TO MILENA, THE GREATEST!

Milena Dravić is our sole authentic film actress, Mira Banjac assessed while Radoslav Zelenović pointed out that Milena is the country’s cultural heritage

JELENA KNEŽEVIĆ

Last evening at Summer Stage, great actress Milena Dravić – the first “Aleksandar Lifka” award laureate and longtime Festival council member – has been awarded a newly-founded 25th anniversary silver-coin.

The beloved lady of cinema was saluted by an erupting ovation form the audience on its feet. She responded: “I am happy to be a part of this festival, I put my heart into it. I am happy to see you all. As audience, you have the power to help keep this Festival alive. You are the true fighters for the right cause, for the art and culture in this country. This is an important day for me”.

A film SHORT FILM ABOUT GREAT MILENA directed by Miloš Radović was shown as a tribute to Milena Dravić and her work.

The award ceremony was preceded by the opening of MILENA, an exhibition by Maja Medić and Stefan Arsenijević at Open University Subotica along with the presentation of a book on Milena Dravić by Tatjana Nježić. The exhibition was opened by Mira Banjac.

“The face we are currently surrounded by is the most expensive face of our cinema. Milena is our sole authentic film actress. Seldom is such a career. The careers of Milena and Dragan are an honor to this country that, sometimes, acts as if it doesn’t need culture. She is the face recognized by every citizen. I am glad that she is a part of the festival we are fighting to keep alive”.

Festival director Radoslav Zelenović reminisced about Milena’s first film THE DOOR REMAINS OPEN by František Čap that will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2019.

“That was the beginning of a spectacular career which saw Milena star in 160 film and television roles. They make the cinema of these parts instantly recognizable. They made her into the biggest movie diva of this region and one of the founding members of Serbian and Yugoslav film. Milena is the country’s cultural heritage.”

A book on Milena Dravić is a part of edition dedicated to “Dobričin prsten” award for life’s work laureates. Tatjana Nježić explained that the book is divided in five segments and has three layers: “The first layer is Milena’s roles, her stories of how she approached them – it contains the essence of her artistry. The second layer consists of stories from her personal life, for example when she is talking about Ivo Pogorelić, a reader can apprehend her life standpoints. The third layer is a masterclass on how to live a life in accordance to the highest beliefs and never back down”.

“I have been given many awards, however the most important thing for me was the fact that I was, on the inside, happy with the roles I played. I could’ve gotten the Academy Awards or Golden Palms, none of it would’ve mattered if I wasn’t satisfied in the first place”, Milena Dravić said at the exhibition opening.

The diva reminisced about the beginnings of Palić film festival:

“When I got a call from Rale, I thought to myself: the festival is a part of my commitment, a part of my job, too. I accepted and was in the Council for 8 years. It really was a huge struggle. There were many obstacles, but we had enthusiasm and we were tenacious. Out of it came the Festival that has, at one point, been named the best film festival in Europe. We must all remain here because the battle rages on and we must do our best so that it remains the best European festival. A country without culture is a poor and pathetic one”.

Milena concluded the emotional evening with fans and journalists at the Open University with following words: “In my life, I’ve had a tremendous support from my husband Dragan Nikolić. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him. I’ve had so many good things happen in my life because of him. Even now, as we speak, he is present here with us and he’d like to thank you, too”.