‘Russian Consul’ by Miroslav Lekić to end 52nd FEST


The film ‘Russian Consul’ by Miroslav Lekić will be premiered at the closing ceremony of the 52nd International Film Festival FEST on Sunday evening (3 March 2024).
In addition to director Miroslav Lekić, Vuk Drašković, the author of the novel of the same name on which the film was based, spoke about the film, as well as actors Nebojša Dugalić, ⁠Svetozar Cvetković and Visar Vishka, ⁠Paulina Manov and Danica Radulović. This was the last film in which the recently deceased actor Žarko Laušević appeared.
According to director Lekić, the film is dedicated to the late Žarko Laušević for a reason. ‘This film has a long history. Immediately after the completion of the film ";The "Knife", there was an idea to make "Russian Consul". For various reasons, primarily financial, it did not work.
But 20 years later, we had the opportunity to make it. It is part of a trilogy that I really like, literature that, like "The Knife".  has a distinct reflection on the reality we live in, said Lekić.
‘On the other hand, those novels, "The Knife"; and "Russian Consul", were written in the early 1980s, yet they are still very relevant today. In those novels, a time that will come is anticipated. It did not remain trapped in the time when it was written, but has some of its own reflections on the moment in which we live. One of the very important reasons is that "Consul"; is a novel that deals with the period between 1973 and 1983, the events in Kosovo, but at the same time it has a very strong reflection on some modern times. We did not try to deal with any potential solutions in this film. We simply wanted to suggest the way that might be the only way out of the problem
that is currently very topical,’ he emphasized.
As he pointed out, he and the late Laušević were friends, but that they had no luck with film. ‘I am not talking about quality. We never had a chance to fully enjoy what we were doing. Žarko worked very hard on the film, Vuk knows that, we spent four years preparing this film. Žarko was not only an actor, he also participated in the creation of the script. He shot the film when he was already very ill, however, you had one Žarko who comes to the set and another when you say "action". That energy, dedication, was fascinating, considering the circumstances he was in.
The film is dedicated to him, because he marked it in a special way. I somehow do not believe that this film would exist if it were not for Žarko,’ said Lekić. The author of the novel "Russian Consul", on which the film was based, Vuk Drašković, said that he was very satisfied with the screen adaptation of his novel.
‘The actors performed outstandingly, and Žarko Laušević played an unforgettable role, the last in his life, the role of the consul of Imperial Russia, Ivan Stjepanovič Jastrebov. Both the film and the novel "Russian Consul", bring us back and remind us of the seventies and eighties of the last century, when the Kosovo volcano erupted, the lava of which would soon spread all over that great country that was called Yugoslavia,’ he pointed out.

As he said, that time of evil in the nineties is neither in the film nor in the novel. ‘However, both in the film and in the novel, you can convincingly hear the thud of the coming tragedy and misfortune of everyone, both in Kosovo, and in Serbia, and in the whole of Yugoslavia. I am thinking about whether I can embark on the adventure of writing a sequel to "Russian Consul,’ said Drašković.
As Nebojša Dugalić said, while making the film ‘Russian Consul’, they tried to remove as much as possible any ideological framework of the film.
‘We tried not to judge, but to observe the destinies of people who lived there, and how the burden they carry spills over onto each one of them and how it presses and pins them to the ground. I am glad that in some scenes we managed to show that, such as the scene in the prison,
when Ilija says goodbye to his Albanian friend. It shows that under other circumstances they could have been born brothers, but in fact someone historically placed them on different sides.
We tried to preserve that, the only thing to be preserved in those times, that is for a man to keep his humanity,’ he pointed out.
As Svetozar Cvetković said, he does not play the positive character. ‘Lekić as a director remains a moral winner with the message we send to the audience. It was a
great challenge and pleasure for me when it occurred to him to play this role, that he trusted me enough. We have been working together since his first film. Žarko and I mostly played in his films, and the whole crew is completely new, that made me happy. The film has that archaic undertone, accompanied by faces that draw roots from that bygone era, with that emotion. The character I play also has a strange ending, and that ending humanizes him,’ Cvetković concluded.
As stated by Paulina Manov, her character was changed compared to the novel. ‘We had to create new relationships. My character is a woman who understands her man and her main task is to protect her family,’ said Manov.
Other actors in the film ‘Russian Consul’ are: Visar Viška, Danica Radulović, Mensur Šafkiu, Konstantin Fidanov, Petar Zekavica, Meto Jovanovski, Nada Macanković, Slaviša Čurović, Enver Petrovci, Tamara Aleksić and others. It will be released in domestic cinemas on 7 March.


Ministry of Culture
Grad Beograd


Knjaz Miloš
Italijanski kulturni centra