MAYBE FISH DREAM ABOUT US (Serbia)
Ognjen Isailović graduated in Film and TV Directing at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade with omnibus film October. The film won a Special Jury Award at Cinema City film festival in Novi Sad. His short film Golden League participated at more than twenty international film festivals, and among other awards, won the Bronze Egg prize at the Kustendorf Film Festival. In 2011 he participated in the residence programme “5X5X5” in Switzerland organized by the Zurich Film Academy (ZHdK) and production company Lang Film, where he directed the short documentary My Grandpa’s Garden, which premiered at the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, Switzerland\’s most important short film festival. He took part in various training programmes, including Sarajevo Talent Campus in 2009, programme for young talents Jeune Creation in Biarritz 2011, programme Balkan Film Connection in 2014, and the Scriptwriting Workshop for New Talents Eastweek at the Trieste Film Festival in 2015. Since graduation, he has worked as director and assistant director on films, theatre, TV shows and commercials. He is currently preparing the shooting of his MA film Co-drivers, supported by Film Centre of Serbia, and working on his first feature Maybe Fish Are Dreaming of Us.
Although I made a small digest by putting two films by some directors, and a series by Kieslowski, I still didn’t have enough space to put all my favourite auteurs like Dušan Makavejev, Srđan Karanović, Slobodan Šijan, Charlie Kaufman, Mike Leigh, Cristian Mungiu, Ken Louch, Louis Malle, Tsai Ming-liang…
Recently he finished the short film Co-Drivers supported by Film Centre of Serbia, and working on his first feature Maybe Fish Dream About Us.
It is a really hot summer in Belgrade and most of the people have gone to their vacations. LUKA is in his early twenties and his young girlfriend MAJA is pregnant. Their parents are imposing on them a life that a couple should have: they are buying an apartment for them and organising a wedding. Everything seems to be as it should be, but they are not sure this is what they really want.
Meanwhile, Luka works as an intern in a correctional institution for minor delinquents. One hot night Luka sees his protégé AKAN (15, an introverted but very inteligent boy) sneaking out of the institution and he decides to follow him. Luka discovers that every night Akan goes to a rich neighbourhood, breaking and entering into luxurious villas of wealthy owners. He swims in their pools and enjoys their houses while they are sleeping. These people are sort of a family for a night to him, even though they are not aware of his presence. But before sun rises, he goes back to the institution.
Luka is fascinated with what he has seen the previous night. In Akan he recognizes a guide for the way out of his situation. Driven by this magical experience, Luka persuades Maja to go with him for the adventure – he finds an empty villa and together they start a new life during the night.
After some time, they discover that Akan has already been in the house for a few days, observing them. They include him in their life and continue living together in the empty house, forming an unusual family. Over these several nights they spend with Akan, they get the life without any restrictions and experience freedom.
They are getting closer and closer to each other, but Akan then suddenly leaves. They realise he has left because he got too attached to them. Luka and Maja don\’t have a guide anymore and they don’t know what to do with their freedom. They decide to go back to their parents\’. It seems like they have returned to their previous lives, at least until the night falls.
I am simultaneously frightened of families and I love them, because they limit your freedom but also give you a possibility to be close to a group of people, to belong. With this film I want to explore what actually a family is and what family can be, to see if closeness between people can go together with personal freedom.
Without any intention to speak directly about the long economical crisis that is alienating people and creating bigger and bigger gaps between them, this film wants to explore it in a more intimate way, by showing a need for togetherness and unity through the life of this very special „family” that lasted for a few hot summer nights in Belgrade.
During daytime the lives of my characters are boring and they do what their parents or society think they should, but night is the time when they have an opportunity to experience freedom and see what they really want. That’s why the style of the film will be different during the daytime, with bleached images due to the fierce summer heat, combined with intense use of close-ups; and during the night, where I will tend to create more of a dreamy and hypnotic atmosphere, with wider shots and elegant and free camera movements that will follow their adventures in other people’s houses and swimming pools.
MY FAVOURITE FILMS
- The Mirror + Andrei Rublev – Andrey Tarkovsky
- Through the Olive Trees + The Taste of Cherry – Abbas Kiarostami
- Fanny and Alexander + Persona – Ingmar Bergman
- Once Upon a Time in Anatolia – Nuri Bilge Ceylan
- Mulholland Dr. + Blue Velvet – David Lynch
- A Serious Man + Inside Llewyn Davis – Coen Brothers
- Dekalog – Krzystof Kieslowski
- La Dolce Vita – Federico Fellini
- Time of the Gypsies – Emir Kusturica
- The Conversation – F.F. Coppola