Zdravko Velimirovic the Last Professor
When a student gets a professor that teaches him a specific craft and introduces him into the secrets of art, he is unaware of how big is the influence that he has on his creative personality.
We learn the trade. Discovering to us the book by Daniel Eridgone “The Grammar of the Film Language” he facilitated our first step, the one full of fear, to be able to master the space, the actors and our own selves. To know how to beat the fear of direction. To make a contact with the actors, to know exactly what we want and to communicate it to the crew in a proper way. That, how to communicate with the crew, to have, as the professor said, a double face, to shout when you feel like keeping silent, and keep silent when you feel like shouting. Professor Velimirovic was distinguished from the other professors by his eloquence and knowledge of the complete art. With the manners of a French student, he taught us the nice manners at the film – not to talk to the actors with shouting and yelling, feeding our own ego, but with a suggestive sentences to provoke their emotion and make the actors become unique fighters when the style is concerned. That was the way he behaved with us. Always elegant, choosing words, putting them together into smart refined sentences of experience, reminding us always that a director, besides the film trade, must know and learn to use the literature, painting, architecture, history. But, not just to use them verbally, but to transpose them through his creative personality, to respect the experience, not to copy it, but to feel it and listen to the pulse inside ourselves. His precise analyses of the characters,, their emotional condition, diversity and reflections of the real life that we always have to gather with our tireless curiosity, were the starting school of the formation of the directorial style. He found in us different characters, turned us into the actors during the common exercises. We played different characters. The Professor was discovering us and we were unaware of that. And he liked to tell that everything was happening inside us, and that all is seen in a magic triangle of our faces. The triangle formed by the eyes and the mouth. An eye that glitters, and the mouth that can say the feelings. Our Professor was also fighting for that triangle with some modernists in different times as well as with the directors of the photography who darkened the magic triangle, and with the theories that too much use of the big plan and the details of the faces destroys the film rhythm. He remained consistent in the attitude that, as he used to say, the face is the expression of the soul and that the selection of the physiognomies is one of the main attributes of a director with style. With the loss of my last professor, who taught me this strange puzzle of life, it seems as if a circle of the old style professors has been closed. From Rados Novakovic, Braca Sljepcevic, Milos Djukanovic, Radomir Baja Saranovic to Zdravko Velimirovic.
By a combination of circumstances,, they were my professors and my colleagues. That was also the Department for Film and TV Direction, that accepted me and entrusted me with continuation of conveying the secrets of the filmmaking trade to the students of the Faculty of Drama Art. Thus, I had the honour to become one in the line of the professors who have created what today and in the world can be recognized as the Belgrade School of Film. Professor, I will also not forget your sophistication, dignity, and all that you knew to recognize in clumsy first steps of the students who were looking for and finding themselves working on their film, looking for an inspiration in the life, and were creating something that is more important than the life.
Silons! Motor! Aksion!
(Silence! Motor! Action!)
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