Cannes Film Festival
25th La Cinef Selection 2022
May 22, 2022
LIQUID BREAD is a three-generation tragicomedy about a Slovak family living on the Slovak-Hungarian border. Although the film deals with topics such as alcoholism, faith and xenophobia, it maintains its distance through the satirical commentary of the protagonist Zoya. She comes to an unannounced visit, where she observes her own distance from the rest of the family.
Hi Alice, thank you for the interview with The New Current, how are you doing in these special times?
Absolutely crazy. We had to keep our participation in Cannes a secret for almost two months, so all the preparations went somewhat quietly. Since we put the message out, there have been a lot of news and opportunities, which is really great, although sometimes a little "overwhelming".
How did you stay motivated?
Paradoxically, I haven't forced myself into anything lately. I wait, I absorb inspiration, I debate my ideas, but I'm in no hurry.
Have you had an amazing festival run with Boredom, did you imagine that this film would receive such a welcome reception?
I remember that we had a lot of respect before filming. We succeeded with Bored unexpectedly, and somehow we set the standard - we didn't want us to meet expectations with the new film. That's why we talked a lot with cinematographer Roman Šupej about what makes this story different, what visual key we attribute to him, and I think we managed to follow up on the film essentially autonomously. There are some similarities with Boredom, but at the same time it is a completely different, much more personal story.
To what extent has the experience from FTF at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague helped you guide your approach to your film style?
That rate is difficult to estimate. Thanks to my studies, I was tasked with watching quite a few films from the history of cinema, so I was able to find film styles and movements that further inspired me.
The school has influenced me in other ways as well - I feel that the discourse is still oriented according to "how the films are to be made", it still focuses on the hierarchy and what is used. On the sidelines of this, I began to question these things in an effort to find my own way of making movies.
What do you consider to be the most valuable lessons you have learned during your time at the Academy of Performing Arts?
It may sound like a cliché, but a failure. When something went wrong, it didn't work out, it wasn't the end of the world. The environment of the film school allows for this and gives space to follow up on what did not work out, mainly due to the number of exercises we produced during our studies - and the "mistakes" that could have been lost in that amount.
Congratulations on choosing Liquid Bread at the 25th La Cinef, where you are also nominated for a Cinefondation Award, which means that your film is part of this year's festival?
Well thank you! It definitely gives me a great sense of satisfaction. Behind the film is a huge piece of work by many components, extensive pre-production, raising funds, preparing costumes, masks, scenes, composing music, not to mention very exhausting filming. It makes me feel like the victim was worth it.
Can you tell me how Liquid Bread came about, which inspired your script?
I wanted the film to function as a memory. There are certainly fragments of real life, observed or experienced. But some events were completed by my own memory, although they did not happen at all.
You wrote Liquid Bread with Diana Dzurilla, what was this collaboration about writing for you?
Diana is a close friend and co-worker. When we write together, we try to listen and understand each other. She put a lot of great ideas into the film Liquid Bread, and I tried to translate the script into the movie screen as best I could. I am very grateful to her for our cooperation.
What message did you want to convey with this film, do you think you succeeded?
I wanted to tell a story that is close to me with everything that goes with it - with love and pain. To be authentic in my testimony even at the cost of hurting someone with my sincerity. I wanted to think of the Slovak viewer, who can get to know his own story in the film, but also of the foreign viewer, for whom many circumstances of the film may be unknown, but in their essence human, and therefore, understandable.
How close did you stick to the script when you started filming, did you allow yourself / the actors a lot of flexibility?
When shooting, I usually stick to the script. This is preceded by a lot of consultation and testing of what works - whether with the co-writer or with the actors themselves. I do this so that I can be sure on the set that what is written in the script makes sense in the context of the film. However, there is always a time when I have to let go of the scenario, because there is an unplanned situation that will disrupt my plans. That's when I try to adapt as best I can.
Where did your passion for film come from?
When I was little, my cousin and I made our first short "movies" on webcam. We just walked around the house and played witches and used a stop-trick and moved from place to place. We thought we had discovered the secret of the film. Later, I focused more on writing and theatre, especially during high school. However, this gradually began to limit me and I longed for the opportunity to translate my stories into film language.
How much has your style and approach to your films changed since your debut short film?
Filming Liquid Bread was much more challenging than Boredom. Numerous cast, many locations, filming. It was a big test by fire and my aim was to master it all and still maintain a consistent creative vision.
"Personally, I try to make films that talk about things that interest me, that I want to point out, and that may not have been sufficiently explored in the films - naturally, that means that I always put a bit of myself and my opinion into the films."
Do you have any advice or tips you could offer to a fellow writer / director or film student?
It has to be said that everyone is motivated to make films individually and can vary. Personally, I try to make films that talk about things that interest me, that I want to point out, and that may not have been sufficiently explored in the films - naturally, that means that I always put a bit of myself and my opinion into the films. Therefore, I think that if one feels an inner need to say something, it is worth trying - to write, shoot, to say further.
And finally, what do you hope your audience will take away from Liquid Bread?
I hope that my attempt to combine tragedy and comedy will be successful - and therefore that the viewer will laugh, albeit bitterly.