"Maradona's dribbling with stars" - interview in Vecernje Novosti, 23 april 2008

Film, Football and Festival - three F for a winning combination. Football and Film artists Kusturica and Maradona will be together in Cannes. The new film of the maestro director and the Football wizard will have their première gala on the Croisette. We met Kusturica during the shooting of the French film ”Farewell” in the studios in the suburbs of Paris, when he was preparing his luggages to fly to Moscow, for a concert with the No Smoking Orchestra.

He plays a Russian spy. ”I play a double-agent who is on the knees, tired of life. It's an interesting story and film idea, and I think it will help me in cinema art” told us the director who never rests.

  • You're back to the Cannes Film Festival ! It's a surprise. It's like you've forgotten for Promise me this and the fact you were back with no prize ?
    • Emir Kusturica : It's a surprise, because I really thought not to come back anymore. But life needs contradictions, specially on what you said or did under despite or anger. If I don't hold on what I said, I hope I'll be forgiven. Cannes is really a place I love because authors can be surprising. And specially because this time, there will be no prize rumour, and then the film will be released in Italy, Spain and France. I wasn't angry to not receive the Golden Palm, but I think my film was programmed in bad position…
  • Was it the managers of the Cannes Film Festival who called you, or did you decide alone to get back in the big show ?
    • EK : They put pressure on me after I said it was my “last Cannes”. At the end, Thierry Fremaux insisted very gently asked me to come back with a film !
  • The film will be screened in official selection, but not in competition…
    • EK : It was offered to me, but I refused, because this film needs to be judged by the audience, not by a jury.
  • How would you describe your film, a documentary, a fiction, or a full-length feature ?
    • EK : It's a combination of my previous works. It has a strange structure. I went several times in Argentina, without being able to meet Maradona, having to wait. And from this wait, I conceived a structure which is a portrait with much fiction and cross-elements, which suggests we're watching a cinema movie. It's not just a documentary.
  • Michael Moore got a prize, and it seems the borders between cinematographic genres have almost disappeared, is it the case with full-length features and documentaries ?
    • EK : Borders disappear everywhere. And in history of mankind, it's something recurrent. When you believe something will disappear, like some thought with the cinema in the 80s, cinema survived, and it found its shape between video game and opera ! Now, Cannes and other festivals even include more cartoon motions and documentaries than fictions. Cinema is now a mix of genres, which should ensure a certain future.
  • How have you decided to make a film on Maradona ?
    • EK : I wished to come back to the mythology of my childhood, and at this time, Football was a central point of interest. Suburbs were the places where tough guys prepared their future. This film shows my faith on the parallel lives that Maradona and I have had. We have many things in common. My chance is that I haven't had as many problems as him, but I've got strong feelings on world, justice, and unfair situations of poverty, like him. Maradona is not representative of the Football establishment which addresses the public saying “we hope we'll justify the expectations of the supporters”, on the contrary, he has a strong political vision of the world, freedom and autonomy that very few people have. I concentrated on certain parts of his life, and I played with my previous works using fiction. I also found bizare details, like the fact the sponsor of his church owns a strip-tease bar in Buenos Aires, which is very contradictory, like his whole life… He also has a strong political vision since Mar del Plata, where the peoples of Latin America decided their future by refusing the free-trade contracts with USA, when they could have become slaves of the big country.
  • How was the work with Maradona ?
    • EK : He's a very sensitive human being. If he likes you, you can do what you want. The little problem with him is that some parts of his life separate him from reality, and it has been difficult for some technical parts of the film. But he's a great man, and we had a good connection.
  • Will he be present in Cannes ?
    • EK : Of course ! We'll have a party for him. When he'll be there, the grass will be even more green. Even Brad Pitt can't do better.

Link to the original article (Serbian) : novosti.co.yu

Interview by Goran ČVOROVIĆ, translation by Nina Novaković & Matthieu Dhennin

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