NOTHING WILL BE NAMED AFTER ME
Producer: Miljan Vučelić (Bitter Frames Production, Montenegro)
Co-producers: Nikolina Vučetić Zečević (Biberche productions, Serbia), Aleš Pavlin (PERFO, Slovenia) and Damir Terešak (MaXima Film, Croatia)
Budget: 956.000,00 EUR
Funding: Script development support, Film Center of Montenegro, FEST Forward: Award for development.
He graduated in Italy from the Roma University Tre, in the Department of Film and Dramatic Arts. During his studies, he completed a summer school on digital film at the New York Film Academy, where he participated in the realization of six short films. He has worked on a large number of films, series and commercials as an 1st AD and assistant director, such as the series Black sun and the award-winning feature film Stiches and the most watched domestic film in the last twenty years – Toma. In addition to working as an assistant director, he directed episodes of series produced by Dragan Bjelogrlić. Žigosani u reketu (Season 2) aired in the fall of 2019, he directed 11 episodes, while this fall will feature the Toma series, where he directed two episodes. His short film The Visit has been screened at several international festivals and won the Audience Award at the Brest International Film Festival, as well as the awards for best short film at the Balkans Beyond Border and SEEa Paris festivals.
Maksim, once the most powerful man in country, now recovers from the stroke and tries to return the power he lost during the recovery.
Maxim, the ruler from the shadows, the one where all politicians come for advice and help, celebrates the restoration of his country’s independence. It is the peak of his power after which everything can only get better. However, years later he is recovering from a stroke. He lives in his hotel on the coast from which he does not leave. Drowned in his illness and insecurity, his power was extinguished. He tries to put together a picture of his life, but his days pass in fragments.
His dominant old mother forces him to take on the role of protector of his young cousin Luka. Wanting to teach him the job and thus speed up his recovery from a stroke, Maxim tries to understand the new world from which he has been hiding. Control of the hotel’s secret affairs, mysterious guests hiding from all over the world, the new hotel management – all this is a challenge that does not allow him to sink. At the same time, a young singer Anastasia appears, who seems to seduce all hotel guests by her very existence. It becomes a kind of obsession for Maxim and restores his will to live, but also his desire to prove that he has not lost his power and significance.
In preparation for his 61st birthday, Maxim realizes loneliness and after a long time takes a step further to get out of his fortress. The consequences of that night confront him with deeply buried traumas of rejection and humiliation. Wanting not to be alone, he crosses the border and becomes a murderer. However, the spirits of his past do not calm down.
Although inspired by real people, Nothing Will Be Named After Me is a film about events that never happened. These events arise from my desire to face the world I grew up in and my attempt to explain its rules. These rules were created by only a few characters, and one of them is the main protagonist of the film – Maxim, the Balkan-Mediterranean Great Gatsby. Only this time we follow the story not from the perspective of someone who enters that world, but from the angle of Gatsby himself.
The contradiction of our Gatsby – Maxim, lies in the fact that at the beginning of the film we find him lonely and isolated from the rest of the world. He spends his recovery from a stroke in his fortress at sea, and to the people around him he acts like a person who has drowned in his illness. Maxim voluntarily gave up the role of a man who wonders about all the great events in the country. His physical isolation and mental state represent his shield from the reality he does not want to accept and the trauma from the past that he wants to forget. The traumas that hinder and limit him also give him the human trait that is necessary for the audience to connect with a character that is so extreme.
Maxim is awakened from lethargy by the arrival of youth in his life, which is embodied in the characters of Anastasia and Luke. Through them, Maxim discovers the need to find himself again in the world he has turned his back on, even though everyone sees him as the winner of the transition. His fragmented state of mind, and the passage of time that he himself had stopped counting, began to take shape. Maxim finds a new purpose for himself through the idea that his emotional opening to the generation growing up in a state that he identifies with himself will make him a better man. However, the young generation that grew up outside the borders of Maxim’s Fortress is not subject to the idea of idolatry. By the end of the film, Maxim is faced with the fact that all his efforts are a false attempt. Youth never plays by the rules imposed on them.
Maxim is a person who believes that his power comes from having information about other people. A stroke leaves him vulnerable and at the mercy of the people around him. Every night when he is left alone, he “punishes” himself by standing on the edge of the roof of his hotel, fantasizing about his death, which he will never carry out. His loneliness comes from emotional immaturity and a manipulative trait in which all the relationships he cultivates are essentially proving to himself that he is still an important figure. His weakness is the inability to separate authentic relationships from selfish ones. His punishment is that because of his vanity, he will destroy the only sincere relationship he has.
Powerful characters with a mysterious past, through whose life an image of a society is formed and its changes are followed, is something that is a feature of Italian cinema. During my studies in Rome, I analyzed in detail how a rich film language can be extracted from realism and made, which, although based on reality, can be lavish and dreamy. The directors who formed me and with whose poetics I developed certainly leave a mark in my debut film. The qualities of their films can be a good reference for my author team to better bring my intentions closer to them. Highly stylized social critique by Bernardo Bertolucci, macho men in existential crises by Paolo Sorrentino, psychologically nuanced criminal milieu by Martin Scorsese, people imprisoned in fortresses of their choice by Sofia Coppola – all together provide a good starting point for visually enhancing my project.
My intention is to shoot the film with anamorphic lenses, Cinemacope aspect ratio 2.39: 1. The possibilities offered by this format correspond in many ways to everything I explained above – the richness of the frame and the large number of supporting characters that can be dynamically attractively composed in the frame itself against the feeling of loneliness when the protagonist is alone in a large open space. The first act of the film, while Maxim is still hiding in the shell of his illness, is conceived in fragments and from his point of view without a clear flow of time. As the film progresses and he manages to regain his strength, the shots become longer and more complex, shot in longer mise-en-scène with a camera on “steadycam” that closely monitors everything that Maxim experiences and gives additional visual and energy stimulus to the film. The film will be full of pop songs from the period of socialist Yugoslavia, the time when Maksim grew up and slowly became what we see him now. In addition to the occasional counterpoint that these songs would provide, they primarily provide a deeper insight into his subconscious and past.
All the feelings of freedom, independence, enthusiasm that the audience will feel while watching this film are just part of the spectrum. Beneath all of this, the trauma comes from a melodrama that results in psychological horror. He and his environment did not know how to stop, and it remains for us to understand – how much does someone’s dream really cost?