“Life Lasts Three Days”, the fourth short film by young Serbian up-and-coming helmer, Katarina Koljević, is a brave and interesting work that is having its World Premiere in the “Competition program – Student Film” section at this year’s Sarajevo Film Festival.
“Life Lasts Three Days” follows Bogdan and his two friends, who, looking for fun, break in the house where Bodgan works as a pool boy. After a drunken fight, Bogdan stays behind to clean up the mess they’ve made. The following morning, he stumbles upon Svetlana, the owner of the house. She is furious about her life and angry at her husband who is cheating again. Out of fear and curiosity, Bogdan stays to have breakfast with her. During the following three days, their relationship goes through all the phases relationships normally go through in the outside world. These two people create their own world in the vacuum of this particular place.
Koljević presents this unusual love story between a young man and an older woman in a detached but highly convincing manner. Indeed, the film’s focus is not on the age difference of the protagonists, but rather on the very nature of a relationship that can only thrive and survive in an isolated environment. “Life Lasts Three Days” is also the encounter of two people from different social layers of modern Belgrade, who co-exist yet barely notice one another. It shows the reality in which Serbian people live, a reality that consumes true emotions and cheapens them. This is, however, not an inherently Serbian state of affairs, it is universal, because, today – in a manner of speaking –, feelings are rarely recognized, acknowledged and seldom interpreted the right way. So, the young author questions what real emotions look like when they are stripped of all the social conventions that deform our very notion of them.
The techs are to be lauded, especially thanks to a refreshing editing, courtesy of Andrijana Krčmar and Matija Đukanović, and Luka Trajković’s superb combination of crisp and warm and dreamlike lensing (showing the dichotomy between reality and the place they figuratively escape to when they are together), working perfectly to create a certain wonder-like aesthetic. The short also benefits from very good performances by veteran Serbian actress Branka Katić as well as Miloš Timotijević, Slaven Došlo, Milan Marić and Marko Grabež, the latter three pertaining to a new generation of brave and talented Serbian actors who are reshaping Serbia’s cultural scene.
Insightful and whimsical, yet at times clumsy, “Life Lasts Three Days” is a sincere, multilayered and bittersweet short film with a clear message: “Carpe Diem”. Be sure to keep Koljević in mind, for she is definitely a talent to watch.
O.T.: “Život traje tri dana”
Production: Plan 9, FDU (Serbia, 2017)
Producers: Tatjana Žeželj, Pavle Vučković
Director: Katarina Koljević
Screenplay: Katarina Koljević
Cinematography: Luka Trajković
Music: Jovan Marić
Production Design: Damjan Paranosić
Costume design: Rialda Dizdarević
Editing: Andrijana Krčmar, Matija Đukanović
Cast: Branka Katić, Miloš Timotijević, Slaven Došlo, Milan Marić, Marko Grabež
Color – 29 min.
Premiere: 14/08/2017 (Sarajevo Film Festival)