See You (film)
|Directed by||Ivan Salaj|
|Screenplay by||Ivan Salaj|
(65 minutes, according to some sources)
A story about a group of friends who reunite at the funeral of one of them who was killed in a war, See You has been very favorably received. Described as a "generational manifesto", the film has gained a cult status among the Croatian film critics.
In the summer of 1981, five boys – Maks, Mislav, Andre, Kruno and Borna – spend their time together playing in a forest, in an abandoned hut. When their pet dog Afra is killed by an unknown intruder, they bury him in the forest and promise they would be all buried next to him one day.
Ten years later, in the fall of 1991, Borna has been killed in combat in the Battle of Vukovar, and the four surviving friends reunite at his funeral. Since their childhood days, they have drifted apart: Maks (Goran Višnjić) is a member of a far-right paramilitary unit, Kruno (Rene Bitorajac) went to Germany to attend college, Mislav (Mislav Vilišić) is a heroin addict, and Andre (Nenad Cvetko) seems to be completely uncertain about his future. The four friends have different attitudes about the war, which creates conflict among them. They are also troubled by their personal histories: Maks is heavily traumatized by his war experiences and is unable to adjust to civilian life, Andre uses drugs as a way to escape the reality, and Kruno is apprehensive, worried that his leaving the country will be seen as desertion.
See You has been described as "an account of a lost childhood and a rediscovered friendship". Its central theme is the loss of innocence, which is accentuated by the stark visual contrast between the warm, sunlit scenes of 1981, and dark and gloomy scenes that take place in the fall of 1991.
Salaj's pessimistic, even morbid outlook sharply diverges from an idealized depiction of the Croatian War of Independence, seen in some Croatian films of the era. Maks, ostensibly a war hero, is portrayed as a traumatized, broken man who is worthy of pity. Overpowered by the bleak reality of their existence, the protagonists rebel by clinging to an infantile childhood oath. At the same time, their differences and disagreements indicate a "schism within the Croatian society".
See You was shown at the Pula Film Festival, where it received highly favorable reviews and won a special Arena award. Direction and cinematography were praised, as well as Goran Višnjić's "suggestive" portrayal of Maks, even if some generally criticized the acting as stilted.
See You was – with Zrinko Ogresta's Washed Out (1995) – described as the beginning of the "Croatian Black Wave", drawing parallels with bleak and pessimistic films of the 1960s Yugoslav Black Wave.
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