The Last Socialist Artifact (Područje bez signala)

Origin and Year: Croatia, 2021 Director: Dalibor Matanic
Runnning time: 2 x 53 min

Oleg and Nikola are an unlikely pair. Oleg has too much energy, while Nikola comes across as a sleepwalker. Even less likely is their destination. They arrive in a forgotten Balkan town interested in a local turbine factory that has been idle for twenty years, with a plan to restart it with the help of money from a mysterious foreign investor. Over the course of six episodes, as we get to know each of the main characters better by being told from a different perspective each time, we follow their attempt to build a successful business and revive a town where everyone has long since given up hope. The adaptation of a novel by the well-known Croatian author Robert Perišić won one of the main prizes at the Series Mania festival in France and dominated also the Sarajevo Film Festival’s TV competition. Deservedly so. Apart from the excellent performances of all the filmmakers involved, the miniseries managed to capture the melancholy of European post-communist countries a few decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain and tell a story that is about the past and the future.