Days Lost

***

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Days Lost
"Though it has subtleties aplenty its core confrontation lays it on a little too thick."

Would you rather? The game the siblings play, and between the talk of delicious caterpillars and desirous elephants, firebombing hospitals and other fripperies, a question more serious, unasked. Something approaching happiness here or something not quite happiness there? Your happiness or someone else's?

Jovana Avramovic has a great eye. The framing of a door as it opens and then closes. The unseen hand picking up a cigarette. A balance broken by a third. Someone literally between. Sara Durovic's script feels right, I say that as an older brother to sisters, though in truth the balance of achievement and ambition is different in my life than here.

These are stark landscapes, a town is only as small as it feels and for all its smoke stacks and girdered parabola this is somewhere to escape. As DoP Ana Melentijevic gives us a sense of place from pastel corners to rusted horizons, Avramovic's efforts and a crispness mean that even if we can't see them we know there are a dozen places like this in walking distance, and will be however far we wander.

As is often the case with international exhibition, the subtitles lose a little to small inaccuracies "Trough the city with no ballons" is comprehensible enough but I'm sure that within the song it comes from it's got more meaning than we can glean from that. The action it plays over doesn't suffer for it though, indeed, that additional uncertainty gives us more when we too don't know the 'to', don't know the 'at'.

Jana Bjelica's performance as Olja is good, a sullen chemistry with those playing the rest of her family. As brother Jovan, Jovan Jovanovic manages fraternal frustration well. Suncica Milanovic as his partner Maja walks that difficult line that in-laws do, forever on the welcome mat, clutching a (metaphorical) wedding buffet plate at the edge of the dancefloor.

Though it has subtleties aplenty its core confrontation lays it on a little too thick. Not just the circumstances that lead to it but the structure of it. Less deus ex machina than a poor pair of twos, though depending on the game being played a roll of the dice might get you nowhere. Days Lost isn't just about staying still, it's about leaving things behind. In its efforts it could perhaps have done the same in places, left a little more open, left a little more unspoken. Despite that though it succeeds, forcing us and our heroine to the outskirts, to the brink, to the threshold of decision.

Reviewed on: 12 Oct 2021
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Olja and Igor's sibling equilibrium is broken by his new girlfriend, and will be tested further by what they leave behind.

Director: Jovana Avramovic

Writer: Sara Djurovic

Starring: Predrag Bjelac, Jana Bjelica, Gordana Djurdjevic, Jovan Jovanovic, Alisa Lacko, Suncica Milanovic, Zoe Radovanovic, Tatjana Vencelovski

Year: 2020

Runtime: 22 minutes

Country: Serbia

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