High Sun -Zvizdan- belicht drie ‘liefdesverhalen’, zich afspelend in drie verschillende decennia, in twee dicht bij elkaar liggende dorpjes met een lange geschiedenis van wederzijdse, ethnische haat. Het is een film over de breekbaarheid en intensiteit van verboden liefde.

20 Awards: o.a. Prix du Jury Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2015

Drie keer “Romeo en Julia” tegen de achtergrond van de oorlogen op de Balkan die Joegoslavië uit elkaar deden spatten. De liefde is bij aanvang van het conflict, bij het einde en zelfs tien jaar daarna onmogelijk. De vorm van de tragiek evolueert van verzet via onvermogen tot spijt.

Twee jonge mensen zijn verliefd, maar kunnen elkaar niet krijgen vanwege hun verschillende afkomst. Het verhaal van Romeo en Julia is van alle tijden en locaties, dus ook in het Joegoslavië van de jaren negentig. Tegen de achtergrond van de Balkanoorlogen vertelt The High Sun over drie gedoemde liefdes. In 1991, bij aanvang van het conflict, willen Jelena en Ivan het beklemmende dorpsleven ontvluchten maar steekt haar broer daar hardhandig een stokje voor. Tien jaar later lukt het Ante en Natasa niet de vrede te vieren. De pijn van het verlies en wrok staan dat in de weg. En weer een decennium later dreunt het nationale trauma nog steeds na voor Luka en Marija, maar wordt er ondanks de littekens al wel voorzichtig naar de toekomst gekeken, in plaats van naar het ellendige verleden.
Op het filmfestival van Cannes, waar de film de juryprijs kreeg in het programma Un Certain Regard, waren critici unaniem in hun oordeel dat dit Dalibor Matanics beste film tot nu toe is. Deel van die lof komt zeker toe aan Tihana Lazovic en Goran Markovic, die alle drie de stellen vertolken. Wie Kroaat is en wie Serviër, is niet altijd direct duidelijk. Dat iedereen emotioneel gewond raakt wel.

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Vanaf 5 mei 2016 is HIGH SUN – ZVIZDAN te zien in de filmtheaters.

Vanaf 21 mei 2019 op DVD verkrijgbaar!

filmposter high sun - zvizdan

Kroatië, Slovenië, Servië; 2015; kleur; 123 minuten; Dolby 5.1;
Nederlands ondertiteld.

Credits

Regisseur:
Acteurs: Tihana Lazović, Goran Marković, Nives Ivanković, Dado Ćosić, Stipe Radoja, Trpimir Jurkić, Mira Banjac
Productie: Ankica Jurić Tilić
Camera: Marko Brdar
Muziek: Alen Sinkauz, Nenad Sinkauz
Montage: Tomislav Pavlic
Awards: Prix de Jury Cannes Un Certain regard
Scenario: Dalibor Matanić
Design/Set decoration: Mladen Ožbolt
Art direction: Mladen Ožbolt
Kostuums: Ana Savić Gecan
Sound-Design: Julij Zornik

Over de regisseur:

Dalibor Matanić (1975, Kroatië) volgde een opleiding film- en televisieregie in Zagreb. In 2000 maakte hij zijn speelfilmdebuut Cashier Wants to Go to the Seaside, waar hij ook het scenario voor schreef. De film won verscheidene internationale prijzen. Met zijn tweede speelfilm Fine mrtve djevojke/Fine Dead Girls kreeg hij de Grand prix, de publieksprijs en de critic’s award.
Zijn korte film Tulum/The Party (2009) werd vertoond op het filmfestival van Cannes en ontving 18 awards op verschillende festivals. Matanićs achtste speelfilm The High Sun (2015) won in Cannes de Un Certain Regard-Juryprijs.

FILMOGRAFIE
(selectie)
Metropolis (1998, co-dir)
Sretno!/Good Luck! (1999, short doc, co-dir)
BAG (1999, short doc, co-dir)
Blagajnica hoce ici na more/Cashier Wants to Go to the Seaside (2000)
Tisina/Silence (2000, short)
Fine mrtve djevojke/Fine Dead Girls (2002)
Susa/Drought (2002, short)
Sto minuta slave/Hundred Minutes of Glory (2004)
Djevojcica s olovkama (2004, short)
Volim te/I Love You (2005, TV)
Kino Lika/The Lika Cinema (2009)
Tulum/The Party (2009, short)
Majka Asfalta/Mother of Asphalt (2010)
Caca/Daddy (2011)
Mezanin/Mezzanine (2011, short)
Majstori/Handymen (2013)
Zvivdan/The High Sun (2015)

Dalibor Matanić was born in Zagreb in 1975. He holds a degree in Film and Television Directing from the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb. He made his award-winning feature debut The Cashier Wants to go to the Seaside in 2000, based on his own screenplay. His second feature, Fine Dead Girls, won the Grand Prix, Audience Award and Critics’ Award at the national film festival in 2002. Other features include 100 Minutes of Glory; Kino Lika (awarded at Montpelier 2008, Alexandria, Noordelijk Film Festival, Festival del cinema Europeo and Pula Film Festival, and screened at thirty other film festivals); I Love You, Mother of Asphalt (Grand Prix and two other awards at FIPA Biarritz), Daddy and Handymen. One of his most successful works is his short entitled Tulum / Party, that premiered at Cannes film festival, Critic’s Week in 2009 and later won 18 film awards at national and international festivals.

Director’s note
The High Sun celebrates selflessness and love – the very best of human nature that is still struggling to re-emerge victorious in our region. Because there is one thing I am sure about: at the end of the day, politics and extreme nationalism never win. Love does.

As a filmmaker, I have been long intrigued by the ever-present inter-ethnic hatreds in the Balkan region, and conflicts rooted in war, religion or politics. With this lm, I wanted to explore three separate stories of a Croatian boy and a girl from a Serbian family, across three decades. The stories all take place in the same location, in the sun-scorched villages, and the young lovers are always in their early twenties. Using the lens of these three stories, I wanted to tease out the accumulated atmosphere of evil that smoulders among the damaged communities in this region. I am by no means the only one who thinks that in our young century, the problem of hatred towards “the other” is particularly serious, worrying, and actually alarmingly dangerous. There is no shortage of examples – Islamophobia, neo-Nazism, chauvinism, racism, and the rejection of previously accepted immigrant groups. I believe that there is no better way to make a film about this subject than by making a love story, and by contrasting intolerance with acceptance, and fear and hatred with hope, forgiveness and love. My aim as a director was to contrast the lush natural world and the carefree certainty of youth with human actions that are the fruit of long-standing hatreds, history, tradition, confusion and fear, and to use cinematic storytelling to analyze the conditioned changes that influence the lives of young people in this region. In terms of performance, I wanted every character in the film who opposes the notion that love is all-important to be forced to con- front the reasons that prevent them from acting humanely. From the initial story’s light-hearted lack of restraint, we move to the war-ravaged and traumatised couple in the second story. In the final story we come to the present day and the hope that this time round, the young lovers, and their families, friends and neighbours, can raise themselves above the horrors of the past. I have always wanted to make a film that would act as a mirror for all of us in these regions; that would bring us face to face with the moments when we allowed ourselves to act, not as odinary decent people, but as a community controlled by darker, pre-conditioned urges. I want to show what happened when people followed a path that led to shameful euphoria in the short term, but that ultimately caused deep unhappiness and unnecessary suffering. The High Sun celebrates selflessness and love – the very best of human nature that is still struggling to re-emerge victorious in our region. Because there is one thing I am sure about: at the end of the day, politics and extreme nationalism never win. Love does.

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De pers over HIGH SUN – ZVIZDAN

“Matanic, die in Cannes de juryprijs won, maakte met The High Sun een nagenoeg feilloos drieluik over het (on)vermogen van de liefde zich los te zingen van de geschiedenis. Daarin kan hij niet zonder Lazovic en Markovic: dankzij hun spel, dat de kronkels van de verliefdheid net zo fraai uitdrukt als de littekens van de oorlog, komt de driekoppige romance tot leven.”
4 ★★★★ De Volkskrant

” The High Sun is een imponerend liefdesverhaal over de Balkanoorlog.”
4 ★★★★ Het Parool

“De brandende zon is in die verhalen meer dan een neutrale toeschouwer. De zomer is hier niet alleen zwoel van hitte, maar ook van een verschroeiende teloorgang in een door oorlog verscheurd Joegoslavië. De prachtige landschapsfotografie staat zodoende in sterk contrast met het menselijke drama. De ontwikkelingen komen daardoor extra hard aan. Dat komt eveneens door de onderhuidse spanning die op ‘The High Sun’ staat.”
4½ ★★★★ Cinemagazine.nl

“Die zonovergoten zorgeloosheid van de eerste scène doet bijna pijn als je er later aan terugdenkt. Het verloren paradijs, ergens op de Balkan in 1991. De verliefde twintigers Jelena en Ivan, luierend bij een meertje…
…Matanić kiest juist voor de mensen die het allemaal overkomt, die er het liefst part nog deel aan zouden hebben, maar die er toch mee besmet raken. Trefzeker zoekt The High Sun dat onderhuidse gevoel op en laat doorschemeren hoe pijn het gedrag bepaalt, hoe een stuurse blik een signaal van machteloosheid is.”
4 ★★★★ De Filmkrant

“De twee jonge, relatief onervaren acteurs Gabor Marković en Tihana Lazovic, vertolken overtuigend de worsteling van de twintigers zowel tijdens de oorlog als in de nasleep ervan. Twintigers op zoek naar een identiteit, die te allen tijde opnieuw samenvalt met het etnische onderscheid dat er gemaakt is.”
4 ★★★★ indebioscoop.com

“…In 1991 verloor de trompet het van het machinegeweer en werden diepe wonden geslagen die traag helen….The High Sun bouwt een broeierige intensiteit op die zich in de finale mooi ontlaadt.”
3 ★★★ NRC Handelsblad

“Leads Lazovic and Markovic bring subtle differences to each character, making every one an individual. Both are especially fine at conveying the physicality of each figure, their bodies a mass of tension.”
Variety

“Though the stories and characters are different, all three feature the superb young actors Goran Markovic and Tihana Lazovic as war-crossed lovers, linking the narrative with a bridge of anguish, guilt and redemption.”
Hollywood Reporter

“Setting each of the stories on glorious summer days provides a ready visual contrast to the dark undercurrents of intolerance.”
Screen Daily

“Dalibor Matanić captures a beautiful village setting that hides and reveals the tension, scars and possible atonement of a separating conflict.”
The Upcoming

Interview met Dalibor Matanić

You lived through the three decades depicted in the film – how did this affect the way you approached it?

The main trigger for this film was something my late grandmother used to say when we talked about girlfriends: “…as long as she isn’t one of them…” She meant that I should avoid Serbian girls. My grandmother always gave me unconditional love and support, so I was rather confused by her attitude. I have personally witnessed national, religious, political and social intolerance, which is deeply engrained in many generations, and has caused so much misery and pain over the years. I wanted to see whether it was possible to place love above everything else in an environment like that, whether it was possible to plunge into the purest, most essential human state. In other words, I wanted to deal in a cinematic way with that chilling statement uttered by someone so close to me.


What prompted you to tell this particular story – and what prompted you to tell it now?

The issue of inter-ethnic hatred will never cease to be topical. Five or six years ago, when I started this project, the social environ- ment was calmer. Sadly for us, and luckily for the topicality of this film, hatred is something we witness almost daily, not only in the Balkan region but also everywhere. If it is not hatred for another nation, then it is hatred for another religion, or a different political strategy, a different sexual orientation, a neighbour with a better car, and so on. There are many reasons for intolerance, because it is much easier to express a negative feeling than a noble one, such as love or compassion. I want to bring those who hate face to face with this film; because this film expresses my attitude towards the world, and my conscience is clear. I want them to take a look at themselves in this cinematic mirror and ask themselves if they are really so happy to be caught up in hate for someone – anyone.


Did you research inter-ethnic tension for the script? Or was it a more personal dialogue between you and your own experiences?

Several marriages in my family were inter-ethnic, and they broke up partly because of it. I always notice things around me, sometimes unintentionally, but they always find a way to get under my skin. One can accidentally witness other people’s unhappiness, and see how it is rooted in mass conformism, or human weakness which makes people live like sheep, safe within their own flock, unwilling to lift their heads and rise above their everyday existence. Having observed the world around me, I tend to analyze both the noblest and the basest human urges and I tend to tackle painful topics.

The same actors play the three couples – Ivan and Jelena, Nataša and Ante, and Luka and Marija. How did your actors respond to these three very different stories?

It was a challenge for them, naturally, and they were great: hard-working, brave and open-minded – very willing to explore. We searched for subtle differences between the characters, while at the same time underlining the idea, through their identical faces, that our three different couples all share one love. I adore working with actors and I always try to give them ever more difficult tasks, knowing that, no matter how hard those tasks can be, they always enjoy such a process.

You also use the same actors to play the supporting characters in each story.

Many elements in this film are meant to function on a subconscious level, from repeated visual motifs, to the use of the same actors and locations, so that the historical moment can be seen, not as part of a linear story but as part of a recurring cycle. The world keeps changing but every now and then the ghosts from the past can surprise us nastily, just when we have started to believe we are living in a modern, progressive time. The supporting actors were also aware that, in following three couples across three different decades, we are actually following one energy; one romantic urge that challenges itself and tries to raise itself above history.
Filming the recent past is notoriously difficult – harder in some ways than shooting a film set in the 19th century. What practical challenges did you face?

We were fully aware of the problems that can arise when you want to recreate three not so distant decades, but the location we chose for filming was ideal, since it somehow got stuck in time. You cannot clearly define the years there, you have a feeling you are in the present day, but there is a certain dormant quality in the air, which gives you the impression that you are also in the past. Aside from the ruined factories, deserted pastures, empty houses and above all the absence of people, what shocked me most were the places that still look exactly the same as they looked during the Homeland War. And sadly, you can still smell the intolerance in the air. You can still feel the human tragedies woven into the empty facades. We knew immediately that we had brought the camera to the right spot.

How did the natural landscape influence the film?

The sentence I repeated most during filming was “Enjoy yourselves!” I think it is a true blessing to take the camera into the natural world, to feel its primeval, unsullied rhythm – it is such a powerful contrast to the frenetic pace of modern life. Asking questions about whether love can overcome every obstacle, we went deep into an unspoiled environment, found our inner tempo with the camera and plunged into characters and images. With its defiant, raw beauty and tranquillity, nature itself influenced our photography to a great extent, particularly when we filmed people. Surrounded by centuries-old splendour, we delved into characters, searching for their inner beauty. When you are waiting for the sun to rise above a magnificent mountain at five in the morning, you have enough time to ask yourself what else you can do in your life to make everything and everyone around you happier and more optimistic.

The Irish writer James Joyce once said: “History is a nightmare from which we are trying to awake”. Do you agree?

Joyce spent a part of his life in Croatia. Maybe that statement was partly motivated by his Croatian experience (laughter). I always say that film is not only an entertainment, as some would want; it is also a powerful tool. We just have to raise our standards and question the times we are living in. Having realized that so much misery comes from the past, I have decided to take a stand against it as a filmmaker. Every time an echo from the past stops our young couple, we stop our film and give a new chance to a new couple at another point in time. Art enriches the present day in the same way it enriched the past, and it has to be brave and defiant, and stand against worldly and material ways of viewing life. At the end of the day, there are no nations, no politics, and no material wealth, but just the highest human principles. Love is one of them.

How do you think the film will be received in Croatia, and in the Balkan region?

All those who have let their lives be dominated by intolerance and evil will hate this film, but they will have to face it. That confrontation is exactly what I wanted. And while they are looking at themselves in this cinematic mirror, let them remember every second they have wasted, sending negative energy out into the world. I think it will be very interesting. Unfortunately, intolerance doesn’t go away, which makes this film inevitably topical. However, deep down inside I feel optimistic about the humaneness hidden deep inside the majority of people, and I think that those who are capable of love will love this film. And finally, where do you go from here? The High Sun is just the first part of “The Sun Trilogy”. My next project, The Dawn, will question the strength of emotional bonds on one side, and greed as one of the oldest and basest human urges, on the other.

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