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"I am interested in the invisible, what is going on inside human beings"

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Andrea Staka • Director


- Cineuropa met up with Swiss filmmaker Andrea Staka, who, through Cure: The Life of Another, allows us to discover a mysterious post-war female universe full of ambiguous feelings

Andrea Staka  • Director

Cineuropa met up with Swiss filmmaker Andrea Staka, who, through her new movie Cure: The Life of Another [+see also:
film review
interview: Andrea Staka
film profile
, allows us to discover a mysterious post-war female universe full of ambiguous feelings. Staka presented her latest opus as a world première during the most recent edition of the Locarno Film Festival (International Competition). Cure was also selected in competition at the Sarajevo Film Festival. In the movie, she portrays a strange world imbued with personal memories.

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Cineuropa: Talking about your latest film, Cure: The Life of Another, why did you choose to explore the “subconscious”, the “dark side of emotions”?
Andrea Staka: In each film I try to explore new ground. After Fräulein [+see also:
film profile
, the new idea started to grow in my head, or in my “stomach”. For me, making films means investigating life but also kind of moving ahead. The idea for Cure started from an incident that I heard about, which happened in Dubrovnik in the 1990s. I decided to keep the anecdote and place it in a universe that is my own personal one, my Dubrovnik “fiction”. Cure is about girls' friendships, females' families and war, but also about Dubrovnik as a melancholic and uncanny place. I then asked myself what narrative structure and what atmosphere I needed to build for this story, and decided that the subconscious approach was more important than the conscious. In Cure – The Life of Another, I was predominantly interested in the dark, rough aspects of identity.

Why did you choose cinema to express yourself?
Cinema is a complex and a beautiful art form because you combine a lot of things: images, music, directing of actors, sound... The “magic” of cinema has always fascinated me. I love going to the movies, and I still get excited today when the lights go out. But I started off with photography. Taking pictures was like a way of understanding the world more deeply and beautifully. When you are a teenager, you feel that you need to express yourself. I started with photography and then I moved into cinema. Cinema is a process where you work with people, where you are challenged, where you can reach an audience with your story and ultimately share it with other people in a movie theatre.

For you, is cinema a sort of “psychoanalysis”, a means of liberation?
Maybe it’s a way of clearing things up. But I am interested in the invisible, what is going on inside human beings: their imagination, their dreams, yet also their emotional “backpacks".

How did you choose the music? Which atmosphere did you want to lend to your movie?
The music was composed by New York-based composer Milica Paranosic. She was one of the protagonists in Yugodivas. I wanted to work with her again, and the idea was to work on some rough music that underlines the feeling of the early 1990s. I was a teenager at that time, and during my summers in Dubrovnik, we listened to The Cure and The Clash. In Cure, I wanted to have a mixture of teenage, aggressive feelings, but also something uneasy and, at times, gentle. Some parts of the sound design are like music and make you flow, while other parts underline the city and the southern feel - ie, the chirping that you hear in the film. 

What interests you the most when examining teenage years?
All of my films are personal. It’s the aspect of female identity that interests me, rather than teenage years in general. The friendship between girls at this age is beautiful and obsessive at the same time. Girls become alike when they are best friends - they exchange clothes, perfumes, sometimes even boyfriends. I wanted to intensify that in the film. The 1990s were also a time when I was a teenager and the war broke out, and the experience had a huge impact on me. I was helpless and had the feeling that I had to grow up overnight. The world had changed overnight, too; it was not what I thought it was. My life was suddenly divided into before-the-war and after-the-war. I went back to Dubrovnik shortly after the war, and it was like being in limbo. Nobody talked about what had just happened. Life seemed normal again, with people going out in the evening, but flames were shooting into the sky right next door in Bosnia. In the film, I worked with my own memories of the time. The movie has to do with me and the way in which I interpret the figures that are so close to me.

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