Future Frames 2017 Review: Ljubljana - München 15:27

It was Heraclitus who said “Everything changes and nothing stands still.” People’s lives are in a state of constant flux and it is these moments of change where drama often lies. But where features are often predicated around those moments which are big and melodramatic, shorts can often show us the decisions that seem small yet will have seismic changes upon our lives. In Ljubljana - München 15:27, Katarina Morano presents us with someone whose life is going to change as she savours the final moments of the existence she once lived.

Mala is pregnant and working at a print shop. As she finishes her day at work – by whimsically photocopying her pregnant belly – she wanders the streets, listening to a choir sing Christmas songs or just sitting on some stairs looking at the view. It becomes clear that this is Mala’s last day in her home as she prepares to move to Germany. Later finding Jure – the father of her child who will be coming with her on the journey – Mala savours the last few hours of the life that she knows.

This is a languid and almost dreamlike affair that explores how we try to say goodbye to the familiar. Mala’s journey into familiar streets and surroundings take on an almost religious reverence as she listens to the sounds and enjoys sights that she may never see in the same way again. At one moment she sways to music in a club, alone in her thoughts and her enjoyment of the music and rhythm. The film – full of elegiac moments such as this – has an air of the bittersweet. This is not only in the sense of saying goodbye but also in the indifference of the world in which Mala inhabits. Despite the seismic shifts in her and Jure’s lives, the world continues on as if nothing has happened. And it will continue long after Mala is gone. A visit to her family is perhaps the only reassurance that she will be missed.

But the tinge of melancholia also gives way to hope (albeit a hope tinged with fear of the unknown). The final shot of the film sees Mala and Jure in the bath. It’s almost a scene of rebirth, cleansing themselves as they begin anew. While Jure has concern in his eyes there is hope from Mala that everything will turn out just fine.

The film eschews excessive dialogue and Hana Vodeb carries the entire film with her being an almost ethereal presence – neither in one place or the other, in state of flux as her life waits to begin again. This ethereal quality is echoed in the cinematography of Domen Martinčič who veers between the naturalistic and a sense of magical realism.

Receiving its international premiere at Karlovy Vary as part of European Film Promotion's Future Frames, Katarina Morano’s film (from Slovenia’s Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and TV) is a striking and moving piece of work. Sadly, at 42 minutes, the film might be prove difficult to programme at some short film festivals and it might not get all the exposure it deserves. But those festivals who will take a chance on the film will not leave their audiences disappointed.

You can read an interview with Katarina Morano HERE.

Film Information
Original Title: Ljubljana - München 15:27
Director: Katarina Morano
Country: Slovenia
Year: 2016
Run Time: 42 mins
Contact: Slovenian Film Center, info@sfc.si

24 June 2017, by Laurence Boyce