Slovak director Michal Blasko is working on the film “Victim”. The film is shooting in co-production of Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany and Ukraine. This social drama tells about the 40-year-old Ukrainian Irina. This single mother lives in a small Czech town. One night, her teenage son tells Irina that he was beaten by three young Roma. After that woman demands justice. And the society in which she lives requires justice. But suddenly mother finds out unexpected details in the story of her son, which radically change the attitude to the problem.
In an exclusive interview to CutInsight, Michal Blasko tells about the creation of the film “Victim” and explains why there is so much intolerance in modern society.
Script of your film is based on real story. How did you meet this story?
The real situation happened almost seven years ago in a small town near Slovak borders. I was a student of scriptwriting in a city that was no bigger than the city where it all happened and during the months when the lie was out I could really feel a change in the society. People became more aggressive and openly racist, there were numbers of attacks on Romas and it was actually excused by a big part of society because these people thought that they deserve it. When the truth went out I started to watch all the videos of the boy’s mother and started wondering, if she already knew the truth.
The main problems that were shown in the script of your film are racism, the consequences of fake information and the denial of the rights of immigrants. How can cinema help combat these important and relevant issues?
It can make people ask questions and open a discussion. Actual political situation is showing that it is more important than ever. People and actually the whole society is forgetting the mistakes of the past and that is not acceptable. This film will also show how easy is to believe something which allows you to be more open with something you hide inside you. And that is a big warning considering the status of real event.
How do you think, why ultra-right and nationalist movements have become so popular in Europe in recent years?
They are using frustration of people caused by other political wings to gain popularity and they use very simple and aggressive answers for questions and problems that bother people. They will never find a solution to anything that is not populist, because that would be for them a step to spheres they want and need to avoid. Nationalist movements also know very well how to use fear and how to turn it into a strong weapon against more liberal parties. For example look at all the countries in V4. There are very strong nationalist parties in all these states which cause harm to their countries, but on the other hand they stick to formula telling people how it is important to be nationalistic and stick with V4. And that is not true. For the last few years they learned that hoaxes and fake news can help to spread this fear so they try to use it as effective as they can.
Where and when will the filming take place?
For me it is not important to name a concrete city – it could actually happen anywhere. I would like to avoid to be specific in the place because for example when the real situation happened, first marches and demonstrations happened in different cities. So the story is not connected to a specific city or even state, but to people.
How did you choose the actress for the main role?
First we saw Vita Smachelyk on a video casting which was provided by our Ukrainian casting director Alla Samoylenko. She was the closest to our Irina from all the adepts we had so we had severe meetings in Prague, where we discussed the character, evolution of the story and everything behind it. Vita is very emphatic and she pretty much understood all the aspects of Irina’s character. It is very important for her to find an excuse and understanding of everything her character does.
What are your movie references for “The Victim”? Are there any films that have similar style with your movie?
Actually, me and the DOP Adam Mach, we would like to avoid to stick to one visual style or specific movie concept. Victim is a story of Irina, she is the main character and we know and we see everything the way she does. It is a concept that was and still is used by for example Dardenne brothers, but it is not correct for us from the visual aspect, because we would like to be more esthetic and visually attractive, of course in respect of the story and the authenticity.
Your film will be co-produced in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine. How will the creative forces be divided? Where do actors comes from? Where do the operator, sound engineer, other specialists comes from?
Actually the film is also a co-production with Germany, so yes, it is great how interesting it can be for different countries. That means the story is universal and it works like this in not only one country. The two main actors are Ukrainian, also the whole sound department and sound editing. The DOP of the film is from Czech republic, also with the set designer. In Germany we will have whole picture postproduction. And from Slovakia we have the scriptwriter and myself. The thing is that our crew is quite young but very experienced and we know each other very well and we know what we can expect from each other. And that is very important for the thrust and for every communication in the preparations.