Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Gojko Mitic Interview

The life of the Goiko Mitic Indian: a house in Germany, tomatoes, an amulet
“I also played Marshal Sokolovsky!”


The legendary Yugoslav and German actor Gojko Mitic, known for the films “Chingachguk - Big Snake”, “Sons of the White Bear”, “Apaches”, “Winnet”, “The Leader of the White Feather” and others created in the GDR in the 1960–80s came to Russia. Gojko told us about his life in Germany, an Indian amulet and growing tomatoes.

In Blagoveshchensk, at the Amur Autumn festival, Gojko Mitic was awarded the Crane for his contribution to world cinema. “We must hold it tight so that it does not fly away,” Gojko reacted.
“Next June I will be 80. A young old man,” he says of himself. But in the memory of the audience, Mitic is still young. Elderly residents of Blagoveshchensk approached Andrei Andreev, a 54-year-old actor who arrived at the festival and asked: “Are you Gojko Mitic?” Having learned about this from the MK observer, Gojko carefully looked at his colleague and agreed: “There is something similar.” So Andrei Andreev became the hero of the documentary, which is filmed about Mitic by the Serbian director Maria Zhizhovich, who studied at VGIK with Vadim Abdrashitov.

[Gojko Mitic with Maria Zizhovic and his double Andrei Andreev]

Journalists conducted a survey and found out that one of the spectators at home had a portrait of Gojko for many years. The husband was terribly jealous and smeared it with black paint. As a result, the couple divorced. One of the men recalled how, thanks to Mitic, he had acquired beautiful breasts: he followed his example, went in for sports. They remembered the rumors that Gojko died on the set. Many, as it turns out, dreamed of marrying him. And now some ladies, having learned that he is free, have become extremely lively.

In Blagoveshchensk, Gojko Mitic presented the Russian-Serbian film "The Balkan Frontier", where he starred after a long break. The film is based on the real events of 1999, when the peacekeeping battalion made a march from Bosnia to the Slatina airfield in Kosovo. Gojko agreed to act in film without even reading the script: the topic seemed important. He performed all the tricks himself.

Gojko Mitic was born in Serbia. After the bombardment of Belgrade, his mother experienced such stress that she could no longer speak, and then her heart stopped. Gojko could not say goodbye to her. Roads were broken, bridges were blown up. Only six months later, he visited the grave.

With Gojko Mitic we walked along the Amur embankment, looked towards China, which is 700 meters on the other side. Together we ended up in the bordering Heihe, visited the local history museum in Blagoveshchensk, where, having seen the old Singer sewing machine, Gojko examined it for a long time and said: “This was my grandmother’s.”

“I don’t want to know which of my friends reported me”

- You speak Russian well, you have been living in Berlin for a long time, but your native language remains ...

- The language of the mother, that is, Serbian. I studied Russian at school, had a choice - Russian, German, French, English. I chose German and Russian. I have been living in Germany for a long time, and a second language came in handy.

[On the other side of the Amur]

He starred a lot at the DEFA studio. I speak German daily in everyday life, play in the theater. As for the Russian language, I did not have a rich practice. But when I was filming with you in the Caucasus more than fifty years ago, it really helped me that I studied your language a little bit at school. We were in Pyatigorsk at a stud farm, where we chose an Arab unrootted horse. My German colleagues also studied Russian at school, but could not say a word. I translated them.
- Have you read Russian books?

“I wanted to read War and Peace, but my knowledge is not enough to read normally.” Multilingualism reigns in my head, suddenly I begin to speak Russian with the Germans.
- Yugoslavia for the Soviet people was a real foreign country and was perceived as the most capitalist country of the socialist camp.

- In the West they believe that Yugoslavia is a communist country, in the East they call it capitalist. My country was in the middle.

- When you left her and moved to Germany, did this somehow affect your relatives?
- No, such as in the USSR, we did not have. Parents were proud of me. My father showed everyone my photos. I told him: “Old, what are you doing? Do not play the fool. "

“They did not want to move to you?”

- No! And I didn’t want to stay there. In Germany, I had a lot of fans. They met me with a banner: "We congratulate our Gojko." How can you leave people after this? In Yugoslavia, no one offered me a job in such films as there. And I worked, built a house in Germany. My brother came to visit me.

                                                     [Gojko Mitic over a cup of coffee]

- It is believed that living in the GDR was more difficult than in the USSR. The Stasi, the GDR Ministry of State Security, invaded the Germans' private life.

- So they say in the West. But if you talk with the inhabitants of the former GDR, you will understand: they don’t think so. Now many realized that they had lost with the unification of Germany.

There were many kindergartens in the GDR; children had the opportunity to study at school for free. Of course, the Stasi actively worked, but I never came across it. I heard that a personal file was started for everyone, and so was me. Journalists offered me access to these documents, but I don’t want to know which of my friends was listening and informing me.

- From East Germany looked with envy towards West Berlin?

- I had a Yugoslav passport, and I could go to the West without a visa. Living in Berlin, he had the opportunity to visit its western part and return back. Therefore, my colleagues addressed me with different requests: to visit my grandmother, to bring something. And I helped: "Tell someone who needs what, give an address, and I will go." I was accepted as my own person, and it was important. I starred in 12 Native American films.

- Why did the GDR mass-produce films about Indians?

- The fact is that the writer Karl May lived in East Germany, not far from Dresden. Now his museum is open there. His novels were translated into many languages, even Japanese. As a child, I read three of his novels - “Vinnet”, “Gold to Vinnet”, “White brother to Vinnet”, took them in the library. So interest in the Indians arose thanks to Karl May.

The works of the German writer Lizelotta Welskopf-Heinrich (author of the trilogy “Sons of the Big Dipper” - S.Kh.) were also filmed. She is a professor of history at Humboldt University in Berlin, visited with the Indians, lived with them. Her novels are based on real events.

DEFA is the oldest film studio, and they also wanted to make films about Indians there, but from a different historical point of view. The Indians survived the genocide, and my role as a freedom fighter became important to the audience.

Films of the same subject, shot in West and East Germany, varied. Tekumse (the film directed by Hans Krazert “Tekumse”. - S.Kh. ) is also a historical figure. The idea was to unite all the Indian tribes and build the country of the Indians. If he succeeded, then today's America would be different. But Tekumze did not succeed, because he teamed up with the British. The Queen of England made him a general. In the last battle, he died. In Canada, a monument was erected to him.

[Frame from the film "Chingachgook the Great Snake"]

I also had another historical character - Osceola. I visited the Indians, showed them a film, and they accepted me as a native person. Met with drums. The leader addressed me with the words “my brother” and invited me to his home. I brought him tobacco.

The leader asked what my middle name is in honor of the animal. Upon learning that he was not there, he ordered me to think. I closed my eyes and saw a wolf. The leader said: "You are a wolf." I still don’t understand how he read my thoughts. Such a name is given only once. The Indians gave me a blanket to keep. One girl presented an amulet that she wore for four years. It contains energy.

- The work contributed to your move to Berlin. Do you like this city?

- Now in the East there are some problems. For the same work in the West, people get thirty percent more. But 30 years have passed since the merger. Is it a democracy? Berlin has become an international city with an interesting nightlife, many parties where you can get to know each other.

“Are you a free man?”

- I'm free, content with little. Where I live, there is a nest, and I watch how the bird twigs, protects it. After all, what is a person? He is also part of nature. We can not separate from her, to think that we own her wealth. Man must behave in accordance with the fact that he is only a piece of nature.

The main thing is close people nearby. My brother is alive. Daughter is 25 years old. She does not want children yet; she lives in Indonesia. Tired of her with me.

What do I need for life? Food, a roof over your head, a place to sleep and good friends. I live far from the center, by the river. I have a car, but when I am in Berlin, a bicycle is enough. There is a small garden and a garden where I grow tomatoes. Or is it right to say “tomatoes”? Tomatoes are more likely in German.

I took seeds or seedlings from my brother when he grew large tomatoes. How delicious they are! They can be eaten like apples. I'll be back home - I won’t have to buy tomatoes. I'll make a salad of mine.

- Can you cook?

- Yes, and very good. My guests praise. I can cook Serbian cuisine. When my German friends come, I treat you. I recall the grandmother's recipes.

- From childhood accustomed to agricultural labor?

- Yes, from childhood I saw it all. Now the tomatoes that we buy are not at all tasty. And my brother has clean, no chemicals. Mine are the same as my grandmother used to be. I remembered their taste from childhood.

My grandmother raised me more than my mother. I must thank her for the fact that I have never tried a cigarette. She said that my lungs will be as black asphalt, and that really worked. I imagined that people who smoke had black, and never smoked. But the pipe of the world had to be smoked. It took twenty takes.

“Dean Reed wasn’t loved in Germany”

At one time Gojko Mitic's wife was a German actress Renata Blume. Together they starred in the films Apache and Ulzana. In 1982, Blume received the Lenin Prize for participating in the film Karl Marx. Young years ”of the Soviet film director Lev Kulidzhanov. In the USSR, she was also known as the wife of the American singer and actor Dean Reed.

- They say that you had a bad relationship with Dean Reed.

- I was disturbed by the fact that Dean Reed always tried to be included in the top of the country, sought to be close to the authorities.

- Why was this necessary?

- I do not know. There are actors who organize their popularity while others earn it by labor. I prefer to earn it.

- What is known about his death?

- I do not know if he did it himself, whether he had personal problems. Figuratively speaking, he wanted to carry the flag of the GDR first. He was interested in a political connection with the authorities. I still don’t know if he was an agent.

- What was the reaction in the GDR to the death of Dean Reed?

“They still ask me if I know what happened then.” I know that they found him in the water.
People reacted differently to this. In Germany they did not like him. The elite loved him. He could do what he wanted.

In the film “Blood Brothers”, the script of which he wrote, I actually had no role, and I did not want to participate in it. What could I play there? And I told the director about it. Then the playwrights rewrote something. For me, this film does not matter. Then there was a film based on Jack London, and I had to play his partner. But I said thank you, I didn’t play. Played by another actor. Already during the first conversation, I did not believe that something would work out. All this is difficult to explain, but I had that feeling. There are people that I immediately accept. And I don’t accept anyone. Then it is always confirmed that I was not mistaken.
“Many people hate the one role that made them famous.” And you do not suffer from the fact that you often had to play Indians.

“Do you know why?” Because everything happened by chance. I was about to go skiing, and then they called from the Yugoslav film studio and said that we had to come to them. If I hadn’t picked up the phone, I wouldn’t talk to you now.

It is a pity that people did not see my other roles. I played not only the Indians, but also Marshal Sokolovsky in Uprising, which we shot not in the scenery, but in Karlshorst, where the surrender of Germany was signed.

I had both bandits and Italian gigolo. I played Spartacus and Robin Hood. One of my best roles is the Greek Zorba in the musical, where I first played accompanied by an orchestra.
- You do not have an acting education?

- You can learn many things at the acting department, but on the screen it is important that the actor acts on the viewer so that he has charm.

The theater is the same. Of course, you must know how to speak in order to withstand the whole performance. But it is important to survive what you play, to let yourself through. The viewer feels everything and then accepts you or not.

                                                   [Gojko Mitic in Blagoveshchensk]

I never felt a lack of craft. I played Indians who rode horses, hunted. I was helped by the Faculty of Physical Education, which I graduated in Belgrade. He did everything without an understudy, so that the audience believed me. I really wanted to be a coach. Yesterday, one of your actors said: "I wanted to be like you, went in for sports."

I played in the theater with success. Eight thousand spectators gathered in the open air, and I rode before them on a horse in an Indian costume.

- When did you first sit in the saddle?

“I was six years old, and I was already riding a horse.” My first stallion was called Dragan. As a child, I climbed trees. I liked to hang on them.

And it all began while studying at the Institute of Physical Education. They approached me there and asked if I could ride a horse. Filmmakers were looking for an understudy for the leading role in the historical film "Lancelot and the Queen." It involved 200 horses. Then came the small roles and the first big one at the DEFA film studio.

- Beauty didn’t interfere?

- What's the beautiful?

- Yours is male, physical.

- I went in for sports, and in the film I was stripped to show the body. I played an Indian. If he had a big belly, who would imitate him.

But I never followed a diet. And now I eat everything. The main thing is sports. I swim in the river, leaving the bath, dive into the hole.

Beauty is a relative concept. For one, I am beautiful, for the other - no. Nature created man, and one must live with it. Sometimes you meet a bright woman, but in a conversation you understand that she is empty.

My face has become more expressive with age. I look at myself in the mirror and see wrinkles, the character is now read on the face. At 24, I was physically perfect. But over the years, a lot has come. When I played Zorba, there was a very good press. One German critic, always dissatisfied with me, wrote that he could not understand how Mitich circled his finger.
- Do you know that we have adopted the Balkan Frontier with restraint?

- For me, the topic was important, events in Kosovo. There, many policemen died, as did my hero. I met the producer of the Balkan Frontier at the Golden Knight festival. According to the scenario, I had a completely different role - they did not kill me. My character is a real police commander. The producers said that he would be like a symbol of Yugoslavia. While the film was being made, the script was being rewritten. I am not very happy with the way the film was edited. They made an action movie attractive to a young audience. Modern installation with short frames. But in the Balkan Frontier, I played the Serb for the first time.

- Are you in Serbia?

- Once a year I go to my mother’s grave. She was the most important person for me. What my country did not survive - the Turkish yoke, the Balkan wars, the First World War ... We live like on a bridge. From south to north, from north to south you have to go through Serbia.

1 comment:

  1. Jeyen- The, Forradalmar (writer, Krúdy Antologia)February 3, 2024 at 5:33 AM

    Hello to you,
    my dear great "indian" idle of my child-, and adulthood time, until now: Mr. Mitiĉ /Goyko!
    You were and still are to me the absolute best and beleivable indian warrior !!
    Of course I always new that it is and was, just any movie roll of yours!
    But as how you were portraying the freedomfighter in those films, which is based on hystorical event & truth that I respect and share in my life very much, - so that is incredible!
    You are truly the Best Actor living hero, for sure!!
    May God bless you and have a very-very long life in a great/best health Mr. Goyko!!