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ZORAN (30) is a chronically tired “ninja”, a worker in the reality show “Big Brother”, whose job mainly consists of wearing ninja costumes and entering Big Brother’s house, while the people inside are sleeping, to fill their refrigerator and set the scenery. A part from that, his job is to watch people, during the night, while they are asleep and keep track of all the things that are (not) happening. Zoran gets a phone call from his father, with whom he isn’t close. Father tells him he has cancer. During the process of trying to help his father and going through different stages of his illness, Zoran is faced with the closeness of death. His loneliness is building sexual frustration inside him, and the need for love and intimacy.


At the end of a long and successful career path, just before her retirement, school secretary MIRELA (63) is surprised by the news that she has been nominated for the “Secretary of the Year” prize. The prize is awarded during the annual seminar and training session for school secretaries and accountants. This event is held in the off-season, this time in the small Croatian coastal town of Karlobag, and Mirela can’t wait for the competition to show herself and everyone else that her life has meaning after all, even though she despises the atmosphere at these events.

She is cheeky and perky by nature, and she lives for her role of the go-to person for everyone around her. She is an expert when it comes to new laws and regulations, so she is often the saviour of her colleagues from other schools.

Guarding her side no matter what is her husband EMIL (66), a retired accountant who sees this award as Mirela’s chance to shine as well. Because he is retired, he will not be at the seminars, but will be Mirela’s right hand and number one supporter.

Mirela worries too much in general, and she tends to daydream and get lost in her thoughts. These daydreams are always reflecting her fears. When she arrives at Karlobag for the seminar, she feels a little lost. The other candidates have a solid background and various groups of people to support them and this is the first time Emil isn’t around. The senior-field- trip atmosphere at the event is not to Mirela’s taste at all. Soon it becomes clear that the young secretary JASMINA (26) is the most likely prize winner this year. She asks clever questions at the seminars, she understands the laws and regulations, and it almost seems like she was born with a law book in her hands. Mirela is at first angry, as it seems that her young colleague only needed a few years to reach Mirela’s level. Still, it seems that Jasmina is somewhat insecure. She feels dislocated in this off-season mess, just like Mirela. Along with their love for a nice floral pattern, their dedication to learning, and disagreements with accountants, Mirela begins to notice that there are actually many things they have in common.

In the hustle and bustle of the dinner buffet and to-go plastic containers, nominee photoshoots, seminars, and an array of wellness options, Mirela feels insecure. Her roommate, accountant Vera, feels bad for Mirela and decides to share a piece of information with her that she had so far kept secret – she herself received the prize years ago, and she reveals to Mirela that the prize is actually given out completely arbitrarily. The judges can’t possibly get a grasp of the work the nominees do each year in order to choose a winner based on their merit. Vera claims that she was a good choice because it had been long since someone living east of the capital, in Slavonia, an economically less fortunate part of Croatia, had gotten the prize. The competition is actually fake, as the judges give the chosen nominee the answers to all the questions. Mirela is shocked by this revelation and her whole world collapses. All the trouble she went through to advance her career will remain unnoticed, and her life will have been completely ordinary and wasted. She sees herself in a different light now, through the eyes of all the others – how naively ambitious she is and how she is using up so much energy for nothing.

After a wild night of partying, Mirela is hungover. She joins the others for a daytrip to the nearby island of Pag. Even though her reality was shattered, and she is hangover, she feels surprisingly well and relaxed on the way there with the boat. She finds a new friend in Vera. She phones Emil and tells him she dreamt of him and that it was super romantic how he surprised her with a breakfast in bed in her dream. She separates from the group as they arrive at Pag. She joins another group headed for an olive garden to go olive picking. Even though she is still a bit nauseous and feels rather weak, the beautiful nature all around her calms her down. She finds a special kind of peace under a big old olive tree, looking at the island of LosĚŚinj from the shade. There she meets an older local who flirts with her with his shabby pick-up lines which were probably last time in use in the seventies, when he was a young man trying to pick up some German or Czech tourist. She is flattered and he seems harmless so she just enjoys the moment and gives herself some freedom to take pleasure in his compliments that are far from truth. She is embracing the moment and it is liberating for her.

Having returned to the boat, all the secretaries and accountants continue with their unbrideld behaviour. Mirela closes her eyes and is transferred back to the magical olive garden in her thoughts. Her daydreams no longer reflect her fears and anxiety. In stead, they take her to a place of calm. At dinner, she is surprised to see people from the Ministry looking at her. Soon, it becomes clear why they were doing that. The organizer of the event arrives at her room and explains how the journal “Croatian Secretary”, which is the main sponsor of the event, has been in some financial trouble for some time now. They urgently need new collaborators who would do some volunteer work for the journal. Since she is retiring soon, she seems like an ideal candidate for the position. To push her a bit in the right direction, he hands her the questions and answers for tomorrow’s competition. Mirela is shocked. It is all in her hands now. She is nervous as she doesn’t know what to do with the envelope. Finally, she decides to give the envelope with the answers to Jasmina and tries to push the envelope beneath her door but at that moment, people who are partying door to door come to the floor and Mirela runs away. She lays down in her bed alone squeezing the envelope tightly as she goes to sleep.

Emil wakes her up with a breakfast in bed. Mirela isn’t sure if she is dreaming or not. It turns out that Emil came to see her compete, he couldn’t resist. He says that he got rid of the envelope with the questions which he found by her bedside for her not to worry too much before the competition. Mirela is in shock but doesn’t say a word about the real nature of the envelope, she sees that this is for the best.

The competition is held, and all around are flashy dresses and fancy hairstyles. The organizer holds a grand welcome speech, the competition starts, and Mirela closes her eyes, only to find herself once again in the olive garden. The sound of the competition continues but Mirela is at her calm place – beneath the olive tree, looking at island of Lošinj. By her side are Emil and a local who tried to seduce her. She is ready to start the competition.


Thinking about my generation, I couldn\’t help but notice the presence of overall dissatisfaction, disappointment, and the feeling that we deserve much more than we have got. So does feel our main character, Zoran. That \”generational\” despondency completely shatters upon crucial life challenges, such as illness. Only just then we begin to really appreciate life and perceive our position in it a bit differently – we become more grateful, more aware of the world around us, less egocentric, and self-pitiful.

I see this film as vibrant and full of spirit even though it is about loneliness, illness and death. Despite of examining \”serious\” subjects, our film has to be teeming with life and its beauty, with a pinch of humor. In such a way the story gains profundity and three-dimensionality and we can become aware of the value of life we are losing, the life which flows and slowly disappears.

In terms of genre, the film is an existentialist drama mixed with comic elements and absurdity. It will be based on constant conflict between burden and darkness and cheerfulness and humor. These two principles colliding all the time bring liveliness and complexity which are of most importance for our film.

Producer: Marija Stojanovic (Sense Production, SERBIA)
Co-Producer: Adriatic Western (MONTENEGRO)
Funding: Film Center Serbia Production Support, Film Center of Montenegro Production Support

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