The past weekend in Berlin was all in the name of the Neues Slowenisches Kino V organised by the Periskop Berlin. Cosy evenings in Kino Sputnik were not only filled with well-crafted films, music acts and a photography exhibition, but also bitter-sweet emotions were awoken by the common thread of millennial generation fighting for its spot under the sun.

Urša Menart’s masterpiece My Last Year as a Loser (Ne bom več luzerka) screened on Friday and immediately set out the mood for the entire festival. Looking at the photos of The most beautiful city in the world captured by Matjaž Rušt and Robert Marin made us all feel melancholically nostalgic. After a social gathering of many Slovenians living in Berlin, some of which drive in as creators and a few internationals as significant others further reenacted the setting of a casual Friday night in Ljubljana’s Kinodvor rather than a shabby chic bar on a Kreuzberg’s rooftop with Niko Novak’s deep blues sounding in the background.

Photo: Matjaž Rušt

The Menart’s lead story is a story that many of us millennials can deeply relate to. Well-insighted plot bitter-sweetly reminds us of battles that we need(ed) to fight to succeed or survive in Ljubljana, swinging from hope to despair at all times. Trying to live up to the expectation that our parents kind-intentionally set out for us or to loose tightropes of those whose starting lives are long secured. Slovenia’s potential is much too often just a waste land that is hard to be taken over by fresh generations under current rigid rules of authorities. It makes it even harder when most of your peers, mostly gems of the generation, are long scattered across the world despite the fact that “over there” is often even harder. As one of the characters in Menart’s film humorously sums up: “It’s better to be a waitress in Berlin, than to be a waitress in Ljubljana.

Photo: Matjaž Rušt

A quest of millennials continued into Saturday’s superb selection of short films of Ljubljana short film festival (FeKK). Peter Cerovšek’s film Fundaments (Fundamenti) is yet another beautiful contrast of those who are trying to fill the emptiness by building something new and those who would rather move on. We should all be going somewhere (Sčasoma) is what “lost souls” are telling each other, especially in the forgotten parts of Slovenia depicted in the short film by Aron Horváth and short experimental In my younger years (Dere sen jas mali bija) by Tina Ščavničar. Journey of going somewhere also includes going inwards. It could be a poetic imaginative escape from the cold-hearted Slovenian mother figure as in the Nellie (Nežka) by Gaja Möderndorfer, brutal disruption of your own mind as the Memory Maschine (Mašina spomina) by Kristina Kokalj or a telepathic whispers to those who do not listen as in the Ester Ivakić’s signature short film. Sandra Jovanovska takes it even further in her animated Soma (Soma): our wants and needs are a drug that both elevate and destroy us. Yet doing nothing out of fear and respect will kill you as Blaž Kutin underlines with his quirky cinematic short The final day of Rudolf Nietsche (Poslednji dan Rudolfa Nietscheja).

The second day of the festival was concluded by Darko Štante’s Consequences (Posledice) which served an emotionally intense plot of a lost millennial that keeps being molded into outdated systems, rejected by his unforgiving mother and finally by himself after trying to live as his authentic-self for a few short moments.

The festival concluded on a high note – starting with a live poetry reading of Lidija Dimkovska (Schwarz auf Weiß) and Jure Jakob (Werkstückhen), followed by the music film Remains – Confessions to the ghost by Matevž Jerman in Nik Novak and ending with the beautiful drama History of Love (Zgodovina ljubezni) by Sonja Prosenc. The latter once again brought to the surface a classical Slovenian mother figure whose traumatic absence triggers almost dreamlike epopee of her daughter’s Iva through deep sadness, self-discovery and final release. Leaving us with soft believing that everything can be conquered – even as millenials in Slovenia.

Photo: Matjaž Rušt

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