March 27, 2015 | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
March 5, 2009, was a fateful day for a small post-Communist town in Serbia. Marko is longing to regain the love of his wife who has promised him a divorce. But, with the timely announcement of Michael Jackson’s comeback tour, Marko decides the best way to rejuvenate his town, and his marriage, is to erect a monument as a tribute to the pop star right in the town’s Square. Typical win-her-back strategy.
Why the King of Pop? According to Darko Lungolov, director of “Monument to Michael Jackson,” it has less to do with taste in music and more in controversy.
“Growing up, he was always too disco for me,” Lungolove says of Jackson. “But I needed a figure that would start some conflict and needed to be a pop icon and thought nobody better than Michael Jackson.”
Lungolov was born in Serbia but fled to the United States in 1991 during the former Yugoslavia’s civil wars. What may seem to be a bizarre approach to revitalizing your hometown and wooing your wife, the gesture may not be as far-fetched for Serbian natives.
“Monument to Michael Jackson” is a comedy inspired by [a] bizarre trend happening recently in small towns of Serbia and Balkans: people building monuments to Hollywood and pop-icons (Rocky, Tarzan, Bruce Lee…),” says Lungolov.
The quirky comedy sheds light on a struggling Serbia who has suffered several civil wars and changed its identity numerous times in the last two decades.
“We’re in a moment where we don’t know who the real heroes are.” In turn, honoring figures of Hollywood feels more comfortable.
Erecting a monument, even in the movies, is no easy feat. When you add a helicopter flyover, that adds its own challenges.
“The fake monument was not secured well and when we flew over with the helicopter, it knocked it down,” Lungolov recalls. “The final scene took six days to complete, and it’s on screen four [to] six minutes.”
With a little humor and a big heart, Marko, the true hero of this story, is determined to pay homage to the pop legend and bring a little pride home along the way.
“Marko, an optimistic daydreamer, has a simple plan: he wants to breathe life into his dying Serbian hometown,” says Lungolov.
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Get ready for nine days of film at the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival taking place September 20th 28th! Among their stellar line-up, look for #CIFF42 alum Burkinab Rising & Burkinab Bounty. Check out the full GCUFF schedule and make plans to attend: http://www.gcuff.org/
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