One of the stars of the 38th edition of the “Manaki Brothers” festival is the French cinematographer Agnes Godard, who in 2013 won the Golden Camera 300 for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema Art. Exactly that visit of Bitola, after which she did a tour of Macedonia, inspired her to work on a film shot in our country.
Hence, the collaboration with the director Teona Strugar Mitevska resulted in the appearance of the film “When the Day Had no Name”, which will be screened tonight at the festival. Agnes Godard is in this year’s festival program with two films as a cinematographer, and her second film “Let the Sunshine in”, directed by Claire Denis, with Juliette Binoche in the main role, will close this edition of “Manaki Bothers” tomorrow evening.
Agnes Godard collaborates with the director Claire Denis for thirty years now, and the secret to this long-lasting collaboration lays in the overlap of their aesthetic preferences.
-When I graduated from university, I shot a short film in honor of my father, who passed away very early. Claire saw that film and offered me to work with her. We have been working together for 30 years since then. The success to our collaboration is in the fact that our meetings are generally at the sets, we don’t analyze our work too much nor our mutual collaboration relation, our feel of aesthetic simply overlaps – says Godard.
In terms of the collaboration with Teona Mitevska on the film “When the Day Had no Name”, Godard explained that she had a wish to film in these regions long time ago.
-My grandfather, in a series of circumstances, had been in this region during WWI. I saw Macedonia for the first time when I came to “Manaki Brothers” in 2013. When Teona Mitevska sent me the script, I was immediately won over by the subject of the life of Macedonian teenagers. Since I am part of an older generation, I was happy that I will have the chance to meet people from a different part of the world, with a different culture and at a different age – says Godard.
In terms of the problems she was facing during the shooting, she pointed out that they were essentially just challenges that they overcame in a creative manner.
-Though it was a deal to speak in English during the filming, everyone started talking in Macedonian whilst working and I didn’t understand a thing. But, after a while, I understood that, in fact, we have a universal visual language through which we understood each other, the language of film art. In terms of the budget, the challenges of the cinematographers to work on a smaller budget are the same both in France and Macedonia. On the other hand, due to working on a smaller budget, we get ideas we would never get if working under more comfortable conditions. I enjoyed finding new ways to work with the given tools – said Godard.
She also explained that she had picked a more naturalist approach in the filming, which she thinks had captured the spirit of the film. The work with younger directors is something that pushes her forward and motivates her to constantly search for new ways of work.
Though she could stay in Bitola for a short while this time, Agnes Godard was more than happy that she came to honor the Macedonian premiere of the film.