All Alone – Sam samcat (2018)
Directed by: Bobo Jelcic | 75 minutes | drama | Actors: Rakan Rushaidat, Predrag ‘Miki’ Manojlovic, Snjezana Sinovcic, Lea Breyer, Vanessa Glodjo, Jagoda Kralj, Nina Erak-Svrtan, Vinko Kraljevic, Ivana Krizmanic, Gorana Marin, Jadranka Djokic, Petra Bokic, Niksa Krivacijer Bajrovic
How wonderfully peaceful life would be without the continuous bombardment of words, words, words and words. That’s pretty much the first thing that comes to mind after seeing the Croatian feature film ‘All Alone’. In this short drama we meet Marko, a young divorced father who wants nothing more than a more extensive visitation arrangement with his daughter Lea. To achieve this, he needs the cooperation of the local authorities. To help with this, he turns to his aunt and uncle with whom he moved in after the divorce.
In the 45 minutes that ‘All Alone’ lasts, we see Marko grow increasingly desperate due to the lack of empathy from the authorities and the lack of progress in his quest. It doesn’t help that the Croatian bureaucracy is old-fashioned. Rules are rules, unless you know someone from the civil service who is willing to help you for a fee. Now Marko’s uncle knows a local bureaucrat, but he is often too busy and spends a large part of his day chatting words, words, words and words.
The first half hour of ‘All Alone’ we see Marko wandering desperately in the bureaucratic maze, but also how happy he is when he finally sees his daughter. It is a conscious and justifiable choice of the makers that this first half hour consists of a lot of repetition and a bombardment of words, words, words and words. In the second part we get the variation. Some absurd humor comes along, Marko has an enlightening ‘conversation’ with his niece and the drama surrounding the disputed visitation arrangement comes to a climax.
Although the drama is never completely satisfying, ‘All Alone’ is more captivating and ingenious than you might think. The importance of each scene has been thought through, the reruns serve a purpose and the film is always believable. We get the Slavic culture as a bonus, with the characteristically wonderful music and the warm and oppressive family dynamics at the same time. Certainly not a masterpiece, but a clever film that has something useful to say about human communication. Even if those are just words, words, words and words.