"Backyards" by Ivan Salatić (Montenegro)

​ Venice Film Festival 2015 - Orizzonti Shorts

Writer Profile



Name: Patrycja Rup

Nationality: Poland

Contact: patrycja.rup@gmail.com 

Ivan Salatić takes his viewer for a melancholic trip through wild forgotten backyards, the perfect setting for a story of young friends reaching adulthood.

Backyards slowly guides us to the surrounding of a calm, forgotten village out of nowhere, where passing time doesn’t really matter for anyone and doomed buildings fall apart among the lush greenery. This is the scenery of everyday life for Luka, Marko and Sara, or in other words, it’s their big scale playground. The young friends spend their time mostly with pointless games while wandering around the village, gardens and seaside. When the beauty of careless life starts to fade away, they need to fight back against the overwhelming stagnation and consider leaving their paradise.

In his new film, Salatić creates a dreamy atmosphere of forgotten world, hidden in remote suburbia, mesmerizes the viewer with well-done pictures of alluring locations. His characters need to face new responsibilities and come of age. This means major changes in their lives, like searching for a job and money. The director sketches here contemporary economical problem of seashore suburbia, but doesn’t let this issue to dominate his film, rather puts an accent on innocent love and vulnerability of his characters.

The leisurely narration gives lots of opportunities for contemplation, but at the same time, may bore and distract. After the screening viewer may feel a bit lost and struggle with the feeling of deficiency. The film doesn’t have a plot, there isn’t much action, it rather consist of freely connected vivid impressions. It isn’t a defect, until there is some message behind them, unfortunately in this case we get a quite flat work. Viewer may feel at this point like main characters – just about to leave this picturesque, but boring location. What is worth mentioning are good montage and postproduction, which work well together creating the world frozen in time. Besides visual beauty of photography and good performance of the actors, it’s difficult to find this film exceptional.

The sad conclusion is that we face one of those short films, which even if technically correct, don’t really speak to the audience and might be easily forgotten after the screening. Backyards proves the directors’ promising talent, which was not fully used in case of this work, but raises hopes for his future productions.