Vesela Kazakova • Actress
Shooting Star 2006 - Bulgaria
by Camillo de Marco
Vesela Kazakova has already been recognized for her acting abilities, both on stage and on the screen. In the meantime, her name has become a synonym for contemporary Bulgarian cinema, and, in 2004, she was granted the Best Young Actress Award for her achievements in theatre. Her very first lead role in cinema as a mute girl in A Leaf in the Wind was her film-breakthrough, and she won the Nevena Kokanova Award for Best Young Actress in 2002. She was awarded the Best Actress Award for her role in Mila from Mars at the Bulgarian Feature Film Festival 2004, as well as the Golden St. George Prize for Stolen Eyes at the XXVII Moscow International Film Festival 2005.
Cineuropa: You began in the theatre and have years of onstage experience. What does the move from theatre to cinema mean for you? Does it signify a rise in quality or is it simply a different and parallel experience?
Vesela Kazakova: I differentiate between theatre and cinema, and I improve my skills in each by practicing the other. Theatre sparks my imagination; I adore rehearsals, I can try different ways of expression through form and meaning for hours. This is how I am – I rarely put up with a goal that I’ve reached and that is why I love experiments. Work itself is what brings me utmost pleasure. Cinema inspires me in a different way. I set aside enough time to get prepared, to get to know another part of myself that I will start living with, and later will become one with. I keep that other self by me until the last day of shooting. I have to get really inspired by the script…I have done auditions along with hundreds of colleagues of mine and I have fought for the role because my heart beat really fast.
From the mute girl of A Leaf in the Wind, to the teacher who fights against the so-called regeneration process (the mandatory changing of the names of Bulgarian Turks) in Stolen Eyes: the characters you play are very challenging. Does this reflect your personality, your approach to life?
I guess it does… I realize that the roles I’ve done so far are not ordinary ones. What is most important, for me, is that they all have a special attitude. Life on the edge; life at the crossroads; a life that demands a certain decision or a move. And, last but not least, life connected to love, which is always a way out and always sets one free, encourages one and makes life worthwhile. My characters are strong and vulnerable, tender and tough, feminine and, at the same time, childish in the purity of their girlish characters. Just like me...
Mila From Mars was an enormous success in Bulgaria and marked the “rebirth” of Bulgarian cinema. Do you believe in this rebirth or was the film just an isolated case?
Yes, I believe in that rebirth and I think it’s real because it’s really happening. The process of Bulgarian cinema’s regeneration after the fall of communism was hard and painful. The audience’s demands for Bulgarian cinema are high now. They reflect a kind of need for identity assessment and, luckily, my generation and subsequent generations are free and creative. The most significant fact is that already established artists are now helping the younger ones. That change had to be ignited by something, and Mila From Mars is not a revolution that aimed to destroy everything and build yet another monument. The film was like a first flower that blossomed on the earth, which had been ready to blossom for a long time already.
Can you tell me something about your upcoming film, Prima Primavera by Hungarian director Janos Edelenyi? Will you be playing a gypsy girl?
I would describe my role in a different way. My character is simultaneously a prostitute, a girl and a woman, who has grown up on the streets. She looks unbreakable. She is quite strong, emotional and artistic. Sometimes she’s just the opposite – absolutely silent. Sometimes she’s funny, but she’s always real and incredibly charming. She has forgotten what it means to cry. That is why she either offends others or remains alone, without any witnesses of what is really going on inside her. The movie is a co-production between Hungary, the UK and Bulgaria. I met the director Janos Edelenyi at the 2005 Berlinale Talent Campus and that was when I read the script.
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