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SRBENKA

by Nebojša Slijepčević

synopsis

During the winter of 1991, Croatia defended itself against the military aggression of neighbouring Serbia. Among the innocent victims of this conflict was Aleksandra Zec, a teenager of Serbian origin, who was hatefully lynched in Zagreb. A generation later, while in Croatian schools, Serbian pupils continue to be taken for the “enemies” of yesterday, Oliver Frljić adapts “the Zec affair” at the theatre, with Nina, a Serbian, born in 2001, in the title role. In front of Nebojša Slijepčević’s camera, the troupe’s rehearsals turn into collective psychotherapy, interspersed by shots of an empty stage haunted by personal accounts that build up in voiceover. Through skilful metatheatre that involves both the troupe’s acting and sense of self as they work on their own memories, distanced by the theatrical device, Srbenka delineates a public space likely to break the cycle of vengeance. Slijepčević’s film also constitutes a powerful reflection on one of the possible functions of art: to dry out, metre by metre, the cesspool of hatred fed by the entrepreneurs of ethnic cleansing who continue to act today.

original title: Srbenka
country: Croatia
year: 2018
genre: documentary
directed by: Nebojša Slijepčević
film run: 72'
screenplay: Nebojša Slijepčević
cinematography by: Nebojša Slijepčević
film editing: Tomislav Stojanovic
producer: Vanja Jambrović
production: Restart