First Films First




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.


After the death of her father, an idealistic patriarch of their secluded home in wilderness, Seka, a principled forty-year-old woman, realizes that the rest of her family doesn\’t think that their home must remain as isolated from the people as before. The relations get tense when her mother Eva (60) decides to reveal to her a long-kept family secret. Almost half a century ago, during their city life, Seka\’s father, an activist and a participant of 1968 protests, had killed a man. It happened one evening in the park. The man was beating his dog. Sober-minded Eva decided afterwards it was the right moment for them to do something they\’ve dreamt about for a long time – to move away from the city to the wilderness and to live off the land.

Seka realizes that the world she believed in was not based on the idea of freedom, but on the escape. Her world is threatened and she puts down the rifle she was ready to use in order to protect her home just a moment ago. Her attempts to connect with people for the first time in her life are fettered by fear, deeply rooted distrust and years of father’s lectures about greedy and selfish outside world. There is only one seemingly successful result of Seka\’s opening to the world: a contact with one-armed Contractor, who is one of the workers on the road construction site nearby. The tension between the two worlds grows bigger as the big celebration of the new road begins, bringing a lot of visitors to their area.

While Seka is looking for her lost nieces, she has a first romantic contact with the Constructor. The culmination comes with the daybreak, as Seka\’s beloved niece is hit by dynamite detonation used for illegal fishing while diving in the lake. Angry Seka takes the rifle in her hands once again, she goes after the responsible – only to discover that it is actually – one armed contractor. Seka pulls the trigger, repeating her father’s deed and shooting the first person she ever trusted outside of their utopia. She decides to leave the only home she has ever known. 


There is a saying that “home” is not a place we make, but always a place that our parents build for us. So is freedom also ours if it is inherited or we have to fight for it ourselves to actually be free?

I want to make a film about female characters that are growing out of the patterns created by their father and husbands. A battle between nature and civilization is an outside re-presentation of Seka’s inner conflict.

Though dealing with a serious subject, the atmosphere of the film will tend to be very light. The mise-en-scène and acting performance will reflect the easiness of the life in nature. Long shots, close-by soundscapes, the joy of sun and water, slightly annoying sound of insects, characters throwing lines at each other while still looking at the sun. Only when the party day comes we’ll find the disturbance in these routines. The characters will become edgier, contrast with shadows stronger, camera and editing more active and dynamic.

Our writer Aleksandra’s dialog is witty, fast and funny, delivered with the “only for the family” pack of irony. They do love each other but they also live out of picking each other’s guts every day.

The directorial question that I wish to raise with this picture is: Is there a freedom that doesn’t affect someone else’s freedom? Can we be free without hurting the ones we love? By guiding subtle reactions of the family I will try to construct the atmosphere that every wish for change of patterns or simply happiness- activates anxiety, fear and passive aggression in others, not because of the lack of love in the family, on the contrary- because those wishes were not what we held to be the best for the ones we love so much.

For the long version of director\’s statement, click here.

Writer: Aleksandra Uzelac
Producer: Miloš Ivanović (Platforma)
Co-production markets: Best Pitch Award, FEST Forward 2018 (Belgrade FEST)

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