The Professional (film)

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The Professional
The Professional (2003).jpg
Directed by Dušan Kovačević
Produced by Dejan Vražalić
Predrag Jakovljević
Written by Dušan Kovačević
Starring Branislav Lečić
Bora Todorović
Nataša Ninković
Music by Momčilo Bajagić
Release date
  • 21 May 2003 (2003-05-21)
Running time
104 minutes
Country Serbia and Montenegro
Language Serbian

The Professional (Serbian: Професионалац) is a 2003 comedy/drama, based on 2000 drama of the same name, written and directed by famous Serbian playwright Dušan Kovačević. This movie earned its cult status by showing some of the darkest moments in Serbian history in actual and sometimes even comic way. This movie was nominated for seven awards of which it received five.[1]


Former university literature professor Teodor "Teja" Kraj (played by Branislav Lečić) is now a manager of a big publishing house whose workers are just about to go on strike. During the 1990s Teja was highly involved in overthrowing the regime of Slobodan Milošević. One day a strange man entered his office carrying a big suitcase. Teja was sure this man was a writer when he gave Teja four books ready to be published. After a short conversation Teja found out that these books were actually his. Teja thought this was a joke when stranger finally introduced himself as Luka Laban (played by Bora Todorović), a former officer of State Security. He also found out that Luka followed him for ten years, day after day, in order to make the daily report about his movements. After Luka retired he put all his daily reports together and wrote four books about Teja's movements for last ten years.

Teja was surprised when he heard that wherever he was, Luka was behind him. As they continue to talk, the last ten years of their lives begin to appear. Teja heard that Luka intended to kill him during the anti-regime demonstrations in March 1991. Teja was amazed with what he heard and from this point movie gives us retrospective view of the past events. In all these situations Teja was fighting against regime and Luka was right behind him monitoring his movements. The first time Luka really tried to kill Teja was in 1995 after one of the demonstrations Teja took part in. When Luka told Teja that it was him who hit him with the car after these demonstrations Teja intended to kill Luka but he was stopped by his secretary. While he was talking to Luka Teja was interrupted in many occasions by the union leader Jovan who threatened to take workers to streets.

In the New Year eve of 1997 Luka found out that his daughter Ana, who was Teja's student, was dating Teja, what gave him personal interest to ruin Teja's life. He made photos of these two which he used to ruin his marriage. Because of these photos Teja lost his job as a university professor. Teja reminded Luka that his daughter finished in a hospital after she suffered nervous breakdown and left university. When he asked Luka why he did that Luka answered: "Yes, she left the university but she also left you." After that Ana went to live in Canada and Luka promised to her that one day he is going to have a friendly conversation with Teja.

Luka than opened the suitcase he brought with himself. The suitcase was full of ordinary things Teja lost during last ten years mostly when he was completely drunk. Luka than started telling him stories related to things he lost. The more he was talking Teja started to remember the miserable moments of his life for last ten years. Now he finally found out that Luka was the man who destroyed his life, ruined his marriage and he even "helped" Teja to lose his job. Stories of these two men described some of the darkest events in Serbian history.

At the end of the movie Luka saved Teja's life when the union leader Jovan, at that point Teja realized he was a National Security agent, tried to kill him. Luka said he wanted Teja to have those four books he brought and a drama they just played because Luka recorded everything they said. Luka than gave Teja Ana's phone number in Canada to call and tell her had friendly talk. After this they departed as friends.


Branislav Lečić was intentionally chosen to play the role of Teodor Teja Kraj because he actively participated in overthrowing the Milošević's regime. Videos from the demonstrations that were used in making this movie are real and were not made for the movie purposes as well as Lečić's speeches in these videos.

Play and Movie[edit]

Although these two share the same theme there are many differences between the play and the movie of the same name. The earliest events described in the movie are from 1991 while the play was written in 1990. Therefore, director Dušan Kovačević used the idea of the relationship between these two characters but not the same events covered in the play.


Year Festival Award
2003 Montréal World Film Festival Best screenplay
2003 Montréal World Film Festival FIPRESCI prize
2003 Viareggio Europa Cinema Best film
2003 Viareggio Europa Cinema Best screenplay
2004 Istanbul International Film Festival Special prize of the jury

External links[edit]