Interview with Katarina Morano
Director of "Ljubljana - Munchen 15:27" (SK)
KVIFF - Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2017 - Future Frames: Ten New Filmmakers to Follow
Name: Miha Veingerl
Katarina Morano came to Karlovy Vary with her graduation film for the Slovenian Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television. In 2014, her film Where To (2013) became the third Slovenian production in a decade that earned a nomination for the student Oscar.
Her film Ljubljana – München 15:27 is the portrait of a representative couple of the generation Y. Stuck in precarious jobs they decide to move abroad to look for a better future for their soon-to-be family. But do they really want to go?
You gave the scenes that depicted the contemplation of your protagonist Mala a lot of space to breathe. Why did you decide to use such a non-verbal way of telling the story?
Katarina Morano: Well, first there was the story and the format followed somewhat spontaneously. The film was supposed to talk about black holes that people often fall into. The feeling that nothing is waiting for you in the place you are at the moment. Then you suddenly get the chance to move abroad.
I knew that this was going to be an atmospheric film and talk about an inter space, about time standing still. You can't keep yourself busy with the past anymore but at the same time, you can't feel the future yet. It is actually a film about being captivated in the present. The protagonist is moving inside this inter space, she has nowhere to go. I had the feeling that the film has to wander along with her. The rhythm of the film is basically the rhythm of her life. And her life is on hold.
The film is visually naturalistic. Was it intended to have a documentary look?
KM: I think it’s my director of photography, Domen Martinčič, who deserves credit for the natural feel of the film, especially. Many scenes were shot just by taking the camera to the streets. There I instructed my lead actress Hana Vodeb (who didn't have acting experience) what the purpose of the scene is, and we just followed her and recorded her actions. We absolutely wanted simplicity, the film should function as life itself.
Mala is pregnant, but it seems as if she still hasn't grown up. Do you think this is a syndrome of this particular generation in Slovenia?
KM: I understand my generation as one that grew up beside their parents,experienced a different system where they didn't have to worry about their future. Once you finished school, you had a job. We are a generation that was brought up with the mind-set that we will inherit this security, but we were left stranded somewhere else. I think this is one of the reasons why we postpone taking responsibility or starting a family. We still think that this security will present itself, but the inter space is just dragging on. We are working a lot, but still not many of us are truly independent. I have the feeling that we are always waiting for a better future, but I don't think it will really come. Maybe the next generation will be more aware of that already, and tackle it differently.
You are working with trained as well as with non-professional actors. Do you see any difference in their approach to acting?
KM: It is clearly not the same, but it's hard to talk about this because we tackled this film in a little bit different manner. Every character meets each other just once in every constellation. In the meantime, Hana is wandering around alone. I worked with Hana differently than with Jure Henigman or Tijana Zinajić, but three are very sensitive. They contributed a lot of themselves to the film. For me, it's beautiful when the stuff you put on paper starts to get a shape.
There is a great intimacy among the roles. How did you succeed in achieving this? Were there any obstacles?
KM: No, it just happened. I think we connected the first time we met already. After that, I focused on preparing Hana for an environment where there are a lot of people around you, also at moments when you are the most naked and vulnerable. I really wanted her not be frightened because the film also contains some very intimate scenes that are challenging even for trained actors. She is fantastic, open and just had to be herself in the film. And at the end, due to a great team and a good time, Hana was perfectly relaxed with all of us.
You were nominated for the Student Academy Award. How did this change you and your working conditions?
KM: It primarily changed something inside me. I have to say I got frightened when the nomination was announced. It was only after the Oscars I started to realise how the film industry and filmmaking works. This whole machinery is huge. It can be exhausting for someone who is not used to so much attention, not used to the industry. What especially changed back then, was that I saw how this looks like, that I understood what will follow. I confess that I got very scared and lost for a while, but I think it was a very important experience. I got more self-esteem, more strength and realised who I am, what interests me and what I want to do in my life.
C. Photo Credit: Ljubljana - Munchen 15:27 (2016)