S One Strane (On the Other Side)London Film Festival 2016
10th October 2016 8.45pm at Vue West End
11th October 2016 1.15pm at BFI Southbank (NFT)
20 years on from the Croatian War of Independence, Zrinko Ogresta brings to the screen a country still struggling to hide its scars. Through the eyes of protagonist Vesna, S One Strane (On the Other Side) explores the social impact of war, and the destruction it brings that continues to manifest with each new generation. Well-shot and thought- provoking, it is a window into a country full of stigmatisation and shame in what would otherwise be called “peacetime”.
Vesna, a middle-aged nurse and caregiver lives in Zagreb – the capital of modern day Croatia. However, due to her estranged husband’s position in the opposing Yugoslav army during the war, she and her adult children are haunted by the disgrace of their patriarch and are forced to conceal their true identities. Stunted in their career ambitions and made to accept the state of their fractured family, Vesna, her son Vladimir and her daughter Jadranka are far from satisfied with the way their lives have ended up. Yet one day Vesna receives a phone call from her husband Žarko out of the blue. And as Vesna and Žarko start to rekindle their relationship, it begins to threaten everything the family have worked so hard to keep under wraps.
S One Strane is an engaging watch, not least because it demonstrates a world rarely exposed on film. Ksenija Marinković encapsulates Vesna with a natural ease, her eyes constantly hinting at the hidden truths her character has worked to conceal. She is believable as a nurse, long suffering mother and a Captain’s wife, and the constant close-ups on her expressive face never get dull.
The movie has been shot very carefully, with frames displaying clearly just how much of a prisoner Vesna feels (and is) from string curtains and blinds to shots evocative of CCTV. The audience is brought into her world, and made to respect the way she deals with it, from her selfless acceptance of the misdemeanours of her children, to her dedication to her patients and kindness to others. She is everyone’s carer, with no one to look out for her but an increasingly sympathetic audience.
Paced to perfection and every bit as dramatic as a psychological thriller, S One Strane is an exploration of life after war and the lasting legacy felt by its victims on both sides. Emotive and gripping until the end, its killer twist is felt just as strongly by the protagonist as it is by its speechless audience.
S One Strane (On the Other Side) does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for S One Strane (On the Other Side) here: