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FESTIVALS Austria

Arsenijevic’s Love and Other Crimes wins Audience Award at Linz

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After winning a Golden Bear at Berlinale 2002 and being nominated for Oscar for the Best Short Film (A)torsion, Belgrade-born director Stefan Arsenijevic suddenly became famous in European art film circles. His first feature, Love & Other Crimes [+see also:
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, co-written with Nikola Koljevic and Srdjan Koljevic was completed in 2007.

The film was co-produced by Belgrade-based Art & Popcorn, Germany’s Coin Films, Austria’s Amor Fou and Slovenia’s Arcadena and supported by 14 film funds, including Eurimages, the Serbian Ministry of Culture and Nordrhein - Westfalen Filmstiftung, for an overall budget of €1.4m.

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The film premiered in Berlinale’s Panorama section (see article) and subsequently won the Best Director awards at Wiesbaden and Sofia and the Audience Award at Linz.

The romance drama set in New Belgrade tenement blocks revolves around Anica (Anica Dobra), the mistress of the local mob boss Milutin (Fedja Stojanovic) and one of his henchmen, Stanislav (Vuk Kostic). Anica is dissatisfied with her life which seems to be going nowhere at her age of 36 and decides to run away from Milutin and desperate situation in Serbia. But 15 years younger Stanislav confesses his long-lasting love to her, which changes a lot of things.

Arsenijevic decided to leave an open ending, which could be both happy and sad. The audiences responded very well to this, as well as the post- film noir style mixed with enough humour to make it a crowd-pleasing film.

“It’s a story about, people and their relationships and emigration,” says Arsenijevic. “If I emigrated, what I would miss most would be the people. I tried to use the retro-futuristic setting of New Belgrade where I grew up to bring out the love aspect of the story by contrasting it to the greyness of the city.”

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