I am never bored with talking about good films
When you are preparing a character for a film, nothing is difficult, just interesting, attracting, and there is the ambition to reach the new and the unknown
When the first film of a nineteen-year-old actress gets the ''Golden Lion'' and other 30 international awards, it is no wonder that in the next 20 years she plays the same number of roles, half of which in international co-productions. Obviously, that was not enough for Labina Mitevska, so she produced four other films in the meantime. Together with her sister Teona, a director, and her brother Vuk, a scenographer, Labina is a member of the ''Sister & Brother Mitevski'' team and was behind the film WOMAN WHO BRUSHED OFF HER TEARS in which she is a co-star to the famous Spanish actress Victoria Abril. This film was shown in the programme Parallels and Encounters. Nevertheless, this conversation could start with nothing else but mentioning what happened at the beginning – Milčo Mančevski and Labina's fascinating role of a young Albanian girl Zamira.BEFORE THE RAIN, 18 years after. Are you bored with questions about this film?
No, not at all. I am never bored with talking about good films, and BEFORE THE RAIN is one of them. When it appeared, it surprised everyone with the story, the script, the visual expression, the type of narration, wonderful actors and actresses… For me it is a fine example of a good author film, when the film language is used to the maximum in the form of art.
What are your memories about the work with Mančevski? Did you already know, while you were making the film, that you were creating something great?
Milčo is a wonderful artist, he likes to hold everything in his hands, to control everything. He is absolutely dedicated. For many of us it was our first film. It was difficult for everyone, in the sense of production, and especially for Milčo. But we were all holding up bravely. When I think about it today, it was a big burden for him: imagine, for example, when you have to change the cameraman in the middle of filming. Even the greatest directors would have difficulty to cope with that, let alone someone who was making their first film. So, no – we did not know then that we were witnessing the creation of a great film. There was a lot of creation and love, but I do not remember the filming as an extremely difficult one.
If your Zamira from BEFORE THE RAIN did not die, would she have something in common with Ajsun from WOMAN WHO BRUSHED OFF HER TEARS?
When I think about it, maybe she would. They both possess rebelliousness, wish to be free, to make a change and go forward. To move from the traditional to the modern surrounding.
Was it difficult to act the role of Ajsun, the woman that she is?
When you are preparing a character for a film, nothing is difficult, just interesting, attracting, and there is the ambition to reach the new and the unknown. That is why I love acting, I love that creation and freedom to bring a character to life. Personally, I like these preparations the best, and with Teona they always last long. Due to this film I have met the Juruci, who live in the 21st century without the burden of technology, filled with love, understanding, respect. Unfortunately, these qualities are quite often forgotten nowadays.
How did you manage to get a star like Victoria Abril for your film?
We invited her about ten times to come to the Bitola Film Festival, but she rejected the invitation nine times. Eventually, she accepted it. And then, instead of two days, she stayed in Bitola for the whole week. Teona wanted us to try to get her for the role of Helena. It seemed impossible to me, but obviously you can do anything if you are persistent.
WOMAN WHO BRUSHED OFF HER TEARS is another film from the Mitevski workshop. What is it like to work with your brother and sister?
It is perfect! Our cooperation is full of emotions and creativity. We live in order to create art. We believe film is art and we fight for it. And, of course, it is easier when there are three of us, and we are actually like one. There is nothing nicer than that.
What is it that you like of European films, have you seen something interesting recently?
I love Haneke, Trier, Reygadas… Every time they manage to provoke, they are controversial, and leave you thinking for days.