Sarajevo Film Festival 2017. Review of “Nobody Here” by Jelena Gavrilović

Break-ups are often a painful and confusing experience, especially if you are a seventeen-year-old girl who is still in love with her ex-boyfriend. This is precisely the premise of Jelena Gavrilović’s latest accomplished and subtle short film, “Nobody Here” (“Nikog nema”), that is screening in the newly established Student Film Competition at this year’s Sarajevo Film Festival, after very successful selections at the 2017 Küstendorf Film and Music Festival (Competition) and the recently wrapped Locarno Film Festival (Pardi di domani).

The story at the core of “Nobody Here” appears to be fairly simple, but poignantly intricate at the same time. We don’t exactly figure it out until we have seen the film in its entirety. Gavrilović slowly and cleverly strips her film, revealing its layers one topic at a time. Indeed, it is not only about the teenage heartbreak, but also the absence of a father figure and its consequence on the heroine’s psyche, coming full circle at the end of the film and serving as an explanation of the film’s title. She spryly shows her protagonist’s loneliness and state of mind through close-ups and shots of her at different moments and in different places and situations. Gavrilović’s talent is perceptible through her nuanced and assured directing that bears a highly realistic touch – style and aesthetic-wise – thus pertaining to the nascent and ever-self-affirming Serbian New Wave.

“Nobody Here” gains in its poignancy thanks to the nuanced performance of the lead actress Teodora Janković (Sara) who nimbly conveys the pain, confusion, self-doubt and other teenage feelings of her character. Along with fellow cast members Miodrag Dragičević (Sergej) and Igor Benčina (Dušan) in the roles of the ex-boyfriend and bodyguard respectively, and their effortless and raw turns, they succeed in perfectly transmitting the current mindset of the modern Serbian society. All techs are to be lauded, especially Igor Đorđević’s at times wistful lensing.

With the quietly elegant “Nobody Here”, Jelena Gavrilović proves once again why she is the rising star of Serbian cinema and a talent to watch.





O.T.: “Nikog nema”

Production: FDU, Film Center Serbia, Media Plus (Serbia, 2017)

Producer: Nada Savić

Co-producers: Vladimir Dudar, Zoran Krstić

Director: Jelena Gavrilović

Screenplay: Dimitrije Kokanov

Cinematography: Igor Đorđević

Production Design:  Livija Mikić

Costume design: Vladislava Joldžić

Editing: Ana Žugić

Cast: Teodora Janković, Nina Popović, Miodrag Dragičević, Igor Benčina

 Color – 20 min.

Premiere: 14/01/2017 (Küstendorf Film and Music Festival)

Latest from Reviews