Darko Štante • Director
“I'm very interested in the mentality of Slovenian society”
by Vladan Petkovic
- TORONTO 2018: Cineuropa spoke to Slovenian filmmaker Darko Štante, whose feature debut, Consequences, world-premiered in Toronto's Discovery section
We sat down with Slovenian director Darko Štante to get the lowdown on his feature debut, Consequences [+see also:
interview: Darko Štante
film profile], just after its world premiere in the Discovery section of the Toronto International Film Festival.
Cineuropa: Why did you decide to tell this story about masculinity and its various permutations by setting it in a youth detention centre?
Darko Štante: I was inspired by a job I had once in a youth detention centre. For me, it was interesting to tell a coming-of-age story in a place where sexuality is ostensibly prohibited, but is always present in a way. Such a facility works in a similar fashion to a prison. Of course, those institutions are brimming with masculinity, and everybody thinks he has to prove himself in a stereotypically macho way. But behind all this, there are hidden, painful feelings and vulnerability.
For me, the essential question was, “What would happen if…?” It was also quite frightening to see the views that some of my colleagues in the institutions had on raising children, LGBT issues and other delicate topics. That, along with the resurgence of intolerance around the world, including in Slovenia, is why I decided to make a film about all of this.
How did you pick the actors and work with them? They are all excellent and function fantastically together.
Yes, they are fabulous. It was quite hard to get so many young actors capable of such performances. Slovenia is a small country, and there are not many actors who are both young and experienced, and willing to be in such a film. So I focused on trained students from the Ljubljana film academy (AGRFT) and later combined them with non-professionals. Some of them I had already worked with on other projects, and I knew they would take part in the film. I decided not to cast actors for specific roles, so I had them all do rehearsals for all of the main roles. I wanted to get a sense of their energy. After we’d completed this part of the process, we had lots of various rehearsals for the following six months. Often, we were just talking about specific emotional situations or hanging out.
The most challenging thing for me was how to express violence in a realistic way. I had to work extremely thoroughly and carefully with each of them to get them into character. There were times when I was on the verge of collapsing. Also, I tried to avoid overacting at any cost – and I hope we succeeded.
The film contains numerous references to and observations about Slovenian society and the national mentality. Is this something you are particularly interested in?
Yes; I think filmmakers and artists in general should be aware of the social environment they are living in. Personally, I simply have to observe it and reflect on it. I’m very interested in the mentality of Slovenian society. We are a small Central European country influenced by all of its neighbours, but sometimes I have the feeling that it is only absorbing the worst of those influences.
What kinds of films would you like to make after this? Are you working on anything new right now?
I'm still interested in exploring the fringes of Slovenian society. There are still so many topics that have not been presented well on the big screen. So I will dig into these themes and try to find a new angle for them. Currently, I'm working on a new screenplay in which I'm exploring the causes and consequences of violence in modern democratic society. I'm particularly interested in domestic violence, so I'm aiming to scratch below the surface of a seemingly ordinary family.
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