Nikola Lorencin

Interview with Kazimir Karabasz


During the fifty years he has spent working in the film industry director and professor Kazimir Karaba{ has authored a vast number of significant films. Insignificant ones as well, he reminds us. It’s that kind of business. He has also published several books on directing, and has acquired numerous students, and a devoted film audience. He has become the Karaba{ of documentary film!

In his films he is particularly attentive when filming human faces. Before his camera the human face becomes the equivalent of the universe, an endless world to be penetrated and explored.

The film history remembers him since 1956 and the film entitled ’Where the Devil Says Goodnight’. In 1957 he made ’The People from the Barren Country’, in 1960 the ’Musicians’ (professor Lorencin’s favorite). There followed ’Vezel’, ’People on a Trip’, ’The Year of Frank W.’, ’Kristina M.’, ’Point of View’, ’Summer in @abina’, and ’War Time’. He has directed some thirty documentaries, and received many of the most prestigious documentary film awards.

When he discusses the making of documentaries, Karabasz points out to the necessity of first asking: “WHAT do I want to shoot?”, and then “WHY do I want to shoot exactly that?” Only after these answers are obtained – and they are never easy or simple – can the making of the film begin! That is precisely why the conversation with this author was such a challenging for the interviewer (professor Lorencin), who had to decide carefully which WHAT and WHY questions to ask the experienced Karabasz.

In the part of the interview where he speaks of education Karabasz complains that modern students do not understand how necessary it is to shoot with care. It is necessary to contemplate first, not shoot right away. For, it is the contemplation that acts as a guarantee of success. However, rather than think first, young filmmakers prefer to make three, five or ten takes more than is necessary! Only when there is a starting point, a midpoint, and a culmination point in the script, and above all a clear understanding in the name of WHAT is the film being made, and WHY it is being shot – can the work be executed with precision! “Anybody can shoot a film, about anything, isn’t it so?” says Karabasz. “Topics are all around us! You can be a topic for a film, and this man that is now shooting, this hotel can also be a topic – it is thirty years old and has not yet collapsed! And the excursions that keep coming here could be a topic – everything is a topic. Only, it depends IN THE NAME OF WHAT is a film being made, and WHY is the shooting taking place! For, if it is being made just to determine that something exists – it is then a chronicle. That’s how television works, it just informs, and information is pernicious!”