> or better yet http://tinyurl.com/2wfbg8ONDREJ TROJAN
An Interview with the Director
You built the cabins that we see in Zelary?
The cabins that we needed for our film all had the problem that nearly
every one of them that would have been perfect for us has a newer
house near it. And when we finally found something, then it was in
such an inaccessible location that we could not even reach them with
tractors in the rain. There were days when we needed the help of
horses to get lights, cameras and all the equipment up to the
locations, like in the 19th century. Three kilometers so we could
film. That brought the crew together in a great way; even the locals
and the crew. So we kept moving from place to place. It was nothing
strange to run into an actor carrying a lamp stand up the hill to the
set. Everyone would help out when it was necessary, voluntarily,
because everyone knew that the next day they could be the ones to need
We decided to build the main cabin. We were inspired by a man who
asked us if we wanted to buy a cabin. We asked which one and he showed
us. It was taken apart and ordered on his yard. The beams were all
numbered. But in the end this cabin was not right for us, we needed to
make it more according to our ideas. In the end we really did buy and
take apart an old cabin. We used its beams to build a life-size set
where our two main characters lived and was according to our needs and
was in harmony with nature. We also built an interior, which we used
in the studio because cabins are small and it would be very difficult
to film in one.
We tried to put together a young, active crew that we knew could
handle a work-out because its takes a great deal of energy to film in
Q. - Zelary is an international project. What nationalities can be
seen on camera?
It's international because the budget climbed into heights that were
impossible to finance in the Czech Republic. That is why we looked for
financing abroad. Czech, Austrian and Slovak actors, as well as a
Hungarian, appear in the film. Basically we were able to renew
Austro-Hungarian cooperation. There was also Jan Tríska, who has been
living in the United States for a long time, and actors from Germany.
Q. - What about the costumes?
The northern part of the Beskydy Mountains from Ronov north and then
to the east into Slovakia to ilina and the Lesser Fatra is one region
with very similar architecture of the cabins, similar period clothing,
similar music and traditions. Therefore, the costumes were collected
from Slovakia and the area surrounding Ostravice. We feared that there
would be too many folk costumes in our movie countryside. The clothes
of Zelary are a mix of traditional rural clothing and the increasing
influence of the city, as was the case at the time. We used many
period photographs and Katarina Bieliková put a lot of work into it. I
was very satisfied.
The filming became difficult, even extreme. We filmed with a six-month
old toddler and with 90-year old actress Zita Kabátová. We had to film
during all four seasons where we needed 36 degrees or minus 20, where
film in the camera would break apart and actors on the set were freezing.
From the leading actress, Anna Geislerová
The filming was very difficult. Which season was the most complicated
None of them, they were all beautiful. It was beautiful shooting! The
biggest crisis was probably in the winter; but not because it was cold
or that I was cold, but that because my notions were not the same as
what we were filming. In terms of difficulty, then the hardest thing
was riding that awful carriage. That was terrible and we almost had to
have a stunt double even though it looks absolutely easy. We had an
absolutely rickety wagon, a horse who refused to cooperate and the
Hungarian wasn't able to handle it very well. So there were a couple
crisis situations. After that, just sitting on that wagon was a bit of
a traumatic experience for me. I didn't like that. And then I didn't
like running in the rain. Although, I liked it in the end because I
was such a hero for the entire crew and all everybody did was take
care of me. They kept brining me warm drinks and warm socks. I liked that.
And finally a comment from the director's brother, Ivan Trojan, as the
man who has only a few minutes on screen but starts and ends the story
with the heroine:
What part of the shooting did you take part in?
I was there the first day of filming. We filmed the absolute end of
the film and it was spring, but it was still snowing in the Slovak
mountains. Aňa Geislerová and I had to look fifteen years older. Then
we filmed the fall in Prague.