Belarusian national film studio Belarusfilm has signed a coproduction agreement with French studio Cinema Soleil for a feature film to be directed by Emir Kusturica. The film, entitled If not Now, When?, will be based on the 1982 novel by Italian Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi.
Levi’s book follows a group of Jewish partisans in Belarus on a journey through war-ravaged Europe to Italy. Kusturica’s screen version is expected to employ mostly Belarusian actors, TASS reports. Kusturica, best known for his romantic comedy Black Cat, White Cat, has noted that he cannot begin working on the film earlier than 2017 as he is currently finishing another title, On the Milky Road starring Monica Bellucci which he hopes to present at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
Serbian director Kusturica is popular in Belarus where he frequently appears at local film festivals. In 2010 president Aleksandr Lukashenko presented Kusturica with a personal award for “maintaining and developing spiritual traditions in film”.