Slovenian director Vinko Moderndorfer’s Landscape No 2 (www.pokrajina-st2.org) which is screening in the Venice Days programme of the Venice Film Festival attacks a topic that is front and center in today’s political and ethical debate.
Finding out the truth about the hidden crimes of the previous generations and how this “truth” can be manipulated for political gains is a hot topic in today’s European political landscape.
So its no surprise that this film which has already been picked up for international sale by Paris based Wide Management has already attracted the attention of buyers and festival directors after making its international debut as the opening film of the prestigious author’s showcase Venice Days.
Italian distributors Ripley have already acquired rights for Italy and other territories look set to follow as this genre busting thriller/drama/comedy provoked debate and entertained at the same time on its first screening.
This is the first Slovenian film in four years to screen in Venice but it looks like the first in a string of important features in the pipeline as this small central European country with a population of just over 2 million has over 15 features in the pipeline thanks to a progressive initiative of the Slovenian Ministry of Culture which is pumping money into the industry via the Slovenian Film Fund.
The film is about the burglars Sergej and Polde who steal the valuable painting Landscape No.2. By coincidence Sergej also takes a mysterious document dating back to the end of the World War II. An unnamed assasin is ordered to recover the stolen painting and the document, which triggers a series of murders and opens the door to a hidden past where the question of who was guilty remains unanswered.
Sergej is a young hero who is totally unaware and more importantly doesn’t care about the significance of the documents in his possession and the questions of Slovenian history. Girls, sex and fun make up his universe. But his lack of awareness triggers a trail of bloody murders as the unnamed assassin tries to track down the missing document. The film delviers all the thrills of a slasher movie while leaving the viewer to ponder the wider significance of recent historical events and the importance of finding the truth about the crimes of previous generations.
The film is highly relevant today as the present political parties try to recreate the truth about the 15 000 collaborators who were killed without trial after WWII. The theme has been abused for political gain by right wing parties according to the director. The Polish film Scratch which also screens in Venice Days this year tackles the same topic which has become a centre for debate throughout central Europe as mass graves continue to be unearthed.
Moderndorfer is one of Slovenia’s most important director’s of both film and theatre. His previous film Suburbs was presented in Venice Days in 2004. He is also a prominent theatre and opera director and one of Slovenia’s most important intellectuals with dozens of plays, documentaries and novels to his credit. The film is based on his novel Landscape No. 2 which has been translated in to Italian and German.
Landscape No 2 is a coproduction between Slovenia’s Forum Ljubljana, VPK and RTV Slovenian TV as well as Delirium in Serbia. It will have its release in Slovenia on 22 October with six prints which is quite a high number for Slovenia and is expected to be one of the major releases of the year.
The 1.2m Euro production was supported by the Slovenian Film Fund who fund most of the national productions where films, books and theatre are recognized as a major part of the country’s national identity.
“Europe is full of the caves that are the graves of mass murders,” said Moderndorfer, “and our governments want to profit from these tragedies. The young are innocent but unless we know the truth these crimes will continue to affect the lives of the innocent.”
World Premier: Venice Days 28 August 2008
Additional screenings: 23:30 on 4 September, 14:00 on 6 September
World sales: Wide Management, tel +331 5395 0464