Nebojsa Slijepcevic: Srbenka

I can only echo what Sarajevo FF documentary programmer Rada Sesic writes above about this film that has already won the DocAlliance Award, announced it was in Cannes: … brilliantly edited and through editing smartly directed…

Background for the film and the theatre play that is followed, taken from the production company’s website:

“In the winter of 1991. a 12-year old Serbian girl (Aleksandra Zec) was murdered in Zagreb. A quarter of century later director Oliver Frljić is working on a theatre play about the case. Rehearsals become a collective psychotherapy, and the 12-year old actress Nina feels as if the war had never ended.”

It’s done many times before, it’s difficult, it demands a clever director and editor, and an interesting theatre play director. Oliver Frljić is one, it is fascinating to follow how he works with the actors, how they involve their own experiences in a post-war Croatia, were nationalism is strong and where right-wing media objected to the play: When will Croatian kids (killed in the war) get a theatre play. Frljić is harassed and wants his actors to react to the criticism of the play in the media. They don’t because “then we’re giving them space, they don´t deserve”.

The film lives because of the excellent cinematography, the many close-ups of the 12 year old Nina, and because of the director and his emotions, and the many voice-offs are given beautiful space with images from an empty stage. An intense film with a tone, and a distance via the theatre play, an invitation to reflection.

Croatia, 2018, 72 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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