VENICE (Reuters) - A wartime love story is Emir Kusturica “political testament” and his last entry in a film festival competition, the award-winning Serbian director said in Venice on Friday.
Kusturica returned to the world’s oldest film festival with “Na Mlijecnom Putu” (On The Milky Road), a story about a milkman on the front lines of an unspecified war whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of a mysterious Italian woman. The film is one of 20 vying for the Golden Lion that will be awarded on Saturday.
“I want to be out of this sporting film life where it’s important if you win or not,” the 61-year-old told Reuters in an interview, adding he found the experience too stressful.
“It doesn’t mean I won’t make another few films, but no more competition,” he said.
Kusturica won a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1981 with his first feature film, “Do You Remember Dolly Bell?”, when he was only 27. He later won the Palme d‘Or in Cannes twice, took a Silver Bear home from Berlin and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language film.
The multitasking artist said he now wants to devote his energy to growing organic fruits and making juice on his farm and making a movie when “I feel like I have to”.
In his Venice entry, Kusturica stars as the milkman, opposite Italian actress Monica Bellucci. Written and directed by Kusturica, it is his first film in nine years and took nearly four to make.
“I call it my political testament because I have mixed two major generators of human life: love and the war,” he said, adding he was saddened to see people still killed in masses, 20 years after the Balkan conflict he lived through.
“The war becomes almost metaphysical,” he said.
Bellucci, who had to learn Serbian for her role, said the movie’s portrayal of love between two adults resonated with her.
“They have nothing to lose, are not young anymore and they still believe in love, that something magical can still exist,” the 51-year-old actress said. “We have to think that love and sexuality is a matter of energy, not age.”
Reporting by Agnieszka Flak and Hanna Rantala, editing by Larry King