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14th TDF: Press Conference (The Bengali Detective / The King / Whore's Glory) (3/17/2012)


On Saturday, March 17, 2012 a Press Conference was held with the directors Dejan Aćimović (The King), Philip Cox (The Bengali Detective) and Michael Glawogger (Whore’s Glory), whose films are participating in the edition’s international program.

The King by Dejan Aćimović is a portrait of Darko Kralj, one of the world’s most important athletes. Kralj was injured in 1991 during the war in former Yugoslavia and after remaining in a coma, with doctors not expecting him to live, he in fact survived, although he had to be amputated. He participated in the shot put competition at the Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008 and is the only person in the history of sport who has broken the world record five times in a row in its category at the same event. The director stated that he wanted to change attitudes toward athletes who compete in the Paralympic games with his film. “Today there is a huge imbalance in terms of funding, and media coverage compared to the Olympic Games, even though high caliber athletes participate in the Paralympic games as well,” the director said. The memory of war is present in the film. However, when the director was asked about whether the consequences are still visible, even after 15 years, he didn’t want to answer. "I want to forget the war, all these belong to the past," he said. Kralj, who was present at the press conference, noted that what gives him the strength to continue is the love of his wife and her son, who lost his biological father in the war. "This feeling is so strong and so spontaneous”, he stressed.

Michael Glawogger spoke next. His film Whore’s Glory has completed his trilogy on working conditions in the planet’s developing nations. The other films in the trilogy are Megacities and Workingman’s Death. “The subject of prostitution had come up in both my previous documentaries. But in the last, Whore’s Glory, I tried to explore the relationship between human sexuality and religion, which is why the three cities I shot the film in – Thailand, Bangladesh and Mexico – correspond to three different religions” the director explained. Regarding the film’s title, he noted: “It was a reminder to myself. I performed a kind of brainwash in order to get rid of my prejudices and approach these women with respect. You know, everyone can pretend to know all about this subject, even if they have never set their foot inside a brothel”. According to him, the easiest problem to solve was being allowed entrance to the brothels and getting the women’s consent for him to film them. “The world is not a supermarket where one can buy stories. The idea is to get to know the other person. I devote time to understand who I have in front of me, I try to create a relationship with them. If this bond develops, all things are possible, if it is absent you can’t do anything”, the director observed. Near the end of the film there is a sex scene involving a prostitute and a client. “It is not a porn scene. I didn’t intend to show sex, I was embarrassed to be present during the shooting, but sex is everywhere and I was told that it would be arrogant to exclude such a scene”. Asked about the meaning of “objective reality”, he noted: “From the moment you place a camera in front of people, you alter the reality you are recording, you change it. You can’t avoid having the person feel that he is in front of a camera”.

Closing the Press Conference, Philip Cox first referred to the reason he made his film, the fact that the Indian middle class doesn’t trust the police and turns to private detectives. “There is a kind of defeatism in these countries, the feeling that you can’t do anything if you don’t have money to buy justice is dominant”, the director noted. It took him a year of casting in order to find his main character: “I had to find a charismatic character, who could help the audience get into the lives of his customers, to feel the way a woman whose husband is cheating on her feels, or the way a man accused of a crime he didn’t commit feels”. He finally chose Rajesh Ji. “ He wasn’t the best detective, but he was an interesting person. I worked with my instinct, I didn’t know how he would develop as a character. After having fought a few times we are now friends”. Aside from the cases a detective handles, the documentary also focuses on his private life. So we see him and his team training for a dance competition. “I wanted to make an entertaining film, with a bit of Bollywood, that is a little dance and a little dream”, the director explained. Aside from his detective work and his love of dance, the main character’s life hides its own problems. “When we get to know the detective’s wife, things change, balances become more precarious. Perhaps he can feel a bit like the star of a Bollywood movie as a detective, but when real life intervenes the roles are reversed and he comes face to face with illness, frustration in love, tragedy and crime” the director noted.

These films are included in a section which is funded, among other 14th TDF activities by the European Union - European Regional Development Fund under the Central Macedonia ROP 2007-2013.

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