Safe Place

  • 102'
  • Croatia
  • 2022

There is much talk in the modern world of the need to create safe spaces within society for individuals facing oppression or disadvantage. But there are no such spaces in the ironically titled Safe Place, a debut feature by Croatian filmmaker Juraj Lerotić.

Set largely in the administrative offices and high-rise apartments of Zagreb and Split, the film shows the fraught interactions between two adult brothers (Damir and Bruno, the latter played by Lerotić) and their mother, beginning from a moment of crisis: Damir’s suicide attempt. The diagnosis of Damir’s condition is open to ongoing speculation – is it depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia? – but the film’s focus lies squarely on the less-than-compassionate treatment he receives at the hands of medical and police personnel, as he is passed from one bare room to another.

At first glance, Safe Place would appear to be a grimly realistic film, graced by highly naturalistic acting. But its visual treatment, alternating between static long takes and camera movements that record the characters’ passage between spaces, is firmly systematic. And stay attuned to the unusual, surreal or reflexive moments that underline the film’s artifice, and signal Lerotić’s debt to figures such as Abbas Kiarostami.

 

Adrian Martin

Director
Juraj Lerotić
Premiere
Dutch Premiere
Country of production
Croatia
Year
2022
Festival Edition
IFFR 2023
Length
102'
Medium
DCP
Original title
Sigurno mjesto
Language
Croatian
Producer
Miljenka Cogelja
Production Company
Pipser
Sales
Cercamon
Screenplay
Juraj Lerotić
Cinematography
Marko Brdar
Editor
Marko Ferković
Sound Design
Julij Zornik
Cast
Snježana Sinovčić Šiškov, Goran Marković, Juraj Lerotić