site.btaActress Geraldine Chaplin: Bulgarians are Mystical People, Mystical Film "Luka" will Surely Appeal to Them
Bulgarians are mystical people, so Luka, which is a mystical film, will surely appeal to them, said renowned actress Geraldine Chaplin on Friday on the occasion of her participation as a special guest in the 27th Sofia Film Fest. She presents one of her latest films at the forum, Luka. In addition, Chaplin will receive the Sofia Municipality Award.
"Of course it's an honor. I have long wanted to visit Bulgaria, but I have never had this opportunity, although I have many Bulgarian friends," the actress said, adding that early in her career she worked under Bulgarian director Petar Uvaliev in Stranger in the House (1967).
Luka (Belgium-Italy-Netherlands-Bulgaria-Armenia), which will be screened Saturday at Hall 1 of Sofia’s Palace of Culture, is inspired by the novel The Tatar Desert by writer Dino Buzzati.
"There were three main pillars for me in writing and making the film. The first was the inescapable absurdity of the situation, which is very palpable in the book. Second was the very deep and mystical sensibility, and third was the existential angst of these men - the feeling that you don't know your place in the world and that you've sacrificed your life for a cause that is ultimately based on nothing," said the film's director Jessica Woodworth.
Geraldine Chaplin, who is the only woman in the film, plays the role of the General in the dystopian world of Luke. "The role was written for a man, and I told Jessica I would do my best to play it. I was not able to lower my voice enough, but I think the character ended up looking like some kind of reptile," Chaplin said. "It wasn't exactly homoerotic, but it was on the edge. There were some very handsome men doing some very beautiful things," she added.
"I didn't choose Geraldine because of her gender, I chose her because of herself, because of her humanity and modesty, this is by no means a film that foregrounds gender," Woodworth explained.
The cast also includes Jonas Smulders, Jan Bijvoet, Samvel Tadevossian, Django Schrevens, and Sam Louwych. One of the key roles is played by Bulgarian actor Valentin Ganev. The main challenge ahead of Smulders in his efforts to fully embody the leading role of Luke was that he had to convey the emotions of the character in an anti-utopian environment, which lacks any female presence, the actor pointed out.
Bulgarian scenic artist Sabina Hristova and costume designer Eka Bichinashvili were also part of the film crew. Art Fest is co-producer, and the funding is provided by the National Film Center.