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VENICE 2022 International Film Critics’ Week

Dušan Zorić and Matija Gluščević • Directors of Have You Seen This Woman?

“We liked the fact that the film would grow alongside us over the years, and become more and more mature”


- VENICE 2022: The Serbian directorial duo present an intriguing first feature made up of three episodes and focusing on the topic of identity

Dušan Zorić and Matija Gluščević • Directors of Have You Seen This Woman?

Serbian directors Dušan Zorić and Matija Gluščević have premiered their feature debut, Have You Seen This Woman? [+see also:
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interview: Dušan Zorić and Matija Gluš…
film profile
, in the International Film Critics’ Week at this year’s Venice Film Festival. The film is an intriguing experiment focusing on the topic of identity. We talked to the directors about the production of the film, their lead actress and their inspiration for the story.

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Cineuropa: Where did the idea for Have You Seen This Woman? come from?
Dušan Zorić and Matija Gluščević:
We had separate ideas for a short film. In both of them, the protagonist was set to be a middle-aged woman. We started looking at our mothers differently when we left home for college: we stopped looking at them merely in terms of the function they served for us. We realised that they were very close to us yet still unknown. That was the starting point. Often, middle-aged women are easily pigeonholed; they are not shown as being as multi-faceted as they really are. Therefore, we wanted to show that middle-aged women also have different identities within the same person.

How did you develop the story?
We didn't have the money for a feature, so we had to find a concept for a movie that we could shoot in separate parts. In total, we shot for five years. We had an idea for multiple identities, and we shot the three parts in chronological order. But we didn't have the whole script all at once; we had no idea about the second part or the ending when we began. But we liked the fact that the film would grow alongside us over the years, and become more and more mature.

What was it like working with actress Ksenija Marinković?
She loved the idea and the script. It was a long journey for her as well. Sometimes, she was full of energy; at others, she was tired. She also changed over the years, and for her, it was also an exploration of herself. It was interesting to observe how she would change as a person. She had never played in this kind of film before. At the beginning, she was stiff and scared, while towards the end, she did things that she never thought she would do.

Why did you want her for the role?
She looks like a typical woman from the neighbourhood. She has a particular warmth, and she could easily be a member of your family. She is ordinary, but extraordinary at the same time. We also liked her physical appearance because she doesn't represent the classic ideals of beauty.

You depict a rather sad and depressive society.
Things are usually depressing and hard. But it's important that amidst all of that, from time to time, you can have a laugh and find moments of joy. Draginja is a fighter in this society, trying to find a way out of the system.

Could you tell us more about the setting? Is it a neighbourhood that is under construction?
It's Belgrade, which changed over the five years during which we made the film, of course. It's a city in development, and its old town is fading away. The characters are working-class figures who are also fading away. They are hard to find nowadays, since the gap between the poor and the rich is getting bigger in this society.

Cats and dogs play quite an important role in the film. What do they represent for you?
For us, cats, dogs and animals in general represent creatures that know something. In one version of the film, there was also a bear and a wolf, but we had to cut them. Animals know more than we know. Sometimes, they make it difficult for the protagonist, while sometimes they lead her and help her.

In one of the episodes, you use a steady camera; in another, you use a shakier, rawer one. What were the most important aspects for the visual concept?
We knew we wanted to change the look of the film towards the end. We wanted it to be an experience, to change in terms of its genre, style and approach, reflecting the time we spent working on the movie. It represents how we changed.

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