Culture

The Soap Opera Ambient that We Live in, Takes its Price

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The movie “Three Days in September” won the prize for best movie at:“Balkan Florence Experience”, the film festival that was held for the 6th time in Florence; this year between 22nd and 25th of February. Its director Darijan Pejovski is from a big artistic family, his brother Alexandar is a renownedmusic composer…

You are part of a family that had big international successes in the art world. How did this influence the forming of your artistic credo?

Being raised in a music family helped a lot. My father is a composer, so from an early age I’ve learned that being an artist is not what it seems from the outside. It is not only about perfecting your craft, it’s also a strong, religious, intimate connection with your work. No matter how successful it would be. It is a hardworking, risk-taking life. They say that the most difficult collaborator in making films is the composer. I don’t really have that problem since my brother is also a composer. So, we have worked together on almost all of my works.

I was many times at the cinema in Florence where you received one of your latest prize. I always admired the interior; here cinemas look rather trashy. Do you think that Italians have greater knowledge about art and films than us? What is the cultural difference – here/there?

Not only in Italy, on every single festival I’ve been the audience was very engaged with the film; with any film. It’s fascinating to see that they are interested in films from countries they never heard of. It takes years of building a culture of any kind: going to the cinema, to a concert… And it takes a very short time to destroy it. When I was a kid, we went to the cinema all the time, my parents too. But, in the past fifteen years, there was a time in Skopje when there was not a single movie theater. Even today, there is only one multiplex theater in the whole city. So, do I think that Italians have greater knowledge of art? – Of course I do.

Regardless of the fact that our filmmakers had many successes internationally they have bad reputation. Usually they are considered as people that occasionally entered the productions;they are plagiarists, have no knowledge in film or arts and are without even the basic honesty. I read a lot about this on ex- Yugoslavia and I consider it as a cultural burdenfrom this time. Do you think our country offers education that provides good knowledge in films and has incorporated enough ethics?

Even if the educational system is good, and it isn’t, the whole turbo folk/soap opera ambient that we live in takes its price. On MacedonianTV channels there is literally nothing butTurkish soap operas, idiotic music and daily politics. Not only that these things reflect on the cultural education of young audiences, they create prejudices and dangerous stereotypes about family, gender issues etc.

Where do you see the future of cinema here and globally regarding the latest achievements in technology?

We live in a time when TV screens are getting bigger, and movie theaters are getting smaller. There is a general perception that filmmaking is democratized, that the tools are cheaper, everyone can make a film at home and so on. Partly, that is true and it is, of course, a great thing, but, in reality, the market is oversaturated with content. There are thousands of submissions for every festival. Because of the vast quantity of films being made per year, there is a very small portion that makes it through the festivals, TV distributions, or streaming platforms…So, yes, we have more options, but we also have much, much more competition as well.

Your awarded film is with leading female characters. Did you have any second thoughts regarding this—as in you knew enough about female psychology? Regarding the fact that you were relatively inexperienced when you made this feature, would you improve anything when you see it now?

I’ve always been attracted to female characters; maybe because I’m a man and I don’t actually know everything about women’s psychology. What I do know is that there is something unique about a female hero. Whether is Ripley in Alien, or Nikita, it is always more intriguing when there is a female lead involved. Maybe, because of all gender prejudices in being a woman, the character has always one more obstacle on her way. Would I change something when I see the film now? –No. I’m not saying that the film is perfect, but, three years later, I am a different person, so it would probably be a different film also.

According to you, what is the best influence cinema could have?

It’s nothing new that cinema is a powerful medium. It has been used and abused in the past century for all possible purposes. What is beautiful about it is that it’s the only art form that can truly transport you into different worlds, or characters. So, for me, it’s a journey. No matter where it ends.

Interviewer: Igor Pop Trajkov

Photographs courtesy of Art Proekt Lab, photograher: Nake Batev

Categories: Culture, English

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