Marian Urban has co-written film scripts with fellow Slovak Peter Pistanek for the past 20 years. Their latest work, ‘Hostage’ (2014) is a tribute to friendship and patriotism towards their childhood homeland – Czechoslovakia. “We have always had this inner urge to tell a story of our youth, and how the war divided families in Czechoslovakia. Today, we live in a divided world. But we have one culture, one history, one language and so much more in common. The co-production between the two countries allowed us to rope in the best acting talents, and attract investors from both sides.”
‘Hostage’ tells a story of two worlds. One surrounded by global conflict, in which the elders live, and another with children who co-exist in their own neighborhood characterized by love and war. Urban says any family around the world that is torn apart by war would relate to his plot. “A child longs to be united with his parents, and as this dreams turns into reality, he realizes he now cannot meet his grandparents who are on the other side of the border. In life, we strive so hard to achieve something, but in the process we lose something else as dear to us as the goal we were chasing,”
Europe is still embroiled in instability caused by insurgencies, war and an unprecedented wave of migrations. 64-year-old Urban believes it will be huge challenge for Europe to keep its member countries united through the crisis. “Enough has been lost in war over the years – families divided, cultures destroyed, identities lost. We cannot afford another one. Peter and I set out to writing this script in the hope that the rulers of the world may somehow open their hearts, and stop playing games with humanity. We were tired of seeing people suffer due to war. In a way this was Peter’s last contribution to change the world,” says an emotional Urban.
Peter Pistanek passed away in March 2015 at the age of 55. Urban says he has to move on because loss is an evitable part of being together. Urban is now enjoying the realization of a youthful dream of coming to Goa. “You won’t believe this but I had always heard of Goa as a place for its beautiful beaches and peaceful people, but I had never thought of receiving such celebrity reception. It’s been terrific, the beaches, the food, everything. I love India and if I ever make an Indo-Slovakian production, it would be on the two countries – that even though we are miles apart, we have the same cultural heritage and that no religion or physical borders can divide people,” he says.
Urban says. “we need more culture and heritage movies, as our existence is rooted in our history. People are beginning to accept complicated human stories which are different from the upbeat artificial stereotypical personalities portrayed in commercial cinema and that is a good sign for the future of world cinema.”