I'm People, I Am Nobody


Reviewed by: Stephanie Brown

I Am People, I Am Nobody
"Dragomirovic’s minimalistic setting captures the separation and struggle of Stevan and his loved ones." | Photo: Courtesy of DOC NYC

Svetislav Dragomirovic’s dreary documentary film drives the audience through the contorted corners of Stevan’s mind, as he awaits the outcome of his ongoing trial in Malta for sexual offenses. The flow of the film through imagery of empty spaces and quiet rooms, to busy traffic and noisy highways, mirrors the inner contradictions of Stevan - the image of himself as a man fallen victim of brutality and corruption, and the moments of shame that tell a different story.

Stevan, an ex-adult film star from Serbia, ends up in a prison in Malta after an incident of indecent exposure. The film carries Stevan’s voice in recorded phone calls about his position in the system - many with ramblings that carry hints of delusion, and all with an enigmatic desperation to conceal, even from himself, the nature of the offenses he is about to stand trial for.

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Dragomirovic’s minimalistic setting captures the separation and struggle of Stevan and his loved ones. He lives in isolation and is only able to communicate over the phone, unable to leave prison. His family is also frozen in time with the uncertainty of what will come in the months ahead. The scenery used in the documentary is haunting: empty highways and abandoned ruins, like a fading image of the past, and the need to face the picture of the present.

The documentary captures more of what is unsaid, as the viewer is led by the philosophies of Stevan: an unreliable narrator who sees himself as a dissident to society’s constraints and hypocrisies. As the film progresses, much like Holden Caulfield, his anger appears more rooted in his own failings that unravel before him.

But Stevan is not an anti-hero in modern literature, in fact he may be a dangerous sex offender. Dragomirovic’s direction submerges the spectator far into the disordered subconscious of Stevan and taunts the existential crisis in play: he is just a person, much like anyone else, with kooky dreams, and crystallised by feelings of shame.

The film imbues a balanced view of humanity and the rough edges that come with the human experience. I’m People, I Am Nobody digs deep into the mind of a sex offender, with a passive uneasiness. As the film closes the opening message becomes clear: knowing the fragile and depraved parts of the people we love, often comes with a quiet emptiness.

Reviewed on: 24 Dec 2022
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Documentary about Stevan, a 60-year-old, former porn performer from Serbia, who is awaiting the outcome of a Kafkaesque trial process in a Maltese prison.

Director: Svetislav Dragomirovic

Year: 2022

Runtime: 72 minutes

Country: Serbia, Germany


DOC NYC 2022

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