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Interview with Director Daria Yurkevich- Clermont- Ferrand film festival

Wednesday 4 February 2015, by Clotilde Couturier

Had you written, participated in or directed any films prior to Mamie, Vanya et la chèvre [Grandma, Vanya and the Goat]?

Yes, I completed my studies at Le Fresnoy, the national studio for contemporary arts. There I made one fiction short film and one documentary. Prior to Le Fresnoy, I had studied film in Minsk, in Belarus.

Where and how did you find your pair of actresses?

I found them thanks to a friend who works in the film world. They are not actresses but film buffs. They have been inseparable friends for fifty years. When I went to meet one of them, they were together there.

And the goat? Was the animal trained?

No, it’s a real goat from the village!

I thought that the role Mamie’s grandson, Vanya, played was less of a character in itself than a way to talk about the relationship between Mamie, Glacha and the goat. Why did you choose that angle ? How did the character develop as you were writing the script ?

The character represents the role of men in today’s society. Men who no longer want to take responsibility for their lives. They are something of a burden for women.

Where did the idea for the film come from? In what way does the relationship among women, and especially women over forty, interest you?

All of my scripts come in my dreams, and I don’t quite know how to coordinate the process. And women are more interesting than men for every filmmaker in the world, that’s obvious!

The film is set in a rural environment. Did you consider other locations (a city / a community living in a confined space)? According to you, what dimensions did this setting bring to the film?

The rural setting is part of the dramatic element of the film: it is a natural space for people, even when everything that happens there borders on the supernatural!

People who were once parents and are no longer self-sufficient sometimes end their days in the isolation and indifference of nursing homes. What place do you think the elderly have in our contemporary societies?

It’s stupid to put your parents into nursing homes. Why deprive ourselves of the short time we still have together?

Mamie, Vanya et la chèvre is built around the issue of alcoholism, which is a world-wide problem. Was it important to you to talk about alcohol abuse, or did you use it more as a universal context that would speak to audiences around the globe?

Even though alcoholism is a universal problem, Belarus is the greatest consumer of alcohol. Dealing with this issue was a given.

Mamie, Vanya et la chèvre was produced France. In your opinion, what does the French film industry offer that others don’t, as far as short films are concerned?

The film’s first support come from France. For that I will always be grateful. And thanks again to the team at Films d’Altérité!

Any message or comments?


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