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“I had always wanted to do something in the Scandinavian style”

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Nevio Marasović • Director

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- At the Zagreb Film Festival, Cineuropa met up with Croatian filmmaker Nevio Marasović to talk about Goran, the story of a man whose carefree existence comes to an abrupt end

Nevio Marasović  • Director
(© Biljana Gaurina/CROPIX Agency)

At the 14th Zagreb Film Festival, Cineuropa caught up with Croatian filmmaker Nevio Marasović to talk about his new film, the highly anticipated thriller-drama Goran [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nevio Marasović
film profile
]
, the story of a man living a simple life, surrounded by his friends and family, when all of a sudden his carefree existence comes to an end. Marasović is the director of The Show Must Go On (winner of the Golden Arenas for Best Screenplay and Best Special Effects, plus the Breza Award for Best Debutant at the Pula Film Festival) and Vis-à-Vis [+see also:
trailer
film focus
interview: Nevio Marasovic & Rakan Rus…
film profile
]
, which snagged a Special Mention in the feature-film competition at the 11th Zagreb Film Festival.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Cineuropa: The script was written by Norwegian screenwriter and novelist Gjermund Gisvold. How did you decide to collaborate with him, and how did you develop the story?
Nevio Marasović: I love Scandinavian art and culture, and had always wanted to do something in the Scandinavian style. I met Gjermund at a screenwriting workshop, where I was working on a script for a film, which I am going to shoot in April next year. I approached him, as I wanted to do a film set in a region of Croatia that is very similar to Norway, against a kind of “Fargoesque” background, in a snowy and mountainous atmosphere. I thought that his style of writing fitted the story. My idea was to make a film about a person who is kind of a loser: something bad happens, which is his fault but is an accident, and then in order to make things right, even worse things follow. That was my brief, and then he started writing, and we came up with the story. 

Was it a challenge to shoot during the winter in the mountainous region of Gorski Kotar in Croatia?
I love this mountainous part of Croatia. I know the region really well, even though I am not from there originally. My cinematographer (Damir Kudin) is from there, so when we were scouting for locations, we knew what to visit. The most difficult part was finding the interiors because we had to find certain houses and places that would fit the story. This was a very exhausting process, as I had a very exact image and perception of what I wanted to do with the story visually. Another challenge was that we didn’t have snow until we started shooting. But basically on the first day of shooting, it started snowing and it never stopped until the end. It was very hard because it was one of the strongest blizzards that the region has ever seen, and everything was five times slower because of having to pull cars from the snow and drag the equipment along. But the effort paid off. For me, the most challenging thing was not the snow, but shooting the dinner scene. Those are the scenes that are the hardest because you have to establish relationships and shoot every character in relation to the character that he or she is talking to – a lot of little details that you have to see in the film. Basically, the dinner scene was the one I was the most worried about, even if it sounds the easiest.

Even though it is a dark story, it has a sharp, comic touch to it, including the choice of music.
I wanted to include small elements like that, but I didn’t treat it as a comedy. It’s like one of the Coen brothers’ works, where you have dark and serious topics, but also humour. I knew that people would laugh at certain moments, and that was intentional, but I didn’t want it to be too much. For the music, I had this idea of having old 1960s songs because it fits in with the snow and the atmosphere as a whole, but is also weird in a way. I wanted to play with this contrast, having dark and depressing controversial topics but very nice music that you would not connect with what is going on on screen.

This is your third feature; what were the main differences in making this movie in comparison to Vis-à-vis and The Show Must Go On?
The Show Must Go On was made when I was still a film student, so with no budget. I financed it myself and it was really hard, but it was a huge effort that paid off. Vis-à-vis was also a small film – we had just seven people working on it, including the actors. It was pure artistic energy with just two actors and two cameras. In contrast, Goran was made very professionally, going on the script, and was financed by my producer, Danijel Pek, and his company. Everybody in the film had previous experience and had made two or more films beforehand. My next project will be more chaotic: it is being produced by Kinorama and is going to be a regular, professional shoot, but in terms of the working methods, this film will be more similar to Vis-à-vis – more prone to improvisation and changing things on set.

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