This is the second part of the interview (The integral version) made by Lucy Fisher from Time Magazine in July 1998 with the Macedonian movie director Stole Popov. On the next two pages we present you this interview and we hope that you will find this reading interesting
5. Did your feature films grow out of the documentaries?
Yes. Every feature film strives towards maximum illusion of reality. Usually the director wants the fiction to look like documentary, like it was ripped off from the real life . Working on documentaries makes you reveal the mentality of the environment you live in . You get a good observer and psychoanalyst, you build up your own life experience that latter on in collision with reality will help you recognize a lie .
6 . In Tattoo do you aim to show a brutal closed society which also reflects the
Exactly. It is a known truth that if you want to get a real picture about one society you have to take a peak in their prisons. ” Tattoo” was shot in spring 1990, but the story of the film takes place during the summer of 1989 , during the slow decline of communism. The film takes a closer look at the impeccable
functioning of the absurd, of repression and violence, which unfortunately were the only inevitable certainties of Ex -Yugoslav reality. Viewed with today’s aspect, my three movie pictures – ” The Red Horse” ( 1979 ) , ” Happy New 1949 ” ( 1986 ) , ” Tattoo” ( 1990) , anticipated the decay of communism, that last conspiracy against god. My new film ” Gypsy Magic” entered the” new time” , but the conscience and mentality of the people stayed the same. Now we are not facing a new conspiracy, but a fraud played by the underdone young communists. There is only one thing worse than communism, and that is fake democracy, which is in power not only in Macedonia, but many post- communist countries. I force myself to swallow this period of transition like a child disease that easily passes through.
7 . Apart from the professional actors, where did you find the cast?
Out on the street. The gypsies have enormous talent for acting and music. They improvise with great deal of fantasy, and you always get more than you expect. The cruelty of life can not break their optimism. They are full of life energy, true alchemists.
8 . Did you use gypsy music on the soundtrack ?
In ” Gypsy Magic” we can hear wonderful, magic, original gypsy music. Etno – folk and composed. The original soundtrack was done by Vlatko Stefanovski , top European guitar player and musician.
9 . It contains humor in its plot and situations: is this new for you?
Yes, in a certain way. We can also see humor in ” Tattoo” . ” Gypsy Magic ” is a film where the cruel realism, the surealistic plot and incredible situations come together. That is a movie that through tears and laughter comes to its esthetic form, the poetry of ugly. ” Gypsy Magic” is closest to the black comedy that
comes from the Italian neo realism , British ” Ealing comedy” , and Yugoslav documentary naturalism.
10 . Does it end as badly for the characters as your other films, or is there a note of hope?
If you are familiar with the Balkan, you will understand the tragic end of my characters. The Balkan people has always lived in tension, intolerance, fears, and dissatisfaction. They are frightened of wars , frauds, betrayals, they fear their neighbors and they fear themselves. Everything that goes on on the Balkan is a inevitable consequence of the historical mental picture of the people, who create a ” black hole” of the space they live in . The lead character in the movie, Taip , a father of many children ,is a dark, cunning, depressive and violent person, but also a big dreamer at the same time. He likes horses more than people.The film stands between brutality of life and hope. Taip dreams about escaping to India, like Utopia, and he sees reincarnation and salvation for his soul in his white horse Krishna. Taip is tired of life and he is ready to die. The hope is passed on to his children.
11 . What next?
Living on the Balkan leaves you no space to plan your future actions. No matter how successful your films are, you always have to wait 6 -7 years to get another chance for filming. The inner situation in Macedonia is bad, and he external is even worse. The current government does the opposite of its promises. It declares high humanistic and democratic principles, but yet can not free itself of the old diseases. They still have the totalitarian conscience loaded with hypocrisy, greed, corruption and intolerance. Macedonia is still far away from real democratic civil concept. Outside, on the north, in Yugoslavia there is a war going on in Kosovo , on the west we hear aspirations for” Great Albania” , on the east the Bulgarians are not willing to recognize
the Macedonian nation, and finally on the south Greece does not want to recognize the name of the Macedonian state. The temperature is up to the hilt. Life is complicated, film conditions are miserable. Despite all of that, I am sure in one thing. The films basically are always only” ordinary, simple life stories” … and nothing else. My next films will also continue this way.
For Part one click here