The Humane Within the Everyday Life
An interview with Nadejda Koseva, noted down by Tamar Noort.
Your story is set in 1996, the year Bulgarian economy crashed and hyperinflation caused financial chaos. Why did you decide to make a film about this topic? Does it have anything to do with the ongoing world financial crisis?
OMELETTE is part of an omnibus film called 15. It is built out of 15 short films telling stories about the last 15 years of the post-communistic transition period in Bulgaria. When they called me to participate in the project I had to choose a year. I choose 1996 because of the hyperinflation – I do believe that in a moment of crisis the human personality exposes itself most comprehensively. The script was written before the huge global financial crisis, so the parallel is more or less a coincidence.
Yet, the story you tell is a very personal one. What interested you in the story about a mother trying to feed her child?
Yes, it is a very personal one and I think this is the only way I can make films. My mother raised me in times of crisis not giving me the slightest idea how hard it is for her. I had such a happy childhood. Now when I am grown up I can realise how hard it was for her. So this film is dedicated to my mother.
In your film THE RITUAL you also deal with parents taking care of their child. Is telling family stories for you a way to say something about the situation of your country?
THE RITUAL and OMELETTE are made after true stories I heard. Both films tell something important for my country and deal with problems that I think are essential in our situation nowadays. But the bond parent – child is one of the archetypes of the human relationships – so it is not that much about my country, but more about people…
How did you decide on the aesthetic concept for the film?
When I realised that the story deals with simple things of great importance for the main character and that the film will be a microscopic look on her daily life it was very easy to define the aesthetic of the film language. The mother is concentrated only on the money she needs to by food and we – the camera, the art department, everything follows her concentration. I was curious can a very detailed look on the reality build a whole metaphor.
You use a reduced way of storytelling: no music, almost no dialogue. Was it clear from the beginning that the film would look like this or did you create it during editing?
It was very clear from the beginning it will look like this. It totally corresponds with the world of the mother and the reality of that time. By the way, one can make the characters express themselves without words and it is possible to build music with sounds from the daily life…
Your film has a comedy aspect in it: breaking one egg after the other can be very funny. But in your case, it seems to be literally a matter of life and death. How did you create this loomy atmosphere?
What interested me in the story is the way we reveal ourselves in the smallest details of our daily life – how a simple thing like making an OMELETTE can become a battle. It is a matter of life and death. The actress knows it and expresses it, so the atmosphere comes naturally.
Eggs are highly symbolic – they can stand for new life, for a new beginning, and breaking them can show the fragility of a presumed stable economic or political system. Did the eggs have symbolic meaning to you?
No, I did not use the eggs on purpose with a second, deeper meaning. Still I do believe that when you strongly concentrate the reality in a film you can build metaphors even from a single table in an empty room.