×

Locarno Talent: Director Andrea Staka Talks About ‘Cure -The Life of Another

Director Andrea Staka, who is a Swiss citizen of Bosnian and Croatian heritage, made an international splash with her first feature “Fraulein” which explored questions of nationality, immigration and generational differences through the lives of three women from the former Yugoslavia living in Zurich. It won the Locarno Golden Leopard in 2008. She is back in Locarno with her hotly anticipated second work “Cure – The Life of Another.” Staka spoke with Variety’s Nick Vivarelli about how her two cultures shaped her work, this time using a non-linear narrative that veers into the supernatural.

Let’s start with the title “Cure – The Life of Another,” it’s rather enigmatic.

The word ‘Cure’ in the title is ambiguos on purpose: besides “healing” it also means “fresh” girls in Croatian. I wanted to underscore the uncanny feeling of the film. ‘The Life of Another’ tells you it’s about identity. It generates curiosity.

What’s your personal connection to the film?

I try to depict the richness and complex issues that stem from living with two cultures inside me. They are a richness, but also a challenge. In the 1990’s I started feeling that I needed to talk about them, because they are a complex issue, and I feel I had to explore it. When the war started in Yugoslavia, my family was there and I was in Swizerland. I was 17, and it had a big impact on my life. I felt powerless. So making films is also a way for me to express a lot of unanswered questions from that time.

Adolescence; the scars of war; different nationalities and cultures. All of this comes together in your film which I think has many different layers and levels. Can you tell me about the creative process?

My previous film “Fraulein” is about the inner emotional states of three different women. With “Cure – The Life of Another” I wanted to explore the darker, sub-conscious side, so it’s clear that the narrative needed to be different. I didn’t want to follow the rules of, say, a psychological thriller. I work very intuitively. I was inspired by a true story which I heard different versions of in Dubrovnik about two girls going to a cliff and one not coming back. It quickly became clear to me that I wanted to create the feeling which that story gave me using my own cinematic means.

The lead actress Sylvie Marinkovic is amazing. How did you find her?

A: It was funny and great. It’s not that easy to find a bilingual girl. First we tried Facebook, but it didn’t work. Then I wrote everybody I knew and asked them to ask all their friends who have children to do some “e-castings” with their cellphones. Sylvie and her twin-sister were the first ones to send me their photos. I looked at many other girls, but then I decided she was the one.

What was it like working with such a young actress with no previous experience

It’s mainly about building trust. When I met Sylvie she was twelve. She knew that the film is about a little girl becoming a young woman. At that age girls don’t know about sexuality, it’s interesting to them, but they fear it. Sylvie was almost like a professional actress. In the morning she would almost always already be in the mood of the scene we were going to shoot, and she was almost in every shot. She’s a hard worker.

“Fraulein” won the Golden Leopard here in Locarno in 2006. That was eight years ago. Sometimes it’s harder to get your second movie made? Was that the case with you?

Not really. I gave birth to my son during this time and I started my own production company with Thomas Imbach. As producer and writer I was also involved in other films. When I was ready, it wasn’t difficult to find the financing because after “Fraulein” people were waiting for my new film.

More Film

  • Amy Adams (left) as Lynne Cheney

    Film News Roundup: Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Sets Awards Show for Jan. 11

    In today’s film news roundup, the 2020 awards season schedule gets finalized; AFM will cover immersive content; “Murderous Trance” and “7 Days to Vegas” get acquired; and Kate Katzman has been added to “The Comeback Trail.” AWARDS DATE The Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists Guild has set Jan. 11 as the date for its seventh [...]

  • Disney Pandora World Of Avatar, Lake

    The Piano Guys Play 'Avatar' Theme in Disney World (Watch)

    The YouTube sensation The Piano Guys have taken a trip to the world of Pandora for a performance of the theme to “Avatar.” Shot in the bioluminescent floating forest in Disney World, cellist Steven Sharp Nelson and pianist Jon Schmidt put their spin on the score to James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster. The video immerses the [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Billy Drago, 'Untouchables' Star, Dies at 73

    Billy Drago, who often played harming but chilling gangster roles and appeared in Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables” and Clint Eastwood’s “Pale Rider,” died Monday in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke. He was 73. The character actor played Al Capone’s henchman Frank Nitti in 1987’s “The Untouchables.” On TV series “Charmed,” he put [...]

  • Grant Sputore

    'I Am Mother' Director Tackles Margot Robbie-Produced Thriller 'Augmented'

    Warner Bros. has hired “I Am Mother” director Grant Sputore to helm the science-fiction thriller “Augmented” which Margot Robbie is producing, Variety has learned exclusively. Michael Lloyd Green is rewriting an original script by Mark Townend. Denise Di Novi and Tom Ackerley are also producing. Production companies are Robbie’s LuckyChap and Di Novi’s eponymous Di [...]

  • Miley Cyrus

    Miley Cyrus Teases 'Charlie's Angels' Collaboration with Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey

    Three of the biggest female pop stars have joined forces in a new song for the Elizabeth Banks-directed reboot of “Charlie’s Angels.” In a tweet posted Wednesday, Miley Cyrus hinted at a collaboration between herself, Lana Del Rey, and Ariana Grande in the forthcoming film. Alongside a 14-second teaser, originally posted by Sony Pictures, the [...]

  • AMC TheatresShop signs, Los Angeles, America

    AMC Subscription Program Hits 860k Members

    AMC’s subscription service, launched in 2018 as a challenger to MoviePass, has reached 860,129 members in its first 12 months. Given the unwieldy moniker of AMC Stubs A-List, the service costs between $19.95 to $23.95 per month depending on where users live. The company initially said it had hoped to sign up 500,000 members in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content