Milko Lazarov: « Words like ‘stealing’ or ‘lying’ do not exist in the Yakut language»

Miko Lazarov and Veselka Kiryakova

10/25/2018.- Ága, the new title competing in the 63rd Seminci’s Official Section, is a metaphorical narrative of the last five minutes before the Apocalypse, according to the film’s director Milko Lazarov. The movie portrays the life of an Eskimo couple,   Nanook and Sedna, the last survivors living in the midst of nowhere according to their ancestors’ traditions and estranged from their own daughter Ága, who found a job far away from home after a family dispute. Indeed the story largely revolves around the possibility of a reconciliation between father and daughter. «Ága represents hope, while Nanook stands for wisdom», pointed out  Lazarov during the press conference that followed the screening.

A co-production involving the filmmaker’s home country Bulgaria as well as Germany and France, Ága is set in an indefinite far-north location where the shooting took place in temperatures nearing -42º C, when time seems to both stand still and flow. According to  Lazarov, it was in such a setting that his story made sense and at the same time fulfilled his esthetic expectations. «The story could have been set elsewhere and its message would still hold true», even though «if I embark on another project, I will probably make the same kind of choice location-wise (…) Right now I have no new film in mind, but I like this kind of odd, moonlike landscapes: I like their visual impact», he added.

Environmental issues were not his major concern when he began working in this project, but they are all-pervasive in the final result: «This is obvious: it’s right in front of the camera. There was no need for any further intent». In Lazarov’s words, «the people who live in the middle of nature do not deliberately articulate a explicit respect for the latter. They don’t speak in terms of being for or against environmentalism, and killing animals is part of their livelihood. It is a different way of life. They don’t even have words for concepts like stealing or lying».

On the side of production —and regarding the extremely low temperatures in the North Pole—, the movie’s producer Veselka Kiryakova claimed that there were no problems: «The crew was comfortable with the shoot’s conditions because they did not differ that much from those in their everyday lives. I discussed this with the other members of the production team, because they wanted to shoot in spring, when the weather is quite fine: about – 30 ºC». Indeed, the cast is made up of local actors, both professional and non-professional.

The film does not yet have distribution in Spain, but it was theatrically released in Germany and will soon screen in movie theatres in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Bulgaria.

Posted in Feature-length films, Featured Two, Official Section.