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Jelena Zigon – A Serbian Actress

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Written by   209
1 year ago

An interview dating back to 2012.

If you google name Jelena Zigon, a lot of web pages and photos of this famous actrees will appear on the screen. Famous ''goody Jelena'' from the movies ''Zika's dynasty'' is also known as a wife of famous actor Stevo Zigon and as a mother of famous actrees Ivana Zigon.

That icy winter day, I went down the steep streets of the old Belgrade-end covered with snow, surrounded by a row of similar, old, pre-war, family homes. Wrapped in my red coat, with a hat and a warm scarf, carrying my laptop, I knocked on the old front door of Jelena's house and she opened them smiling. She led me into a room with a high ceiling and old wooden window and turned on the light at the sumptuous antique chandelier with a lot of light bulbs. All the walls were filled with lots of pictures. The colors in the pictures spilled from one to another, from dark green to black and the dark blue to brown. That images made a room look darker than it was. Except paintings, the room was filled with icons, crowds of books on the shelf and sculptures. On one wall, above the massive old mirror, portraits of Jelena's ancestors, Montenegrin officers and women in wedding dresses and vintage costumes were hung and looked like drawings. Dozens of photo frames of different sizes and shapes stood on the commode below filled with black and white images from the past and the images of her grandchildren. With coffee in small porcelain cup, I listened carefully Jelena's striking voice as she told me about her life. In the middle of the interview, a black cat walked into the room and streched himself lazily, watching us.

When we look famous people on TV or in the newspapers, we often wonder how much their lives are different from our own. But they also were children, playing, making mischief, growing up, falling in love and had no problems.

Jelena began to recall those times in the first half of the 20th century. She was born in November 1933. in Belgrade family. Her father was a banker and her mother had completed studies of history of art in Paris. She had older and younger sister. Her name, Jelena is related to the origin of Jelena's mother Vjera, Montenegrin, in whose family in each generation there was one Jelena. Jelena grew up in a family house in Senjak. After World War II, in 1945, two families moved into Jelena's house, and they remained there for more than 10 years. The yard was full of plants, with three fruit trees behind the house, and concrete fence covered with pink roses. She liked most the entrance of the yard with twelve steps, where the sisters usually sit, jumped and talked. Jelena said that pink roses and lime scent in June in Senjak remind her on her childhood. Tunes that she has remained in the memory is the song ''Hvalila se zuta dunja pokraj mora'', which she sang with her sister at events. At that time, neighbors were like family, the sisters ran to their mom, when she would go to drink a coffee in the neighborhood, and they were most attracted by a Russian family, whose member was a little girl Ala. With them they learned the Russian language and Russian games. She esspecially loved her grandfather who was famous Montenegrin retired general, initiator of Balkan wars, and he narrated to her about his battles. Her father could not accept her being an actrees. At school, there were labor actions after the war, and that work with friends was time full of fun. The sisters were conducted in the summer of Kotor Bay, in Dobrota.

Jelena is a question about a favorite cousin immediately branded as a very important issue for her. Jelena's uncle, Djuro Radonjic, the famous painter, led the girls every week to walk into the forest and told them about old legends or great literary works. He then asked them to draw it all when they get home - personality, castles, and people. Thanks to him, sisters committed to art. Aged 16, she enrolled in the Academy for Theatre and Film. Entering college had a rather large impact on Jelena's maturation, interrupted her childhood and her sport carrier . Jelena trained in athletics club Red Star Belgrade. At that time, in the 60's, when the Jelena started to get involved in acting, actors were popular as singers now. Jelena says she does not remember the first time she was recognized on the street. First, she worked as a model in Paris. In 1961, the first fashion show in Serbia was held in the Belgrade Fair. Jelena acted in over 50 films. ‘’Crazy years’’ made her famous, but she likes her less famous films best. Jelena remembers when she fell in love with the doctor, because of whom she ate tons of ice cream to make her throat hurt, so she could go to see him each week. Her first true love was Stevo, an assistant at the Academy. At the beginning they hid their love as a student and the assistant, but later they decided to reveal their relationship. She fell in love with him when he played Hemon in '' Antigone'', even though she had known him before that.

Most embarrassing situation in her life as she remembers was shooting in Australia. At the break, Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Wran came riding on a horse. Reporters who were there shouted to Jelena: '' Look at Wran!''. But, she thought the horse was called Wran and she started to cuddle the horse and Mr. Wran said smiling: ‘’Young lady, I’m Wran.’’ Jelena, although pensioner, still lives dynamically, and the family, friends, performances, make her day completely filled and now it seems more filled than ever, because she is slower. Nowadays, she likes to read and speak poetry. So, she says she doesn’t feel retired at all.

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Written by   209
1 year ago
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Comments

First and only time I went to the zoo was during my childhood. Hoping to have such experience once more. I'd like to see the Asian elephant and some flamingos.

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3 months ago

Thank you very much! I am happy that you liked the article. Jelena Zigon was underestimated indeed. She was such an artist! Have you seen her in ''Zikina Dinastija''?

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1 year ago

I am very new here, but I really liked your article. I heard here (eastern europe) about Jelena Zigon . She was a great actress

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1 year ago