Q: What drove you into the field of cinema?
A: You know….. every child dreams of becoming something. I wanted to tell stories and I’m not only in the world of cinema. I’m also in the world of literature. It’s different… you want to tell stories and use what you think are the best tools and for me… I think cinema and the paper and pen are the best ways to tell a story. In the 21st century, we have the visual world. You know… I studied dramaturgy, drama analyzing and script analyzing, drama and script writing, history of drama. So, that’s how I started to write theatre plays. Then, I got a job on Croatian television where I have been the commissioner for the television drama project. Then, I quit and started to direct this project alone and not to commission for them you know… not to work for the others and I tried to express my artistic work. So, for the last 10 years I have been part of the film market.
Q: Could you give me your views on your film ‘Ministry of Love’?
A: We came out of war 20 years ago. We have a lot of war widows. At the same time, these war widows got huge pensions from the government because of their husbands who passed away. At the same time, they are not allowed to remarry because, if they would remarry, they would lose their pension. They wanted to live with someone because, everyone wants to live with someone, to be loved and therefore lived in domestic partnerships. But now the government says ‘Domestic relationships = Marriage’. So, these widows were hunted down to take their pension, because it was against the law to live with someone else and receive pension. The story has been told in the point of view of the man hired by the government to investigate the widows. So, it’s from a different point of view and this guy also has problems, a bad marriage, lonely and while investigating the widows, which is something he doesn’t enjoy, he falls in love with one of them and makes a report on her and it’s a drama… a comedy drama.
Q: What genres of film do you like to direct?
A: I’m not a professional director. There are people who can direct anything. You give them the material, they will do it. But I am not able to direct someone else’s material. I can only direct my material. You direct what you are able to do and to your sensibility. My sensibility is comedy-drama, which to say… is film with a strong identification with the audience. So, I don’t try to break the unseen with a powerful effect you know… I don’t do farces, I do comedy. People don’t fall from their chairs, it’s a story which I film, in a normal way I camera what’s happening in front of the camera and it’s funny and it’s the real thing. All my projects are based on character. A strong and believable character which the audience can identify with. There’s nothing skeptical, no people falling from their chairs. I really appreciate a big part of Czech cinematography as a Croatian guy, I appreciate Woody Allen films, French films. It’s from the aesthetic school I come from.
Q: I’ve just heard that you’ve been to India before. Am I right?
A: In Kerala. I’ve been to this festival two times, before. First in 2007 and then in 2009 for my previous film. It feels very good to be back. It’s been 7 years since my last film and my last visit. It’s a beautiful festival, very well organized, excellent programming, hospitality and people really take care of us. The audience most of all is important, really emotional and I had a wonderful screening. So, it is good, also for the ego of the author.
Q: How was the audience at your film screening?
A: It was very good. Actually, it was a fantastic experience for me, the audience loved the film. Really, it was not taken lightly. There was a huge applause and I could feel the emotional attention of the audience with the main hero and the connection that happens in cinema. Cinema can change, emotionally influence the audience. It really happened here and I’m glad.
Q: ‘Film festivals concentrate on film with more realistic topics or stick to realism’. What are your thoughts on it?
A: Yeah but… you know… my films talk about important topics. But, I want to entertain the audience. I want to entertain the audience, not look at my watch every minute. But, here it’s really good. People are educated and also educated through the festival and the festival has going on for 20 years, it’s good.
Q: What do you think make a film worth watching?
A: You know… when a film is boring for you and you don’t know what to do… maybe you’d watch a bad film and find it worth watching (laughs). What’s really worth watching for me, is something that is honest, smart and well done. I don’t want to watch a farce thinking the acting is bad. Cinema is good if it tells a story in a good way (laughs). It should be like telling a story in 2 minutes and I should be like “Ah! It’s a great story” and that’s how cinema works. To be honest, cinema is not an intellectual media, or so they want it to be. It’s an entertainment media that flirts with internalistic film. I would want to read philosophy but not see it in cinema. That’s why I don’t like some filmmakers. It’s a different point of view, I think the nature of cinema is not to be philosophic, not to be symbolic, but tell a story in a smart and a good way and possibly clever. It should emotionally involve the audience, change them.
Q: What about depressing movies?
A: Sometimes it should be. Entertainment can be there. I’ve seen a lot of excellent depressing films. I saw a very depressing Polish movie yesterday, but it was very good. It was a good story, excellently told but depressing. I felt sorry, but I would never forbid depressing movies. My movie is sad, but it is a comedy. Sometimes films make you feel depressed to see the other face of the coin, which also I don’t like. If a film is ‘so’ depressing, you can’t let it enter a film festival, not that I hate it. But there are a lot of good depressing movies (laughs).
Q: Censorship exists in India? What about in Croatia or in Czech Republic?
A: In Czech Republic, I don’t know so well, but I think it’s like the same as in Croatia. Censorship is first time in the head of the director. You either want to say something or not. We live in absolute democracy, so everything theme should be picked, but there are sometimes themes that are more politically correct. First of all, you’re supposed to pick a theme you’re going to work on and pick the film for yourself. Then, you write the script and then you have to get the financing for the script. If you get the financing and people say that it is good, there is no censorship anymore. You can show what you want, but the main thing is how to get your film financed. If a film has a tricky political subject, the film could be rejected. They may reject it in a political point of view or they may say “the film was poorly written”. But at the moment if your film is written well, you have no problems. You can show naked women, you can show communism, or if it’s entertaining’ it’s not a problem. Anyway, we are well protected as we make co-productions. If the whole European body says “It is a good script and they support it, no one can stop you. But if it is vice versa and one person says it’s great and everyone else says it’s bad, then you’d get into trouble.