Director Bakur Bakuradze (Shultes, The Hunter) has finished principal photography for this new feature with the working title The General. Bakur Bakuradze also wrote the script for this joint Russian-Serbian film.
With no financial support from the government, the film is produced by several Russian film companies: CTB Film Company (Sergey Selyanov) and VitaAktiva (Yulia Mishkinene), both of which previously took part in backing up Bakuradze’s films; and Focus+ (Zaur Bolotaev) and Lookfilm (Alexander Plotnikov). The Russian company VitaAktiva and Serbian Art & Popcorn headed by producer Miroslav Mogorović are responsible for the movie’s production. After the filming began, the project received support from the Ministry of Culture of Serbia.
The General is the story of the last twelve months of life of the former general of the civil war, Dejan Stanić. For ten years he was forced to hide from justice in various undisclosed military bases before he finally found refuge in a village house of an old man named Slavko. Suffering from extreme isolation, alone against the entire world, General Stanić must face his destiny. In these times of trouble, Slavko becomes the only close person to him.
The film looks at the psychological consequences of the civil war, examines the problem of illusory power, and poses the question of crime and punishment.
Cinematographer: Nikolay Vavilov, who previously worked with Bakuradze on Shultes and The Hunter.
Sound: Saulius Urbonavicius
Set design: Nikola Berćik
Costume design: Nevena Milovanović
“One of the recent events that shocked the world was the Balkan War,” says the film’s producer Sergey Selyanov. “The events in Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the civil war, genocide, and the mass exodus that followed—Europe had not witnessed anything of this scale since 1945. After the war, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia began looking for those whom Bakur honors in the title of this film—the generals that commanded the military operations. They were declared guilty, and went into hiding. They didn’t leave the country. They sought shelter in their homeland. What was their life like? What turmoil of emotions did they go through? A former hero, a nation’s leader, was now a criminal on the run. Guilty or not guilty? What questions did they ask themselves? This is a highly motivating topic for an artist to investigate.”
The protagonist, Dejan Stanić, is played by the famous Serbian actor Marko Nikolić. The role of Slavko was played by Mihail Tirinda, a non-professional actor. The rest of the cast is a mixture of professional and non-professional Serbian actors.
“During the initial development and preparation stage for the movie, I went through the profiles of virtually all Serbian actors,” says director Bakur Bakuradze. “Some I picked in Montenegro, some were suggested to me by friends, and some were former extras. The main duo, played by professional actor Marko Nikolić and non-professional Mihail Tirinda, posed the greatest challenge. I chose Marko because his acting was closest to what I had originally envisioned in the script. Mihail was very organic and vivid on screen.”
“The protagonist has no prototype behind him. He is a generalized character,” says producer Yulia Mishkinene. “Some parts of his life story may coincide with those of real people, but I’m sure Bakur was more interested in the inner world of Stanić as a person who finds himself in a difficult situation, estranged from the rest of the world, an outcast. Bakur was curious to see what a man, who not long ago was a national hero, at the top of the ladder of power, would do now, when he is forced to hide from justice: how he would behave, what steps he would take so as to avoid becoming a pawn in the game of chess played by the powers that be.”
The principal photography took place in Serbia in two stages. Stage one was completed in October–November 2013; stage two in April 2014. The film is scheduled to be released in 2015.
Photographs from filming locations: