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"Promise Me This" by Emir Kusturica

Two-time Palme d’Or winner for When Father was Away on Business in 1985 and Underground in 1995, Emir Kusturica is once again showing a film in the Official Competition entitled Promise Me This. The action takes place in the Serbian countryside and centers on the promises made by Tsane (Uros Milovanovic) to his aging grandfather (Aleksandar Bercek): go over the three hills into the nearest town and sell their cow at the market there. With the money, Tsane must buy a religious icon and then anything else he wants. Lastly, the biggest challenge: he must find a wife to bring home.

Promise Me This tells the story of a boy who promises his grandfather that he will return to his village a man. Kusturica, who was president of the Jury in 2005, is back in Cannes with offbeat tales of trials and tribulations of life in the Balkans and a glimpse of another world, while touching on universal values and issues.


Press conference: 


Director Emir Kusturica addressed the press, answering questions from the journalists about his latest film Promise Me This. He was flanked by producers Olivier Delbosc and Marc Missonnier and actors Miki Manojlovic, Marija Petronijevic, Uros Milovanovic, Ljiljana Blagojevic and Aleksandar Bercek.

Emir Kusturica on the origins of this film: “It reminded me of a Japanese fairy tale: do something and come back. This was a funny, short idea, which became more complicated. I must say that this is the first movie, among my nine features, which was under-budget and almost under-schedule; something very new in my cinema and in my life. I think one of the reasons was because my wife was producing the movie.” 

Emir Kusturica on the atmosphere of the shoot: "It was as long as usual, but in a much better atmosphere, with everybody who was in the movie. There is a special context that I created before making the film, that is to say, a movie that is outside any attachment to city life in Serbia or Europe. It’s near my village; it’s in the open space and I think it’s in the most beautiful part of Europe."

Emir Kusturica on his career:  “Since I started doing cinema I have been making one movie; I haven’t changed. So my first film, Do You Remember Dolly Bell?, I’m still making that picture; it’s like I’m doing my first movie which is still not finished."

Emir Kusturica on how cinema is changing: “I am absolutely devoted to the ideas of American cinema in the 70s that ended in the early 80s that was destroyed by technology. As I noticed in Naomi Klein’s book No Logo, where she defines today’s life as a global teenager’s life in which the crucial questions of humanity, Hollywood has left out. We are more or less diverted from these ideas of the 70s. Cinema today still has those who include this idea of humanity, but the problem is we are marginalized more and more – not me because I never wanted to be in the mainstream – but most of those who try to recreate the style of Taxi Driver or Raging Bull. The idea of outsiders, losers, the people who don’t win, they are taken out and become history. Today you need to cope with modernity, friends, and as Naomi Klein defines, you have to not be asking too many questions. You just have to enjoy, but you must include some vital aspects of human life. The Cannes Film Festival was always good to open the door for those who ask these questions. I am very pleased that I was almost all my life here and this is the place that still keeps alive the ideas that are contained in Taxi Driver.


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