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Josip Žuvan • Regista di Carbide

"Abbiamo girato il film nelle pause tra le riprese di FIFA e Call of Duty


- L'opera prima del regista croato è un film ambientato in una periferia mediterranea in inverno e mescola i motivi di una faida familiare con alcuni giovani che inseguono la fama su Internet

Josip Žuvan  • Regista di Carbide

Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.

Josip Žuvan is a Croatian filmmaker from the younger generation. Born in the coastal town of Trogir, he graduated from the Zagreb Academy of the Dramatic Arts. His student short fiction film Snow (2012) was selected for several short and student film festivals. After a period spent working on commercial TV series, Žuvan debuted in the feature-length format with Carbide [+leggi anche:
intervista: Josip Žuvan
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, which premiered at San Sebastián. On the occasion of Carbide’s national premiere at the Zagreb Film Festival, we sat down for a chat with him.

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Cineuropa: Carbide is associated with low-tech pyrotechnics. Is that kind of fun still popular with kids in Croatia?
Josip Žuvan:
I grew up in the late 1990s and early 2000s, after the war, with the smell of gunpowder still hanging in the air. Most of the boys from my generation were fascinated by firearms and explosions. Today’s kids develop the same fascinations but from different sources: video games and YouTube. They are focused on the “effect” of the explosion, measured in reactions on the internet. Although my brother and I both played with carbide in our youth, I got the inspiration from a video made by two kids from suburban Dalmatia, getting excited about all the views their video was going to get. Unfortunately for them, they never got past 1,000.

So what happens when we get some of the hi-tech means of communication and the internet celebrity culture mixed in with it?
I am fascinated by the idea of that kind of technology coming to some societies before other “signs” of civilisation, like a sewage system, asphalt or other manifestations of urban life. That kind of contrast between technology and dilapidation is the key visual motif of Carbide. The technology that the characters are consuming in the form of mobile phones, the internet and TV connects them to the Western world, which they have hardly anything in common with. Their parents’ generation consists of passive consumers of all the “glamour” of talent and reality shows, while the young ones play an active role in chasing fame online. I remember my cousin’s YouTube channel when he was 12: it was full of tutorials on how to make firecrackers at home. There were some tutorials for very dangerous home-made explosives, and he probably learned the whole thing from some other internet tutorials. I somehow identify with that generation, since I am almost unable to learn a new skill without an internet tutorial.

But the adults have feuds of their own to contend with
In my film, I wanted to show the three generations and how a conflict is transferred from one generation to the next. The youngsters do not know the reason for the feud between the adults, but they are aware that the process of growing up also means taking on the behavioural patterns of their elders, and also picking a side in old conflicts. It might not be highlighted in the movie, but those two houses function as a metaphor for the Balkans. Everything escalates at Christmas and during the New Year holidays, when the families spend time together with a lot of food, alcohol, pyrotechnics and trashy TV.

The location seems very specific. Is it just one single place, or a composite of different locations?
I was interested in showing how the Mediterranean looks during the winter, with all the tourists and the summer heat gone, when people spend most of their time at home. My particular interest was where the urban environment morphs into the rural. Because of the surge in tourism in the last few years, it was almost impossible to find one macro location that contained all of the micro locations that we needed, so we filmed in different places in Dalmatia.

How did you choose your cast? Did you have any specific actors in mind when you were writing the script?
There are two kinds of screenwriter: those who imagine actors playing their characters and those who imagine the people they know (neighbours, relatives or friends) while writing them. I come from the latter group, and I have trouble doing casting, since I have to say goodbye to people as I know them and get used to the changes the actors are making to the characters. It is never a good idea to force an actor to recreate somebody from your memory. I tend to give the actors a lot of freedom, so through the process of rehearsals and conversations, the character is gradually adapted to the actor.

Was it hard to work with the boys in the leading roles?
I have never been pleased with the way Croatian cinema treats children, looking at them through fairy tale-tinted glasses and feeding them lines written by adults. I wanted to show authentic children, who can be a handful, aggressive, and even prone to vandalism to some extent, but also emotional and sincere. We read the script together once, but I did not let them take it home and learn the lines by heart. We would go through a specific scene before shooting it, and they would change some parts of the dialogue. I was not forcing authority of any kind upon them; I wanted to be their friend. And we played a lot of games on PlayStation, so I could actually say that we shot the film in the pauses between playing FIFA and Call of Duty.

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