Laureates2018-09-16T14:34:49+00:00

LAUREATES



ROGER DEAKINS


THE LAUREATE OF THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD “GOLDEN CAMERA 300” AT THE 39 ICFF IS THE ENGLISHMAN

ROGER DEAKINS, BSC/ASC

Roger Deakins was born on 24 May, 1949, in the town of Torquay, Devon, England/the United Kingdom. He studied still photography at the Bath School of Art and had the idea to become a painter, but under the influence of the English photographer Roger Mayne, who was teaching there, he devoted himself to photography which remained his lasting love and he continued his education at the National Film School (1972-75), where he definitely opted for filmmaking as his future profession. In his first, post-graduationb period he also came upon the films IN COLD BLOOD (1967) and FAT CITY (1972) by the cinematographer from the older generation, the triple Oscar-winner, Conrad Hall (1926-2003) that he says, had serious influence on his decision to devote himself to filmmaking. Back then Deakins also showed his basic love for documentaries by shooting: FARMER’S HUNT (1974, which he directed himself during his studies at the National Film School), then ZIMBABWE (1977, which he also directed himself and which was planned to be travelogue, but ended up being a documentary about the then civil war) and AROUND THE WORLD WITH RIDGEWAY (1979, which he spent an entire year filming, living on a yacht). Thus, the young Deakins, fostering this love from his student days, started to shape his creative and artistic character: “All I’ve ever wanted to do is take stills of people, or take documentaries about people…”; “…I like character films. I like photographing a human face. I find that more interesting than anything else, and that‘s what I will continue to do”. Consistently to this determination, he always advises young cinematographers to first start shooting documentaries, and only then proceed to shot feature films. Speaking about the documentary genre, Deakins, believes Frederic Wiseman to be the greatest modern documentary author (which is something I absolutely agree with), choosing his film HOSPITAL (1970) as an anthological one, while I myself would dare to add Wiseman’s last film EX LIBRIS: THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY (2017) to this. In his early, British phase, Deakins also shot TV films, most of them for Channel 4, as well as music videos. Before I move on to the most significant films from his rich creative opus, I would like to briefly outline his professional characteristics which determine his style and expression. First and foremost, this his rare commitment to the duality of acting as both, camera operator and chief cinematographer, which is a complementarity typical of great filmmakers such as himself. He is also professionally tied to the same crew of permanent collaborators that he speaks thesame language with, and who meet his aesthetic criteria, such as his loyal gaffer/lighting technician, Bill O’Leary that he has been working with since the first film they made together, the now already anthological SID AND NANCY (1986). Despite his, now already Oscar-winning reputation, among his colleagues he is known as the cinematographer who has never shot a film with anamorphic lenses, he is keen on working with spherical lenses for the visual appearance of his films, most often creating his imagery in camera, with Digital Intermediate (DI), without using light filters, thus changing the lighting, saturation and contrasts without depending on post-technological effects. It will be extremely interesting to hear about all these professional and technological means of expression, as well as creative processes at his master-class as a Laureate of the Golden Camera 300, in Bitola, at the “Manaki Brothers” Festival. Otherwise, another case in point to the greatness of the artist Roger Deakins is his openness to all of his fans and supporters, as well as cineastes, is his readiness to always answer a question addressed to him, or clarify a certain phenomenon at the web-site that he decided to launch togetherwith his wife, on the occasion of the screening of his favourite film from the anthology of world films, the French ARMY OF SHADOWS (1969, by director Jean-Pierre Melville, where the cinematographer is our last year’s laureate, Pierre Lhomme), after which he wascontacted by hundreds of students asking him for advice.

Deakins has two periods in his career as a cinematographer: the first, the British one – starting from the mid-1970 when he made films in British cinema, emphasizing that if it hadn’t been for his education at the National Film School as a turning point, he probably would have never become a filmmaker. Back then he made most of the films together with film director Michael Radford: ANOTHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE (1983), “1984” (the screen adaptation of the eponymous science fiction novel by George Orwell in the exact year of 1984) and WHITE MISCHIEF (1987), while in the meantime, in 1986, together with director Alex Cox and Gary Oldman in the title role of Sid Vicious, the front man of the punk band Sex Pistols, he made the cult film SID AND NANCY, and with director Mike Figgis he made the also famous STORMY MONDAY (1988); It was in theBritish period, after gaining the necessary experience by shooting documentaries and music videos as a professional training, I shall repeat once again, that Deakins shaped his particular style and expression, emphasizing the work of cinematographer Conrad L. Hall, who worked in the style of Italian neo-realism, as a crucial influence on his expression, comparing him with Godard’s cinematographer Raoul Coutard (who was also our Laureate of the Golden Camera 300 for Lifetime Achievement).

The second period is the American one, as quite significant in his career for both the Oscar nominationsand the Academy Award which he was finally presented with (despite earning it a long time ago). It started in 1990, when together with director Bob Rafelson he made his first American film MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON, while in 1991 he shot Joel and Ethan Coen’s first film BARTON FINK (with John Turturro, the first from the multitude of actors that Deakins would paint in such an effective and permanently striking way, who through the main character of the deranged and frustratingly confused writer, hired by the Hollywood machinery, builds a visual Kafkaesque spiral), and proceeded to build a most fruitful collaboration with them, becoming their cinematographer partner and shooting all of their films which have in fact earned him most of the Academy Award nominations. Out of the 13 Oscar nominations which make him a world record-holder, 8 are for films made with different other directors, and a total of 5 are for films made together with the Coen brothers, which are the cherry on the top of his visual artistry, subtlety in the expression, superior cinema aesthetics and technical performances, dominantly focused on emphasizing the personality of the leading actors who push the action and drama forward and that these films are chiefly remembered for. However, it was with director Frank Darabont that he got the first Academy Award nomination in 1995 for the film THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (shot in 1994 which is the year when he also won the ASC Award for this excellent prison drama breathlessly painted through the two immaculate creations by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman as prisoners; the camera used was Arriflex 35 BL 4S), then the film FARGO (directed by the Coen brothers, 1997, bringing him his second Oscar nomination for best cinematographer, with the unsurpassable Frances Mcdormand whose Oscar can partially be attributed to Deakins as well, for depicting her with effective concentration as she was building the character of the pregnant, patient police officer who completely casually solves the tragicomic, coldblooded murders and altercations between the crazy criminals; the camera used was Arriflex 35 BL4). This film was followed by KUNDUN by director Martin Scorsese (AAN in 1998, a visually rich evocation of the time of the young Dalai Lama; Arriflex 535 B). He continued with a few more films by the Coen brothers, starting with OH, BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? (2001, AAN and the BSC Award for another prison comedy-drama about the escape of prisoners George Clooney and John Turturro, shot as an action drama about the hunting of the fugitives; here Deakins used the Arriflex 535B) and continuing with THE MAN WHO  WASN’T THERE (2002, that he should have won the first Oscar for, due

to the craft shown in handling black and white photography, but in turn this film earned him the first of the 4 awards by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts — BAFTA on top of the ASC award. This is a psycho drama the plot of which revolves around the deranged mind of the barber played by Billy Bob Thornton, whose grey zones of a hidden criminal are masterfully nuanced by Deakins through the black and white chiaroscuro; Arriflex 535B), NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (earning him the BSC Award in 2008 and previously, in 2007, the BAFTA Award for this, even more strikingly directed and shot madman’s drama of violence and murder in the criminal world of drugs and money, contributing a large share to Javier Bardem’s Oscar with his meticulous execution of the actor’s specificity captured with the Arriflex 535B) followed by THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES… (AAN in 2008, directed by Andrew Dominik), THE READER by director Stephen Daldry (2009, a shared nomination with the other cinematographer in this film – Chris Menges, who was also our laureate of the Camera 300 for Lifetime Achievement), then TRUE GRIT (by the Coen brothers, AAN in 2010, plus a BAFTA award), then SKYFALL (2013, directed by Sam Mendes, AAN and the ASC Award for another rich and visually astoundingly depicted version of James Bond – 007 with the necessary arsenal of cameras: Arri Alexa M, Arri Alexa Plus, Arri Alexa Studio, Red Epic), UNBROKEN (directed by Angelina Jolie, written by the Coen brothers, AAN in 2015), and then the first — PRISONERS (AAN in 2014), and second film — SICARIO, in collaboration with the Canadian director and screenwriter Denis Villeneuve – that he was nominated for again in 2016; which was featured in our Festival’s Main Programme in 2015, and which was rightfully expected to earn Deakins the Oscar he had already deserved a long time, ago). In his work with all the American directors, Deakins demonstrates his superb creative perfection, continuing and building on the initial priorities from hisBritish stage to achieve wholeness in the visual expression, regardless of whether it is black and white or colour photography in question, complemented by the adequate production design providing the spirit of the film, and giving priority to the focus on the drama of the characters shaping the narration, through the prominent close-ups of the actors, thus emphasizing the essence of the film whereby the characters remain permanently engraved in our memory with their performances and acting. This is particularly prominent in all the films by the Coen brothers, whose dramaturgy and plot-structure are striking to a level of recognisability, the planned psycho-drama tension, seeking the bizarre through extorted, as if seen through broken glass, dramatic situations, at times bursting with Kafkaesque tensions, at times slightly mad, whereby Deakins with his visual palette or black and white grading, contributes to the dramatic thrill, the sensations and the way this is experienced on the big screen. However, evidently, it was with Canadian Denis Villeneuve that Deakins reached his creative peak, starting with the first film they made together –PRISONERS, and in particular with the last two: SICARIO and the Oscar-winning BLADE RUNNER 2049. In SICARIO (in which he, as usual, is both the cinematographer and camera operator, for which, after 13 nominations we rightfully expected that he would get the first Oscar) the topic of which are the battles between the bloodthirsty members of the Latin-American/ Mexican cartels and the Mexican/American joint task force, led by Benicio Del Toro who is spurred by a personal desire for revenge and whose main target is the liquidation of the cartel “king” and his family, in a similar vein to the quest for the deranged/outcast general Kurtz from Coppola’s APOCALYPSE NOW, Deakins builds up the visual gradation and growing tension to the point of explosion, whereby one of the most astonishing scenes is the 10-minute longer sequence of the task force raiding the dangerous cartel, shot with a large number of cameras (ARRI ALEXA MINI, ARRI ALEXA XT), which paint a picture of an apocalyptical triumphal march of the task forces, followed by the altercations in a sequence, as small annexed battles, in the overall image of the ruthless war. The visual package by maestro Deakins builds this crescendo which stays remembered for its explosive nature and dramatic uncertainty. In the Oscar-winning BLADE RUNNER 2049, aiming at the double effect of being a sequel to the first prototype from 1982 and its remake at the same time, the tandem Villeneuve – Deakins, set off from the basic premise of the BLADE RUNNER, from 1982, signed by director Ridley Scott and cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth (Villeneuve, expressing his fascination with the film from his youth, something that I am sure also applies to Deakins with all due respect), who, through the original film, left permanent anthological and cinematic traces worthy of all respect. United through the idea of scriptwriter Hempton Fancher about the dystopian vision of the future and the quest of the young Blade Runner “K” played by Ryan Gosling, after the old, original Blade Runner, Rick Deckard, who is played by Harrison Ford in both films, trying to discover his traces 30 years later, Deakins and Villenevue create a visual symphony (with an impressive number of associations in the visual effects – the credits give an impression that there is an entire countless army of them, a record number, nearly 1000), the digital superiority of which is realized with the stateof the-art performances (production designer Dennis Gassner and camera operator Darren Douglas) and general build-up conducted by maestro Deakins, who as great fan of new technology used the triple camera arsenal of Arri Alexa Mini, Arri Alexa XT, Arri Alexa Plus. It is exactly in the area of visual expression that Deakins creates the richness of the new version – BLADE RUNNER 2049, which is already considered to be anthological and of permanent value for the future, and which the colleagues from AMPAS also found to be irresistible and after the 13 nominations finally bestowed the well-earned Oscar to Deakins. Moreover, the film has so far won a record-breaking number of 35 different awards, with Deakins’ Academy Award as the greatest achievement. As a great and deserving British artist, in 2013 Roger Deakins was awarded the prestigious decoration of Commander of the Order of The British Empire.

I already mentioned several examples of thegreatness of the artist that Roger Deakins is –first and foremost this is evident from his respect for the authors and works that have left indelible marks on him and have creatively shaped him as an artist, which is further emphasized by his altruism and honest openness and willingness to share his knowledge and experience with people from all walks of life, ranging from filmfans to professionals, something that his website is a case in point of. I already mentioned his respect for and fascination with Jean Pierre Melville, Raoul Coutard, Wiseman, Conrad Hall, and I would like to add Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, Visconti, and in particular, Tarkovsky with his two anthological masterpieces IVAN’S CHILDHOOD and SOLARIS, signed by the great Russian cinematographer Vadim Jusov (another member of our Club of Greats, winner of the Golden Camera 300 for Lifetime Achievement). A very indicative example of what Deakins is like as an artist and as a human being is his conduct during the Oscar Ceremony where after  expressing his satisfaction that his compatriot Gary Oldman also got the Oscar that night for the role of Churchill in the DARKEST HOUR (reminiscing of their beginnings in SID AND NANCY), in his acceptance speech he proceeded to thank all his loyal associates that he has been working with for decades and dedicated the award to them, because, as he said, they deserve it and because it takes a “team effort”.

After several years of persistent attempts to bring one of the greatest living world cinematographers – Roger Deakins, to Macedonia/Bitola, our efforts finally came to fruition to our great pleasure and joy, and in the same year when he finally became an Oscar-winning author for his creation in the already anthological work of art, one of the many from his rich opus – BLADE RUNNER 2049. Thus Deakins becomes a new member in our Club of Greats after winning the Oscar this year, and to our great satisfaction, when we sent him the invitation to become a Laureate of the Lifetime Achievement Golden Camera 300, we predicted that he would win the Oscar for BLADE RUNNER 2049, whereby finally, after 13 nominations, he was crowned withthe Academy Award he had already earned a long time ago.The outstanding number of 115 various international cinemaawards and 148 nominations only serves to prove the greatness of our latest laureate.

Roger Deakins is rightfully a member of both the British and the American Society of Cinematographers, equally respected by these two significant world cinematographers’ associations, which have given him their annual Best Cinematographer Awards on several occasions.

Last, but definitely not the least, his most loyal and most confidential partner in life and business, who has lovingly committed herself to his career with all her might, is his wonderful spouse, James Ellis Deakins, that he has been married to since 1991 and who herself is a film professional, and often the script supervisor in his films.

To us, as organizers of the Manaki Brothers festival, and to the audiences and all film-lovers, the arrival of the Deakins couple in Bitola and Macedonia, as our top VIP guests, will be a great honor, a great pride and joy and the best possible way to head into another super-successful edition of the world’s oldest festival dedicated to the cinematographers’ art, this year together with the biggest star of the 39 “Manaki Brothers” – the Oscar-winner and our Laureate of the Golden Camera 300 for Lifetime Achievement – Roger Deakins.

Blagoja Kunovski – Dore

Artistic Director


CLAUDIA CARDINALE


THE RECIPIENT OF THE SPECIAL GOLDEN CAMERA 300 FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD CINEMA ART IS THE ITALIAN FILM DIVA CLAUDIA CARDINALE

Never be a slave to the clichés, not even the clichés about yourself

“I’ve lived a thousand lives and you really must be very strong in order not to lose your identity”. Claudia Cardinale showed exactly such strength of character despite the meteoric career which launched her to stardom in the 1960s and 1970s, despite the astounding beauty which put her among the 50 most beautiful women in the history of film, despite the 900 magazine covers in the entire world, despite the many temptations and challenges. That’s why she was fearless in the face of the passing of time, without any need to try to turn it back…

The great Italian and world diva, Claudia Cardinale, has an impressive 60- year career behind her, but what impresses us, especially since she has been named one of the 50 most beautiful women in the history of cinema, is her simplicity and modesty. “I am not nostalgic for that time,” says Cardinale, “I prefer to live in the present and I am not afraid of the passing of time”. Many of the big actresses act quite the opposite, they resort to completely living in the past, choosing to hold on to that illusion of eternity and inapproachability. Not to mention their attempt to turn back time. We are witnessing this trend for years, as the actresses are being destroyed in their attempts to keep their beauty. But not Claudia Cardinale.

“I did not embellish my old age and did nothing against wrinkles. I apologize to many because of that”. She is simply incredible, absorbing in herself all the wisdom, the wisdom of a simple life, of reality, of standing with your feet firmly planted on the ground, which is the most important. Because, the beauty of success is precisely in the awareness of the passing of time. It is then that the happiness is the greatest, because wisdom teaches us that it is in the small moments, of course, if you know how to enjoy them. Therefore, Claudia Cardinale, at the age of 80, hides her years with laughter, all the while remaining “full of joy, freedom and daring”.

This phrase was not incidentally used and highlighted last year when the portret of Claudia Cardinale was placed on the poster of the glamorous Cannes Film Festival, on its 70th anniversary. In the photo, taken on the rooftops in Rome, Claudia is at the age of 21 when, of course, she was full of joy, freedom and daring. What is incredible is that she has managed to remain the same to this day. Why? Precisely because she did not become a slave to the clichés, in general, or even to the clichés about herself. It is interesting that on the Cannes Poster, according to today’s fashionable trends, Claudia’s body was airbrushed, completely unnecessarily. Many journalists reacted to the fact that there was really no need to embellish someone who the cinematographer Conrad Hall has said “is the dream of every cinematographer”, because she is the perfect piece of nature and that whatever angle you shoot her from, you can make no mistake. But the trends are inexorable, and she accepted it all with laughter, saying that the poster looks like a heroine from her dreams and that it does not bother her at all.

She has the same attitude to her career. She is probably one of the few actresses who follows reason and has not allowed to become a cliché or a grotesque version of herself, trying to become a Hollywood actress at all costs. To the contrary, after her meteoric success in Italy, she really did go Hollywood, where she returned from after only five years, declaring that she did not like to play the same roles over and over again and that she can give much more of herself in the Italian and French theaters, without neglecting European cinema as well. And it is a fact that Claudia Cardinale has played i some of the best-known achievements in the history of cinema. It is enough to mention only “Rocco and His Brothers”, “Eight and a Half” (81/2), “Once Upon a Time in the West”, “The Leopard”, “Pink Panther”, “Salamander”, “Fitzcarraldo” and many others.

She has 150 roles behind her, and her beginnings are like in a movie. Claudia Cardinale was born on April 15, 1938 in Tunisia, where she was educated as a teacher. Her father was an Italian who worked on the railway, and her mother was French. Interestingly, when she started her career in Italy she spoke better French than Italian. But, as she says herself, it was destiny’s will for her to win the “Most Beautiful Italian in Tunisia” Pageant and to attend the Venice Film Festival as a reward. That same year she signed the first film deal, and 1958 marks the start of her career, which lasts to date. In her first film, “Goha” she played alongside Omar Sharif, and this film, which is considered a classic today, received the Jury Award in Cannes. It is a film about a tragic love story, one of those who are preserved by word of mouth and which is remembered as “the sad destiny of Goha”.

That same year, she also played in the movie “Big Deal on Madonna Street” by Mario Monicelli, next to Vittorio Gassman, Marcello Mastroianni and Renato Salvatori, and this Italian farce, or absurdist comedy about losers who believe that they will become successful thieves, ended up being nominated for the “Oscar” for a Foreign Film and reaped many more awards. Cardinale became recognizable as Carmelina, especially as she continued the tradition of playing a fierce-tempered woman from the Italian south, playing countryside beauties which often come in conflict with the environment due to their appearance. In 1958, she already had her first leading role in Claudio Gora’s film “Three Strangers in Rome”, and what is unbelievable is that the next year, in 1959, she played in as many as seven films and she continued with the same intensity right into the 1960s, when she became the leading Italian actress.

At the same time, she started attending the Center for Experimental Cinematography in Rome, where she learned Italian and it is an interesting fact that because of her deep, rasp voice, she was often dubbed by a voiceover at the beginning. But this had no impact on her meteoric career whatsoever, quite to the contrary. In “Girl With The Suitcase” (1961) she identified with the role of the young and childish girl, homeless, especially because she also experienced early motherhood. This role, according to critics, will mark the transition from a pin-up girl to the so-called nymphet type in Italian cinema, who destroy men with their seductive appearance and perverse naivete. The “Girl with the Suitcase” brought her a nomination in Cannes, and in Italy she received the “David di Donatello” Award.

This was followed by some of the most important classics in the European, but also in the world cinema history. “Eight and a Half” (1963) by Federico Fellini, considered the peak in his ouevre, earned them the “Oscar” for a foreign film and another forty-odd awards in the world. Then Cardinale proceeded to play in three films by another Italian master of cinema, Luchino Visconti. In 1960 she starred in the famous “Rocco and His Brothers” with the then great French star Alain Delon. The film received the special prize of the jury in Venice, and Claudia Cardinale continued with the film “Leopard”, which speaks of the extinction of the Italian nobility, alongside Burt Lancaster, the old aristocrat who plays the tragic role of the last bearer of old glory. The third Visconti film where Cardinale stars is “Sandra,” (“Golden Lion“ in Venice) which critics consider to be the role her life. It’s a difficult, complex film about a rich civilian family that’s disintegrating from the inside, all the relationships in which are destroyed and where revenge and dissatisfaction prevail.

The films that would bring her international fame are “Pink Panther” by Blake Edwards and the cult “Once Upon a time in the West” by Sergio Leone. Interestingly, in “Pink Panther”, which otherwise spawned a brilliant series about the clumsy inspector Cluzo, Claudia Cardinale played in English, for the first time, dubbed with a voiceover. And in “Once Upon a Time in the West,” the film that marked the milestone that Sergio Leone made in the Western genre, she played a widow who wanted to avenge her husband, alongside the Hollywood legends: Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards. It is interesting that in 1993 she starred again in “Pink Panther’s Son” with Roberto Benigni, and she had a cameo apparance in “Twice Upon a Time in the West”, a postmodern tribute to the film by Boris Despodov.

We also remember her for the extraordinary series “Jesus of Nazareth” by Franco Zeffirelli, where she acts alongside the ensemble cast led by: Rod Steiger, Anthony Quinn, Lawrence Olivier, Ernest Borgnine, Christopher Plummer and many others. Her role as an adulterer, whom the people want to stone, and when Jesus speaks the famous: “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” although short, remains remembered. Claudia Cardinale also starred in the famous thriller “Salamander”, she was Pauline Bonaparte in the “Battle of Austerlitz”, and she also starred in Werner Herzog’s grandiose “Fitzcarraldo” with Klaus Kinski, as well as in the provocative “The Skin” by Liliana Cavani. Her role in the movie “Senora Enrika” is well-known and awarded as the elderly woman and a young Turkish student who has severe “culture shock”.

In recent years, in addition to the award-winning roles, she has numerous awards and honorary acknowledgments for her career and her contribution to the cinema art, including: the “Golden Lion”, the “Bear” in Berlin, the European Film Award, the honorary Lumières Award and many others. And quite rightfully so, because her career really had a completely different track. When she was at the top, she managed to make a turn and return to the place where she could give the most from. She left Hollywood, saying there is nothing new there for her any more and that she did not want to play the same role over and over again. Maybe she did not have the international career that many expected, but she remained true to herself and gave an amazing contribution, both with her roles and with the attitude towards them. She is probably one of the very few who did not lose the ground under their feet even after as many as 900 magazine covers which she had in more than 25 countries around the world. Fans have often been more interested in her beauty, than in her acting, but not her. Perhaps this is due to the fact that, as she says, she is Tunisian and African by roots, French by culture, and Italian by nationality. She also never got naked, because according to her, mystery is very important. “I have lived thousands of lives and you must really be very strong not to lose your identity.” Since 2000 she has been a goodwill ambassador in UNESCO defending women’s rights. Her struggle obviously continues, not only for better roles, not only for a better quality and fairer life, but for the most basic thing which imbues us with the right meaning and which is the only thing that makes it possible for us to last. “Everybody’s beauty, says Claudia, fades at a given moment, the most important thing is to cherish the inner beauty, the beauty of the soul,” she says. That’s why she has lasted herself, that is why even today she is so full of zest and love for her job, that is why even today she is “full of joy, freedom and daring”. Because only an independent spirit, consciousness and truthfulness can take you further into new quests, new temptations and discoveries. The past is enriching, but the future is the one that leads us forward. Claudia Cardinale, definitely, is one and only, especially in her profession. That’s why even today, it can be freely said, she is open to new challenges.

Sunchica Unevska Gvozdenovic

Film critic and editor of FILM+


MILICA STOJANOVA


RECIPIENT OF THE AWARD “THE GREAT STAR OF THE MACEDONIAN FILM PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION”

MILICA STOJANOVA

There are artists who leave their mark on entire generations behind them and thus become the cornerstone and landmark of a permanent artistic continuity. Milica belongs to those, both by conviction and oeuvre.

 

(Branko Varoshlija)

The Macedonian theater and film diva, Milica Stojanova, had a thorny life which started with the disobedience of a little girl from Kriva Palanka, raised like a Spartan by her grandmother Altana. With a sock sliding down and “a colorful tea dress with a flower print”, back in 1948, this little girl came to the State Theater School in Skopje to become an actress. What followed was a magnificent creative story. Most definitely, she also had a constant longing for the human touch, in a world of immense, alarming loneliness, in the midst of which, tranquility, as Milica Stojanova herself has said – could only be found in the restlessness of the characters she played.

Many pages have been written about Milica Stojanova, there are thousands of photographs, roll film, we have recorded some of her quotes, and there are even her mysterious actress’s notebooks and elliptical verses, through which she reveals the secrets of success. A lot has been written about her by a multitude of admirers from all generations. And although statistics and facts may seem to be less exciting, let’s try to recall how particular and how unsurpassably imposing the seemingly ordinary figures achieved by the brave, persistent Milica Stojanova in the span of more than six decades of creation are.

Here are the figures: – 8 extras and 36 roles, 4 out of which after retirement in the Macedonian National Theater; 61 role in the Drama Theater, 11 of them after retirement; 10 roles as a guest star in other theaters and noninstitutional projects; about 3,000 roles in different radio programs; 26 roles in TV dramas and 16 more in TV series; 9 voice-overs of the main female roles in Macedonian films, 2 in documentaries; 13 film roles and many more performances on numerous poetry and other types of events. Let’s mention only some of the awards: “October 11” in 1971, for Sarka in the “The Bereaved Family” by Branislav Nusic; 1972 JRT Award for a radio role; “Actress of the Year” in 1973 for the role of Beatrice Hunsdorfer in the famous play “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” by Paul Zindel, and once again in 1981 for the character of Monica Dorsey in “The Gin Game” by D. Coburn, for which she also received the “13 November” Award; In 1982 she received the “Vojdan Chernodrinski” Prize for Malina in “Erigon” by J. Plevnesh, in 1984, “Steria’s Prize” for Paraskeva in “The False Bottom” by Goran Stefanovski, a year before she was decorated with the Order of Labor with a Golden Wreath, in 1984 with the “11 October” for Lifetime Achievement, ten years later with the Vojdan Chernodrinski Prize for Lifetime Achievement and in 1996 with the “Golden Plaque” of the Drama Theater – Skopje.

Ivan Ivanovski is right to say that “Stojanova is an entire history, an institution, a school where no blank space is left, where there is only room for the true and deep art of acting…” Milica Stojanova has worked with a multitude of Macedonian directors from all generations, and has guided some of them, as she jokingly says, “through graduation”. Many contemporaries emphasize her acting erudition and thoroughness. This may be best confirmed by her former neighbors, who far back in 1955 got all upset from her “lessons in screaming” when she was preparing the role of the hysterical girls Betty Paris for the “Salem Witches”.

They say there’s no human who has met Milica Stojanova, and has not come to realize that acting is everything to her! Branko Varoslija on one occasion remarked very accurately: “It is essential to point out the fact that she is a stage artist with indisputable authentic talent, confirmed on numerous occasions, which is deeply intertwined with the environment that she creates in. Talent, which does not only rely on intuition as substantiation, but also a kind of, and above all, school of thought and a concept of artistic creativity. That school, as we’ve already named it, is embellished by a wonderful sense for the milieu of one’s own belonging to cultural life, a sense of one’s own country and not just as a cultural design, but as an existence, in general”. Milica Stojanova is an actress of “grandiose internal landscapes, and yet with pure antique simplicity” (I. Ivanovski), an actress who, with equal success, acts out the physical, political, distant, the theater of the absurd, as she is brilliant both in the genre of tragedy and the genre of comedy. In one of his records Goran Stefanovski talks about Milica Stojanova’s plausibility in the carving of the characters she plays: “For some reason, whenever I think of Milica Stojanova’s acting secret, I think above all of her eyes. They are, as they say, the mirror of the soul. Milica’s mirror is in constant motion, search, examination, restless introspection, intense inner dialogue.

“ Milica Stojanova’s power of transformation is proverbial. Let’s just mention that she played three roles in Lorca’s “Blood Wedding”: in the first one she played two roles – a girl and a fortune teller, in the second – Leonardo’s wife, and in the third one – as many as five different roles! It’s no wonder, then, that Milica Stojanova to date still has – as Petre M. says. Andreevski has put it – “a hypnotic effect on the spectators”. Let’s go back to only two of her master roles: in “Wild Flesh” Vladimir Georgievski recalls, through Milica, “through the song that she sang, the thunderbolt of the apocalypse roared. In that singing even cosmic space was taken to the abyss!” Another theater enthusiast from Bitola, in his own words, touches upon the power of this artist:” In my entire life I have not even slaughtered a chicken, but if Milica, as Lady Macbeth, suggests I do it, as she did to Macbeth – I would definitely start killing…”

Equally successful both in the theater and on the big screen, her acting is woven into the finest flutter of the word, thought, and each of her gestures and movements springs from the great thought mechanism that reveals the psychological state of the character. That’s why her acting aspires to reach the impossible, and in fact exalts us by brilliantly acting out the humanly possible. Milica Stojanova, for more than six decades, through the morphology of all the cultural and social contexts, including our unfortunate times of transition, with all her roles, showed us how to bear the worst of destiny, like the one of the mythical Kassandra condemned to tell the truth about life and art, which many are not ready to hear and accept. These are the values left by Milica Stojanova in the Macedonian culture.

Ivan Dodovski