A teacher is attacked by a group of nationalistic hooligans. As it turns out, some of the group members are in her class, and at school the next day she starts an experiment. All students must hand in their phones and are given an assignment: write an essay about love and compassion. The teacher locks the classroom door and disappears without any explanation. What takes place in the classroom over the next day and night mirrors Serbia’s recent and brutal history, the many emotions and impulses that affect the Serbian nation, and the ways in which Serbia still somehow manages to keep its people together.
The actors in NEXT TO ME are students from the art academy in Belgrade, where director Stevan Filipović teaches. The teacher is portrayed by Mirjana Karanovic, one of the best known actors in the Balkans. She has worked closely together with Filipović and the actors to develop the film through a number of workshops. The result is a moving film with highly credible performances.
This film is sected for our program by the Norwegian film critic Einar Guldvog Staalesen. He will introduce it on one of the screenings during TIFF - see our program or tiff.no.