Rooster’s Breakfast is a Slovenian romantic comedy\drama directed by Marko Nabersnik adapted by the novel by Feri Lainšček. The film is Slovenia’s most acclaimed and commercially successful movies of all time.
We meet Đuro (played by Primož Bezjak) as he is being laid off from his work as a mechanic. Duro is however referred to Master auto-mechanic Gajaš's (played by Vlado Novak) who’s shop is in the idealic town of Prekmurje (region of Eastern Slovenia). Duro is hired as an apprentice and soon is mingling with Gajas’s eccentric friends who love to come to Gajas’ shop to gamble, drink and listen to music. Soon however, Duro meets Bronja (played by Pia Zemljjc), the beautiful wife of the neighbourhood mob boss Lepec (played by Dario Varga) where wackiness ensues!
The film won 5 awards at the 10th Festival of Slovenian Film: Audience Award For The Best Picture (Marko Naberšnik), Vesna For Best Directing (Marko Naberšnik), Vesna For Best Screenplay (Marko Naberšnik), Vesna For Best Actor (Vlado Novak) and Stop Magazine Award for best actor/actress (Pia Zemljič).
It is also the Slovenian candidate for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film nomination. In year 2009 film won CWB Critics Award at the 4th Annual South East European Film Festival, Los Angeles.
Mr Marko Nabersnik was kind enough to answer a few questions about the film.
Marko Nabersnik - The film is based on the Slovenian bestselling novel with the same title. Its author is Feri Lainšček, one of the most acclaimed Slovenian writers. I adopted the novel with his help and with the help of Scripthouse Berlin and its script doctor Franz Rodenkirchen. In the book there is a much wider story about the private life of the character you saw in the movie. I only concentrated on the love story of a young couple and the romantic obsession of the main character, the old garage owner Gajaš, who is admiring the famous singer Severina. Of course, this is love at first sight which can not come true.
The Movie Club – Why was the movie not set in modern times? How has Slovenia gone through significant social changes since this time?
Marko Nabersnik - The novel was written in 1997 and I did not change the time period the story takes place in. One of the reasons is also that in the 90’s we were not in European Union yet and memories of communistic regime of Yugoslavia were still much more alive. And these are also memories which the main character Gajaš is influenced by. And because the story is set a little bit in the past the movie looks nostalgic, which people in Slovenia liked very much.
The Movie Club – What was it like working with the main cast? Had you worked with them before?
Marko Nabersnik - I worked with some of the actors. Pia Zemljič, who is playing the lead woman role, was also my classmate at the Film Academy in Slovenia. I worked with Primož Bezjak too. But the other cast is set up from the most acclaimed Slovenian actors. Vlado Novak, the main character for example played more than 100 theater roles, had a feature film introduced in Cannes (Artificial Paradise from director Karpo Godina) and I was honored that they accepted the offer to play in my first movie. And I think everybody can see how good Vlado Novak, the main character and leading actor, is. He gave a real push to the story and film.
The Movie Club – What were your previous works? What is your next project going to be and are you currently working on anything?
Marko Nabersnik - I finished the Film Academy in 2002. I have worked on more than 500 live TV shows in the entertainment industry since that time. In 2007 I finished my first feature film Rooster’s Breakfast and its box office success and successful distribution in the countries of former Yugoslavia brought me to the next film. My new film is Shanghai Gypsy. The shooting of the new film was finished in 2011. Now I am in sound postproduction. With the budget of 3,5 million US dollars Shanghai Gypsy is the most expensive Slovenian film of all times. The story is based on the successful novel Untouchables (again by Feri Lainšček) which won numerous awards and was nominated for Europe Book prize in 2008. The novel is also translated in English and you can purchase it on Amazon.
The story of the film Shanghai Gypsy is a love story. The main protagonists are members of gypsy family Mirga. The story about four generations is narrated by Lutvija Belmondo Mirga. Lutvija is also the central character of the film, a gypsy king, who decided to establish his own gypsy village. He names it Shanghai. Belmondo makes a living on smuggling and his power and influence grow large. He even gets local police and politicians on his side and that helps him to become untouchable for law. But with the downfall of Yugoslavia, smuggling of goods is being replaced by smuggling of the arms. Though lucrative, the business starts to threaten Belmondo’s personal life and he finds himself at the crossroads. Will he protect his own family or is he going to sacrifice his personal happiness for business ambitions?
Marko Nabersnik - The success of the film had a good influence on my current career. I got the actual project Shanghai Gypsy and because the Rooster’s Breakfast was Slovenian Nominee for Foreign Language Oscar in 2008, it got some international contacts and the next film I am planning will be made completely out of Slovenia. There was a big teenage comedy hit called Going Our Way (from director Miha Hočevar) in Slovenia last year. That comedy got even bigger box office success than my film. Rooster’s Breakfast is now placed second. As you can see, Slovenian films are popular in my country and I am happy that you, and hopefully the audience of the Windows on Europe Film Festival liked the film too.
The Movie Club - I'm sure audiences will! Again, many thanks for the opportunity to discuss Rooster’s Breakfast with The movie club. Congratulations on the film and we wish you the best with your future projects!
For more information on Rooster’s Breakfast visit:
For more information on Shanghai Gypsy visit:
Luke McWilliams, Feb 2012
We meet two teenage girls from a Conservative Laestadian community who travel to Helsinki, where they meet other people of their age. Here, they learn about a lifestyle that differs greatly from the girls' religious way of life, where wackiness ensues!
Mr Dome Karukoski and actors Marjut Maristo and Amanda Pilk were kind enough to answer a few questions about the film.
Dome Karukoski, 34 - Won over 30 international awards and is the director of the box-office film Lapland Odyssey which showed at the Canberra int. filmi festival 2011. My father is an American actor and my mother a Finnish journalist.
Marjut Maristo, 26 - Is studying in the university of Helsinki to become a teacher. She started working on films as an amateur and has also done some theater after receiving main roles in films like Forbidden Fruit and The Home Of Dark Butterflies. Marjut is currently in Barcelona continuing her studies, but still wants to do films now and then. Was awarded for her role in Forbidden Fruit in festivals in Vienna, Mons Belgium and Zerkalo film festival, Russia.
Amanda Pilke, 20 made her name by acting in the big series "The Eastern Front" that tells stories of a small village in eastern Finland. Amanda has now received numerous roles in films by first rank directors like Dome Karukoski (Forbidden Fruit, Aku Louhimies and Antti Jokinen).Amanda has received numerous awards for her role in Forbidden Fruit in Mons Belgium, Festroia Portugal and the the best supporting actress award in the Finnish film awards Jussi's.
The Movie Club - Are differing religions of great interest to you? What made you want to make this story?
Dome: I met a girl that was the real life "Rachel". She had left her church of Conservative Laestadians. After she left, her father disowed her. He told her that she was not part of the family anymore and that she was not allowed to meet her siblings. She was the most complicated girl I had met. She was the launching point for me to make the film. At the same time Aleksi Bardy, the screenwriter of the film was interested on making a film of the "biblical Finland". -An area up north in Finland where a lot of Lutheran sects are very strong.
The Movie Club - The recent American movie Martha Marcy May Marlene follows a young girl who escapes a cult and finds it difficult to assimilate into regular life. With the young characters leaving to 'taste the forbidden fruit', was there any temptation to enhance the differences between living a relatively standard Finnish life and the lives led by apostolic Lutheran families? What methods helped the actors to convey these differences?
Amanda&Marjut - We made a pact with Dome and some of the other actors that for four months before the film shoot, we would abide to strict rules like the Conservative Laestadians do. We didn't watch TV, listen to pop music, use any alcohol, curse or even dance, which is also forbidden for the sect. Instead of not having sex, we ate no candy. It would've been quite difficult to explain to our spouses that we are not allowed to have sex for four months. Leaving away candy was a good alternative for that.
The Movie Club - What was it like working on set? Had the main cast and director worked together before?
Dome - I worked with Marjut in the Home of Dark Butterflies and that worked well. It was my first time to work with Amanda. We became like siblings with the girls.
Marjut&Amanda - The same. We became like siblings with Dome. The most frightful thing for us was to jump from a 6-meter cliff into water. We were so afraid and almost didn't want to do it. Dome and some other crew members jumped in first to encourage us. So we did it!!! It was a leap of faith:)
We miss the crew and the jump.
The Movie Club - What are your current/future projects?
Marjut - I will study in Barcelona for a few moments. I might do some theater in the summer. But no movies yet.
Amanda - My newest film "Vuosaari" by the multiawarded Aku Loukimies is premiering in Finland now. I play a girl that wants to become famous with any cost. I'm also shooting a film with Hollywood director Antti Jokinen. This one is in Finland and Estonia and it's based on the famous novel "The Purge". It will premiere in the fall of 2012.
Dome - I have several projects on development stage. One is about racism, one about the modeling world and one is about the most biggest warhero of Finlanf Carl Gustaf Mannerheim. I don't yet know which one I'll do first. That solution will be made by those who finance films...
Luke McWilliams, Feb 2012