Section: Feature Film Competition


Safe Place

Juraj Lerotić
HR/SI, 2022, 102 Min

A protocol of loss. When Damir attempts to commit suicide, his brother arrives just in time to save him. Together with their mother he takes care of this injured soul, with indulgence, but also with a sense of helplessness. At the same time, a struggle with the health care bureaucracy begins; here a small gesture of empathy, there the body language of institutional routine. A film that goes into great detail; and gets under the skin.

The safe place promised by the title of Juraj Lerotić's feature film debut does not in fact exist. His characters are constantly in motion, under strain: how to behave, how to comfort? How to convince the doctors to do what would appear to be the right thing, how to answer the hurtful questions of the police officers who are, in fact, only doing their job? The family, or what is left of it right now, becomes a shelter that offers no solutions. The mother helpless, hectic, at times almost obsessively hopeful. Brother Bruno desperately tries to keep calm. Lerotić, whose screenplay is based on autobiographical experiences, himself plays the brother. A participating observer in a constellation of three individuals who are completely overwhelmed by the situation. Words of comfort that no longer console, the sudden departure from the adopted home of Zagreb to their native Split brings merely a brief sense of calm. The hurtful routine with which the hospital staff welcome the beloved patient becomes a constant theme of communicative displacement activities. You know how it is, painfully so, when you lose someone close to you: every gesture, every blink of an eye counts. Every opportunity to buy time until the final loss is seized upon, from one last cigarette to an outburst about the insensitive nursing staff. The grief is quickly felt, and yet the farewell is still a shock.

Text: Bernd Buder

English: Peter Rickerby

Stadthalle: Original version with English subtitles + German simultaneous translation.

Weltspiegel Saal 2: Original version with English subtitles

Juraj Lerotić
Marko Brdar Z.F.S.
Julij Zornik
Marko Ferković
Jana Plećaš
Mother: Snježana Sinovčić Šiškov
Damir: Goran Marković
Bruno: Juraj Lerotić
Miljenka Čogelja
Nevenka Sablić, Saša Ban - Zelena zraka
Mohorovčićeva 22, Zagreb
Juraj Lerotić

Juraj Lerotić - Juraj LEROTIC (Croatia) has studied preschool teaching theology and is a senior undergraduate at the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Arts. At the Thessaloniki Film Festival he has received the Balkan Fund Award for the screenplay of his feature-length film Mater (Mother). Then I See Tanja was his first film as a professional and has won the Golden Pram at the Zagreb Film Festival 2010.

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