The poster for the film “Cirkus Columbia” in which I play the lead opposite the actor Miki Manojlovic, features the two of us sitting on a merry -go-round. The image is from the last scene in the movie where the estranged couple finally reunites against the background of the approaching war. It’s a moving, surprising end of this couple’s turbulent and hostile relationship and, also, a sadly optimistic ending of the movie. Two middle aged people sitting on a merry-go-round, finding lost love in the middle of turmoil around them, is the fitting image of the benevolent spirit of this movie. I was happily surprised and touched by Danis’ decision to use that particular image to represent his movie to the world.
The movie played all over the world, making rounds at numerous film festivals and playing in cinemas across Europe. When it opened in New York, the American distribution company sent out the information about the movie, accompanied by the poster. Then the movie came to Los Angeles. And the poster was suddenly different. It featured the young actress from the movie, Jelena Stupljanin, who plays the young new trophy wife of the lead character. Not only was the poster changed. In the short narrative describing the plot of the movie, the whole love story of the “old” couple was never even mentioned. Naturally, there was no room either for the lead female character or the actress who played the role.
I had to laugh.
Everywhere but in Los Angeles there was room for an “older” romance. Everywhere but in Los Angeles middle aged or – by LA standards – old people were allowed to exist. But in Los Angeles they had to be expelled. And both the leading female character and the leading actress had to be erased.
When does a woman become invisible? When exactly is she asked to disappear ? There is an almost audible gasp of disappointment when an “older” actress steps into the audition room in LA. The actress is made to feel as if she needs to apologize for her age, to apologize for even existing, to apologize for still expecting something, especially a part. ” Why are you wasting our time? What the fuck do you still want? How dare you stick around?” Those are the unspoken sentences that you feel surround you while you try to “stay calm and carry on”, in the words of old Churchill.
When you do get a job, you’re treated as if this was a huge favor to you for which you should be eternally grateful. You’re made to feel obsolete, unnecessary and replaceable. You’re made to feel unwanted, unloved and unappreciated. Most of the time, you’re just simply ignored. They don’t see you. You’re of no interest. Nobody cares and nobody gives a shit. You might as well be dead.
So what is it? Fear? Fear of what? Fear of aging? Ultimately, fear of death? Women are not allowed to become old because they remind men that they are becoming old too. If men surround themselves with young women, it makes them feel as if they were young too. Is that it? Somebody once said that men are afraid of older women because they remind them of their mothers. What does that mean? That with older women they feel like helpless little boys which annoys them because they want to feel strong and mighty and powerful? What is this all about?
Maybe it’s all much simpler than one wants to think. Maybe it’s all about sex. Nothing more, nothing less. When sexual interest, however veiled and hidden, is gone, there’s nothing left. Nothing at all.
Poor women. But, more than that, poor, oh poor men. If that’s the only content in men’s heads, than the world is truly fucked. For both, women AND men.
So, you pretty young girls in search of older rich men, keep on doing what you’re doing. I’m on your side. Rip them off mercilessly. It’s just what they deserve.