Producer: Miljan Vučelić, Bitter Frames Poduction
Co-producers: Biberche production (Serbia), MaXima film (Croatia)
Total Budget: 615.000 EUR
Funding: Film Centre of Montenegro – script development and project development support.
Training and markets: MIDPOINT Feature Launch 2021
Branislav Milatovic was born in 1985 in Podgorica. He graduated from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Cetinje, Department of Film and TV Direction. His shorts All of That (2012) and A Head Full of Joy (2018) have been screened at over 50 film festivals around the world (Sarajevo Film Festival, Krakow Film Festival, Vilnius International Film Festival, Drama International Short Film Festival, Hamburg International Short Film Festival, etc.), where they won 5 awards. His film All of That has been screened on ShortsTV from London, and on the renowned Eurochannel as part of their Short Films Tour programme. His short documentary Obrad, supported at the Film Center of Montenegro’s contest for co-financing, had a premiere at Camerimage Film Festival 2020. He is currently developing his first feature film No Reverse, which was supported by Film Center of Montenegro in the categories of script development and project development. He is an alumni of the MIDPOINT Feature Launch 2021.
In his youth, while working as a truck driver transporting coffins across the former Yugoslavia for a funeral home from a small Montenegrin town, the 62-year-old Slavko lived through some of the most significant and most beautiful moments of his life. Now, thirty years after the Yugoslav civil war, he still works for the same business. Facing a deadly disease, he decides to embark on a trip one more time, a journey that should reveal to him if anything – including himself – changed over the years. On that journey, he is accompanied by Petar, his new neighbor with an unusual personality, and an even more unusual past. Slavko travels to rediscover his memories and settle accounts; this trip is his “farewell tour”. However, the journey doesn’t quite unfold as he imagined, as new truths come to light and Slavko unexpectedly opens new opportunities for his unlikely friend Petar.
Man, regardless of who he is and whatever troubles he is in, can’t live alone, and so he strives to make friends with other human beings. Despite their many drawbacks, interpersonal relations are the key factor that makes life bearable. This message of philanthropy and acceptance seems to be even more important in times like ours, when we are strictly required to keep our distance, to isolate, and maintain unreasonably high standards set before each individual. The nature of the main protagonists, Slavko and Petar, and the situation in which they find themselves, indicate that this film will be based primarily on their relations and friendship. And friendship is, I would say, the most “human” of all possible forms of intimacy; still, as a theme, it is often rather neglected on the film. Therefore, this narrative flow gives me an opportunity to deepen the dramatic and thematic framework of this story. There I find the most inspiring space for building and balancing their relationship, as the journey itself opens the possibility for these alleged strict boundaries of their characters to expose their true nature. In that sense, the character-building relies on the premise derived from archetypal examples from the world literature: Don Quixote / Sancho Panza, Vladimir / Estragon, King Lear / Lear’s Fool, which will serve as a starting point for portraying these two protagonists, and the balancing in the collision of their natures and motives will help to problematize their relationship in the best possible way by while walking on a thin line where these two entities merge at certain moments of the journey. In that dichotomy between Slavko and Petar, I see the most interesting and exciting space for building and nuancing the conceptual landscape of the film.