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The last film of the director Mladomir Puriša Đorđević, ‘Mouth Full of Earth’, based on the novel of the same name by Branimir Šćepanović, will lower the curtain on the 51st FEST, which ends on 5 March in MTS Hall.The cast and crew of the film spoke about the film in front of accredited FEST journalists: Dragan Jeličić, film programme editor of the Apollon platform, Ognjen Petković, first assistant director, as well as the actors in the film Radivoje Raša Bukvić, Sonja Kolačarić, Andrija Kovač and Lazar Jovanov.

The main character, Marko, is played by Radivoje Raša Bukvić, who told the media that he had read the novel by Branimir Šćepanović 20 years before and had had images constantly appearing in his head of how that work could be adapted for the screen.

‘I had images in my head of how the work could be screened. But as it happens, those ideas are forgotten in the pub talking with your colleagues and none of them came true’, said Bukvić and added:  

‚It so happened that I received a call from Ljubiša Ristić, who mediated between Puriša and the crew. I had not known Puriša, but I immediately agreed. While filming with Puriša, I realized very quickly that we were trying to create a masterpiece.’
He stated that the story was extremely demanding and that it had been brave of Puriša and equal to madness to embark on that project, since it was a narrative without dialogue. Puriša said that for decades he had dreamt of turning this novel into a film.
'He had such an incredible youthful energy at 98. He was a man who formed and marked an entire era of Yugoslav cinema’, said the actor and assessed that Đorđević had constantly tried to improve the story in this film.
‘He would substitute the text with improvisation. He was a fantastic actor as well, you will see him in this film. Since we are all smiling, it means that he left a deep mark on all of us,' he said.
The actress Sonja Kolačarić pointed out that the character she portrayed did not exist in the novel.
‘Puriša created and imagined it. Meeting him is definitely my strongest impression from the shooting of this film. Everything he had created for so many decades was clearly visible, his whole life, 70 years of career, the way he works with actors and directs… I will remember this process all my life, she said.

Assistant director Ognjen Petković explained that the preparations for ‘Mouth full of Earth’ had started in March of last year and that the film had been shot relatively quickly.He pointed out that Puriša Đorđević had been a very complex man and director.

‘He wrote several versions of the script and shooting script, several variants of the vision of that film. The desire to turn this novel into a film came from him, so that there was not a moment when I had the impression that he was an old man in any way. And yet he was 98 years old. “Mouth Full of Earth” is the crowning achievement of Puriša's career’, he said. According to actor Andrija Kovač, most of the scenes were shot in the forests of Belgrade, and the director's method of work was given in the moment, almost without the shooting script.

‘It was more interesting to listen to his stories with which he seduced us while the set was being prepared, and when the shooting started, his famous line was: “Now you will see what it means to direct!” And it was a mastery, often unpredictable. I think we have made a real artistic film,' he said.  

According to Dragan Jeličić, the first meeting with the director was in January 2022, and after 13 or 14 months the film would be shot. He said that the goal of Apollon was to realize 52 feature films in 52 weeks.
‘I thought I would be satisfied if half of it was realized, and I was right’, said Jeličić, adding that the first regional platform "Apollon" had as many as 22,000 hours of programming in less than two years.

The main ‘culprit’ for this film, he pointed out, was theatre director and director of KPGT Ljubiša Ristić, who had brought Puriša to the meeting.
‘When Puriša Đorđević expressed his desire to film ‘Mouth Full of Earth", we were all delighted that he would round off his rich career of 70 years in this way. Others tried to adapt this novel for the screen, but they did not succeed, and he did and successfully at the age of 98’, Jeličić recalled and stated that very little of Branimir Šćepanović's opus was adapted for the screen and that Živko Nikolić's "Death of Mr Goluža" as well as the American adaptation of the aforementioned book - "Julian Po" with Christian Slater in the lead role were made.




Knjaz Miloš