Restoration of Ethical Norms to Save Civilization: Vinko Möderndorfer

Restoration of Ethical Norms to Save Civilization: Vinko Möderndorfer

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A writer and movie producer told Tasnim that what humans need in order to save the civilization is ethical norms and empathic behavior as well as respecting the diversity of people.

Vinko Möderndorfer wrote and directed three internationally-renowned and award-winning live-action features (Suburbs, 2004; Landscape No. 2, 2008; Inferno, 2014), all of which have premiered and been screened at the most prestigious A-list film festivals: Venice, Montreal, Karlovy Vary, Cannes, Busan, Tallinn, etc., and have won numerous awards at home and abroad.

Vinko Möderndorfer belongs among the most renowned Slovenian artists. His extensive opus includes more than a hundred theatre and opera directions, sixteen TV directions, and a hundred radio plays. He has written more than seventy books and forty dramas. He has received more than forty awards in the fields of literature, drama, theatre, television, and radio, including the Prešeren's Fund Award, the Župančič Award, several Borštnik Awards, the Marjan Rožanc Award, several Grum Awards, the Ježek Award, several awards for best comedy, the Cup of Immortality, the Večernica Award, several Desetnica Awards, and other important acknowledgements.

The story of his latest live-action feature Deadlock describes an encounter between two married couples from the opposite ends of the social scale, which, at first glance, seem to have nothing in common. However, an accident and a tragic event bring these people together fatefully in a single night and most likely until the rest of their lives.

In an interview with Tasnim, Möderndorfer gave his views regarding to his work.

What follows in the text of the interview:

Tasnim: It was a vital decision to follow a story with a predictable ending. What was the point in going through this kind of story?

Möderndorfer: I'm not so sure that the end of our movie is that predictable. The story has many turns and it's not completely certain that the couple will decide to donate their son's heart to the other couple. The parents' hope that the child will survive is never-ending, after all. Although the two couples come from different social backgrounds, even from different cultures, in the end they are still parents who want their child to survive. Both couples, despite their differences, share the same pain.

There is, of course, a difference in how much we're willing to feel the pain of another when we're experiencing pain too. Empathy is that bond between people that can save our civilization. Respect for the other, sensitivity for the pain and struggle of another human being ... these were the things we were most interested in with this movie.

There are people who think that anything can be bought, even a heart. And there are people who have nothing - except the sense for the other. Meira and Emir don't know till the very end what decision they will make. When they witness the reanimation of the young girl, when they feel the pain of her parents, when they realize that it's important that life should go on ... they make the decision. And they make, despite their endless pain, the right decision.

Tasnim: In a general concept, the film focuses on the humanitarian aids to keep hope alive in the dark days of the history. Thus the drama is formed in the conflicts between two different families. How did you come to a point to select a Muslim Bosnian family in one side of the drama?

Möderndorfer: There are many Bosnian Muslims living in Slovenia. In the former Yugoslavia, Muslim culture and way of life was a normal and common fact. I have many Muslim friends and colleagues and there are no differences between us. And if there are any, they don't affect our cohabitation, they bring us together and make us all richer. This is how it's supposed to be.

(Bosnian) Muslims have suffered a lot in the last few decades, they were struck very hard by the Balkan wars. Irreparable injustices and horrible crimes were committed against them. But that wasn't the main reason why I chose a Muslim family. All that mattered to me was the social distance and difference between the couples. The Muslim husband and wife aren't orthodox believers, they're perfectly common people who live according to their religious and ethical norms. On the other side, there is a wealthy couple who sees the world as a capitalist market, their ethical norms are the norms of capitalism. This is what mattered to me.

I believe in the restoration of ethical norms and empathic human behavior. This is what is going to save our civilization. Not the one that claims to be the Catholic civilization, or the one that claims to be the Muslim civilization, but the one that respects the diversity of people, that is capable of sacrifice for the sake of the other, regardless of their religious identity, the one that is aware that life is precious and that we all must preserve it. This is what Meira and Emir stand for in our film. I am sure that a strong friendship will be forged between the two couples, that they will be connected by a shared heart. I'd like to live in a world like that. That's the only world worth living in.


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