from my family situation, a personal experience that was the starting point for a story that I had long wanted to realize. Whatever I do in the future, I believe this will remain my most personal film.
-Daria, you use the fine means to play Jasna, who has a complicated relationship with her mother. You are at close-up all the time. How much was that a double-edged sword?
Daria: Jure was putting off that information, I only found out at the end, but it did not mean much to me. We worked at a slow pace but deep and intense, we shot a scene, two a day. Of course, there were challenges, but the biggest challenge for me during filming was to fill in the time, you have to stay consistent with what you want to express, and you are essentially not even aware of what it is. Filming was a journey, a search, I kept asking Jura what this was all about, what the ultimate goal of the scene was, emotions. We were shooting continuously, which helped me a lot with what was happening privately for me and on screen. I doubt I will ever have this challenge again, so it was a huge opportunity and experience. Sometimes it seems to me that I wish we could repeat it. This film is a specific discipline, like a marathon, once you experience it you will surely want to go through it all again.
-Neva Rosic interprets your mother, and she was your professor at the academy. What did the collaboration with her look like?
Daria: Neva is a myth, an institution of the Zagreb Academy, there was a certain aura about her name. If Neva does not think you should go to the academy, you will not. She was an outstanding professor, nurturing the emotional specificity I showed in my work, knowing how to leave me alone and allow me to develop. She remained terribly young despite her years. I changed a lot, I felt more grown up, which was good for communication, it is a great continuation of a process. We cooperated nicely.
-When you have two actresses like this, do you let them play and follow them with your camera or ...
Jure: You still have to go through some work, process, but it is always a question of how much to let them create on their own and how much to direct. Neva gave herself a lot and it is felt it in the film. As for Daria, the special challenge was that she was at close-up, and that the shots lasted three, four minutes each. It has to be perfect in every sense, from the beginning to the end of the scene, in technical sense, camera, sharpness, acting, choreography… In that sense, the process was challenging because we shot one shot all day, there was no fragmentary shooting from multiple angles where you have room to manipulate. prolong or shorten the silence… The moment you made on the set is filmed and remains forever, there is no safety net.
- The other actors in the film are non-professional actors. How did you work with them?
Jure: There is another actress, she is from that milieu, from that village. I had known for a long time that for these very interesting supporting characters I wanted to take colorful characters from that area, I think they bring authenticity, three-dimensionality. At first, I was a little insecure, so I asked Daria and Neva to do rehearsals with them, but after that they relaxed so much and the professional and amateur acting got along really well. Neva is known in Croatia as a great theatre actress who played high-status Krleza characters, so she was an atypical choice for the role. I wondered how it would work when I paired Neva, who is such a great actress, with someone from that village, but at the rehearsal all doubts disappeared and after that it worked very well. I think the non-professional actors brought a touch of pure life that inspired us all.
Daria: One time, Jure told me that I seemed like a non-professional actor, and that was a great compliment. It is the job of film actors to remain amateurs at their best.