natalia borodin

Natalia Borodin, screenwriter

Born in Bratislava (Czechoslovakia, now Slovakia) | Dual French and American citizenship | Studied screenwriting and dramaturgy under Milan Kundera at the Prague Academy of Arts Film School (FAMU), continued her studies at the Sorbonne University in Paris from which she graduated with distinction with her doctoral thesis "Is Screen Adaptation of Proust's In Search of Lost Time Possible?" | She was an assistant to filmmakers Robbe-Grillet, Grigori Kozincev and René Laloux. As screenwriter she collaborated with filmmakers Juraj Jakubisko, Dusan Hanak, Jaromil Jires, Jean-Jacques Andrien, Walerian Borowczyk, and Pierre Beuchot. | Screenplays for documentaries on the tennis player Martina Navratilova, Visconti's screenwriter Suso Cecchi d'Amico, and the organist Susan Landale; and for a television program on Marcel Proust (for the television channel ARTE). Treatment for a television film BERLIN, FOREVER (2014, producer Denis Friedman); treatment for a feature inspired by the life of Emil Zatopek, ODYSSEY OF A HAPPY MAN (2015). Television adaptations of the novels by Mario Benedetti, Henry James, Italo Svevo, Dominik Tatarka, Balzac, Stendhal, and of the short stories by Vasil Suksin; feature film scripts MIDNIGHT OF THE YEAR (about the painter Maria Bashkirtseff), TICHA RADOST (theme and first version), directed by Dusan Hanak (the film was distributed in the UK and USA under the title QUIET JOY), CORTO MALTESE, LA COUR SECRETE DES ARCANES (an animated feature-length film adaptation of Hugo Pratt's graphic novel, directed by Pascal Morelli), and PATRIA MIA, on the motifs of Jiri Mucha's autobiographical novel Strange Loves (the screenplay was awarded a stipend and prize of the BEAUMARCHAIS Foundation).


The story of PATRIA MIA (with the title reflecting both the tragic and the ironic) takes place during 1936-1940 in Czechoslovakia and France, with the last sequences taking place in Portugal. It is inspired by Jiri Mucha's autobiographical novel Podivne lasky (Strange Loves).

The screenplay's main characters are the composer and conductor Vitezslava Kapralova (1915-1940), the composer Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) and the journalist and writer Jiri Mucha (1915-1991). The fourth main "character" is music: the music by Martinu and Kapralova in particular but also the popular music of the period, swing and jazz (Bunny Berigan and Stéphane Grappelli).

The genre: bitter comedy. These are stories of individuals who find themselves involuntary exiles at the eve of the Second World War. Despite the tragedy of both the human lives and the historical period, the film shall also capture the grotesqueness of the period and these human fates; it is both the melancholy and at times rather brutal comedy.

Sound: Sound in this film is particularly important: Kapralova and Martinu are composers and therefore perceive sound more intensely, compared to "non-musicians." | Cinematography: the camera should capture human body in a variety of original and interesting ways, for the thirties was an era of a pronounced cult of human body.

Although archival footage is a part of several sequences, the screenplay tends to reflect the historical events of the period through personal scenes or "incidents" that can express the period atmosphere in a subjective and thus more intense (and more effective) way: uncertainty, anxious anticipation, fear, carelessness, brutality.

The screenplay (originally written in French) received a stipend and prize of the BEAUMARCHAIS Foundation that also generously supported its recent translation into English.

Photo : Karel Steiner