Young actor Marija Bergam found herself in the spotlight thanks to the series “Senke nad Balkanom”, because of her talent, beauty, attitude… But her professional history began far before the series that marked a new stage in her career.
Marija Bergam first stood in front of cameras when she was 15, in the film “Klopka” (“The Trap”) by Srdan Golubović. By her own admission, she fell in love even before, as she watched the plays in Belgrade’s theatres, after which she decided to make acting her life’s calling. The series “Senke nad Balkanom” (“Shadows over the Balkans”) gave her career a new twist.
How much did “Senke nad Balkanom” change the course of your career?
I still don’t have a precise answer to that question. Time will tell. It seems to me that this project was a beautiful turning point in my life and that it will launch me into the regional acting market in the best possible way. This, again, doesn’t have to mean anything and it doesn’t have to lead to anything, but I am ecstatic and immensely grateful to Dragan Bjelogrlić for casting me in such a marvellous and demanding role.
This project by Dragan Bjelogrlić is ambitious, serious and represents a whole new ballgame compared to our national series production before it. What is the greatest challenge for you in the series “Senke nad Balkanom”?
I don’t know if it is the complexity of the role itself, or the major burden of responsibility that comes with the high expectations placed on me, or perhaps the harsh working conditions (long, exhausting filming days in the cold, there were days like that). I can’t tell which ranks first, as I remember all these difficulties very vaguely now. In my case, it all fades away very fast, leaving only good memories behind.
Your debut before the film cameras was in 2007, when you were fifteen. Was the film “Klopka” the reason you fell in love with acting?
I think I was eleven or twelve when we were filming “Klopka” by Srdan Golubović. However, the two days of filming left no particular impression on me, that would have lead me to consider this profession. Back then, I dreamed of being a professional dancer – I had graduated from primary and enrolled into secondary ballet school. Acting only inspired me four-five years later, when I started frequenting Belgrade’s theatres. If you must know what it was that made my mind up, it was a graduation play by the students of FDU who played Koljada’s “Murlin Murlo” play. It was after that play that I resolved to go into the acting profession.
You were born in Kotor, but you have been living in Belgrade for years. What was it like, coming to this town for the first time?
I would be lying if I said I remembered it, since I know I’ve been a regular visitor in Belgrade since I was a year old. But when I started primary school and started spending most of the year in Belgrade, I remember it seemed grey, dirty and ugly and that I couldn’t wait for the summer holidays to go to Montenegro. That is the first impression I remember. However, since then, Belgrade has become my favourite place to live.
What was your first impression? What do you like the most in Belgrade?
I’ve seen quite a few European cities. It would be unjust if we compared our Belgrade – whose tumultuous history we all know well, with the shiny, impeccable, gorgeous, ordered cities like Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Paris and on… But after all that happened, wasn’t it inevitable that Belgrade would keep some of that spirit, that loves and fights for freedom? I see Belgrade as a warm and safe city. That’s what it was for me. Step by step, led by diverse events and people, I got to know Belgrade, neighbourhood by neighbourhood. Now that I am used to it and spoiled by living in Belgrade, where everything is familiar, where I have my little rituals and where my family and best friends live, it is very difficult for me to live anywhere else – because, even if the other city is prettier or better organized or whatever else… it is cold to me, too large, too distant.
In addition to films and series, you also play in theatres. What’s your take on that side of acting?
An actor’s play is an actor’s play. The means used in films and theatre may be different, but I think there is no substantial difference between the two. All things considered, I spent more time on stage than in front of cameras. I love to work in a theatre and look forward to it. What I like best about it is the fact that it often uses classic literature. That is so rare in films, in our country.
What play do you find the most precious in your career, so far?
Each show was precious to me for one reason or another; even failed roles in poor plays are often precious, as you learn from these experiences. I am so happy that my first professional play was “Zli dusi” (“Evil Spirits”) by Dostoyevsky, which was a beautiful process that encouraged me to continue creating my art, as an actor, in the theatre. After that role came many beautiful roles and they all have significance for me, so I wouldn’t want to single any of them out.
We are expecting the Belgrade premiere of the film “Nigde” (“Nowhere”) by Predrag Velinović, where you are cast as the lead female character. What is it about?
That’s right. The film, “Nigde”, will be shown at the Author’s Film Festival in Belgrade this autumn; Nebojša Milovanović, Miša Samolov and I play the lead characters. It is a love drama that deals with the subject of people leaving Serbia, trying to find their luck abroad. Instead of finding happiness, our protagonists lose what little they took with them from their homeland – true friendship and love. The screenplay was inspired by true events. The film is different, it has the weight of a documentary and I think the fans of authors’ films will find it very interesting.
By: Anica Vasić