A Stranger / Obrana i zaštita (Croatia/Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2013)

directed by Bobo Jelčić, drama, 83 min, eng subtitles
written by Bobo Jelčić
with Bogdan Diklić, Nada Đurevska, Ivana Roščić, Rakan Rushaidat, Vinko Kraljević

When Slavko's old friend Đulaga dies, Slavko feels obliged to go to the funeral. But in his hometown of Mostar, in Bosnia & Herzegovina, this simple social obligation has the potential to get him into all kinds of trouble: with his neighbours or even with local political bigwigs. Yet if he does not go, his wife will think he's a coward, the grieving family will never forgive him - and he might have trouble forgiving himself. Slavko, a man in his 60s, lives with his wife in the Croatian part of the city Mostar in Herzegovina, which is, 15 years after the Bosnian war, still divided into the Bosniak (Muslim) and Croatian (Catholic) parts. It is not easy to cross into the other part of the city- the invisible psychological barrier on the Neretva river is, for most people, as effective as barbed wire.
This is a compelling tale of everyday life in a fractured society, and a world where paranoia, comedy and drama co-exist. It is also an astute psychological portrait of a man who is forced to cross the invisible line that divides two communities. Above all, it is the story of a man who lost everything that defined him when his country disintegrated.
The action takes place over the course of one long day, which never seems to end, with no hope of nightfall. And when the day does end, our main character will probably be content, as though he has achieved something. But he has not. All he has done is manage to live another day. Time moves more slowly when you are waiting, especially if you do not know what it is you are waiting for.

Croatian National Film Festival Pula 2013 (Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Scenography)
OKTAVIJAN award 2013 by Society of Croatian Film Critics

With the support of the Croatian Embassy in Brussels