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VENICE 2008 Venice Days / Slovenia

Möderndorfer offers dark Landscape of his country

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Möderndorfer offers dark Landscape of his country

Presented by Roberto Barzanti, president of the Venice Days Association, Slovenian writer-director Vinko Möderndorfer’s second feature film Landscape No. 2 [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
screened to heartfelt applause today on the Lido.

Part historical intrigue, part thriller, part sexfest, in the film, which Möderndorfer adapted from his eponymous novel, electrical appliance repairman Polde (Janez Hočevar) and his young assistant Sergej (Marko Mandić) break into a house of a retired general (Janez Škof) to steal a painting of one the mass graves of the many massacres of Nazi collaborators that took place in Slovenia at the end of WWII.

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When Sergej inadvertently also steals an important document proving who was behind this particular killing, the general calls in a former secret service agent (Bosnian actor Slobodan Ćustić), who ruthlessly goes after anyone standing between him and the document.

At the post-screening Q&A, Möderndorfer called traitors “the worst kind of evildoers, relegated even by Dante to the lowest circle of Hell. Yet just as damaging are the current politicians who exploit past events, damaging even younger generations who should not be forced to keep paying for the mistakes of their forefathers.”

The director knows that the film’s subject matter is just as radical as its hard-core sex scenes, and earnestly hopes they will spark debate. For that reason, he also wanted the violence in his film to be as real as possible: “I knew that only if the violence went as far as the sex, which is extreme, would audiences find the entire story plausible and authentic,” he said.

The actors were also lauded for their performances. In particular, Mandić and Custić stand out as two extremes of the same spectrum: a hedonistic young man whose small betrayals (of two girlfriends) reflects the larger betrayals of a man who represents the darkest side of a nation that has yet to take responsibility for or make peace with its own past.

Landscape No. 2 was made by Slovenian production company Forum Ljubljana for €1.2m of state funding, a third of which came in the form of technical services. Film Center Serbia was a 5% minority partner.

The title is being handled internationally by Wide Management, who just days ago sold it to Italian distributors Ripley’s Film. It will be released domestically by Cinemania Group on October 22.

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