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HEAVEN (2021, SRB) – 7.5/10

A full seven years after “Atomski zdesna”, one of the leading filmmakers from Serbia, Srđan Dragojević, presented a surrealistic black comedy – satire – fantasy at the festival in Locarno, Switzerland. “Heavens” or “Heavens Above” movie is divided into three parts, and all three parts are not only somehow connected, but in each of them some divine miracle will happen. It is a film that deals with religion and how people today generally look at religion and what they expect from it, but also how this same religion is largely responsible for corruption, corruption and the general loss of morality in these areas. Somehow I have the impression that the more people swear by religion, the worse and more dangerous they are, and one of those who was bypassed by the Christian renaissance that occurred in the early nineties is Stojan (Goran Navojec).

He and his wife Nada (Ksenija Marinković) and daughter Julija are refugees and settled in a Belgrade slum in the early nineties. The first segment of the film is called “Sin” and takes place in 1993, and although their life is extremely difficult, Stojan is an honest and just man devoted to his family. But after a bizarre incident when changing a light bulb, a halo will grow over his head that will never be removed, and after the local priest and fortune teller tell him that the halo could be removed by becoming sinful, he will become a completely different person. He will turn into an evil, corrupt guy, and as such he will not fare badly in life, we will see in the next acts of the film.

In the second part, which takes place in 2001 and is called “Mercy”, Bojan Navojec is in the foreground as the mentally retarded young man Gojko, who will be sentenced to death after killing a businessman and his wife in order to get hold of his mobile phone. The retarded Gojko is convinced that his saint, Saint Petka, is speaking to him through his cell phone, and when the team that should take him to the firing squad appears, it will turn out that another miracle happened there and Gojko turned into a child.

In the third and last story “The Golden Calf”, which takes place in 2026, Gojko is a painter diagnosed with schizophrenia, while Julija, the daughter of Gojko and Nada from the first segment, is the owner of a gallery that will display one of Gojko’s paintings in the window. And the environment is truly post-apocalyptic, the gap between the rich and the poor is growing, and the streets are full of homeless people. Among them is Nada te Smrda (Radoslav Milenković), a prison guard who refused to shoot the baby that Gojko turned into in the second story. It is he who will discover that Gojko’s paintings have a special value and that just looking at them makes him full and he no longer feels hungry.

Once again, Dragojević wisely and thoughtfully caricatures the real social situation and in a somewhat hermetic way depicts a society in which good people must become evil in order to succeed. It seems to me that “Heavens” is also a fine, subtle criticism not only of today’s Serbia, but also of practically all of our post-transition countries where the fukaras have done best, and the ordinary people have a little more, so they will really be left to imagine how they eat meat watching some image because the politicians will try to convince him that it has nutritional value. Although “Nebesa” cannot possibly fit in the same sentence with Dragojević’s early films such as “Beautiful village, beautiful place” or “Rane”, it is a film that I found even better and more interesting than his previous “Parade” and ” Atomic right”.