On the Other Side (original title “S one strane”) is a Serbian Croatian co-production dated 2016 and signed by Zrinko Ogresta screened at the 37 edition of Manaki Brother Film Festival.
The movie is fascinating.
Vesna is the main character. We meet her while she is working and,, form the very first moment, she appears as a woman made strong by the past, tormented but legitimately proud f the equilibrium she managed to create, in Zagreb, for her and her kids, Vladimir and Jadranka, after the Balkan war.
The serenity so hardly reached is, however, more precarious than what could be thought. A phone call, unexpected and at the same time waited for twenty years is enough to shiver it.
On the other cord of the handset there is Zarko, her husband, sincerely loved and at the same time deeply detested war criminal, whose memory only the time had been able to barely fade.
From this moment past, present and future expectation intertwine, certainty becomes doubts and feelings take over. The result is a movie where the food for thoughts is multifarious going from the idea of forgiveness to the concept of memory, passing through the importance and the alienation of everyday routine.
The humanity of this little tale is represented not only by the plot but also with the stylistic and directing decisions. The narrating times are these of reality without accelerations. The audience has the chance, that way, to be in the story, to feel not only the dialogues but also the silences, the reflections and the hesitations of the characters.
Silence plays, indeed, a fundamental role in the movie, it is a co-protagonist: the whole story is based on lacks and on the effort to hush painful truths.
Furthermore, also the shots are thought according to these principles: often Vesna is only glimpsed as if the viewer is, through glasses or curtains, spying her. We are at the same time part of her life and scantily tolerated intruders.
The chromatic mood is following the same logic. There is always a dominating color, giving the impression that each scene is perceived through a personal filter, depriving it that way of any kind of objectivity.
Once again we are not watching at a cinematographic fiction but a human drama.
The film structure is well developed and it keeps the tension for the all length creating an properly balanced movie, rich in plot twist with an endearing and open to interpretation ending.