1. 4. 2014

I've grown fond of Italy - Interview with actress Barbora Bobulova

Despite your unquestionably successful acting career abroad, Czech and Slovak audiences will always primarily remember you as the princess in the popular fairy-tale, The Immortal Auntie. When you look back, how do you feel about the film's shooting?

I have beautiful memories of the film. First, it fulfilled one of my childhood dreams, to become a real princess with beautiful long hair and a crown on my head. But it also was a unique opportunity professionally – to work with such actors as Jirina Bohdalova and Jaromir Hanzlik and admire their acting at the age of twenty. It was a great lesson and enrichment to watch them work.

One of your first Italian films, The Prince of Homburg by director Marco Bellocchio, had its world premiere at the main competition at Cannes film festival. How did you feel about such an entrée to the great film world? Did it influence your further career?

I remember the Cannes festival itself as a sort of a fairy-tale where I appeared as a princess again, this time princess Natalia of The Prince of Homburg, because my hair and make-up were constantly being done, I was being dressed in beautiful dresses and my role was only to smile and wave at the photographers, and sometimes answer some question. Marco Bellocchio's film actually opened the door to the Italian cinema for me. This film was the reason why I finally decided to leave Slovakia and try my luck in Italy.

How difficult was it to establish yourself in Italy as a foreigner, and how did you deal with the language bareer?

The beginnings weren't easy, in spite of having Marco Bellocchio's film in my CV. I was an Eastern-European actress with Slovak accent for the Italians. This is why I was usually offered stereotypical roles – a Slovak woman who comes to Italy in search of happiness and ends up as a prostitute on the street. I couldn't accept that the Italians have labelled all the girls from the Eastern Bloc as poor wretches who become the victims of prostitutions, this is why I declined such characters and worked hard on my Italian pronunciation instead, since it was a big handicap during film castings in the beginning. However, the hard work paid off and more interesting roles than poor Eastern-European women started coming.

Do you feel at home in Italy now? Do you miss anything that you must return to Slovakia for?

Yes, I've grown fond of Italy, all the good and bad the country offers. I feel at home here, I have two daughters who were born in Rome, I got Italian citizenship. What I miss about Slovakia? “Mum, I'm not feeling well, come to look after the kids!” “Dad, my washing machine has broken down, please come look at it.” Parental support.

You have made also several English-speaking films. Would you be willing to change the country you're living in for work again?

Probably only temporarily, although I try to follow the motto “never say never.” So I never rule out anything in advance. But it would have to be a great motivation for me to be willing to exchange Italy for another country.

What new project are you currently working on?

I finished I Nostri ragazzi by director Ivano De Matteo a month ago, he is the director with whom I made Balancing Act (included at Febiofest). The film is loosely based on The Dinner, a novel by Herman Koch. I am currently filming the second season of Therapy for Italian channel Sky.

What Czech or Slovak film has recently caught your attention?

The latest Czech films that I really liked were Bohdan Slama's Something Like Happiness and David Ondricek's In the Shadow. Both films were really beautiful. I feel rather sad that I can't say anything similar about some Slovak film.

- Interview by Anna Kopecká

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