ONCE WE WERE GOOD FOR YOUA Bili Smo Vam Dobri
CROATIA – 2021 – DCP – color – 72’
Direction: Branko Schmidt
Screenplay: Sandra Antoli, Ognjen Svilicic, Branko Schmidt
Cinematography: Dario Hacek
Editing: Hrvoje Mršic
Set design: Ivan Ivan
Original music: Damir Avdic
Costumes: Vedrana Rapic
Cast: Rene Bitorajac (Dinko), Slaven Knezovic (Crni), Nikša Butijer (Štef), Rakan Rushaidat (Darac), Milivoj Beader (Kuzma), Goran Navojec (Hunta)
Producers: Stanislav Babis
Production: Telefilm D.O.O.
Finding out that the old Steam Mill building, which was supposed to be the Museum of Homeland Thanksgiving, will be repurposed in to a shopping mall, the veterans take it over with the intent to save it for the museum. They do not care so much for the museum,but defending the Steam Mill, they want to show those at power that Croatia today is not the kind of country they fought for. The negotiations with the minister in charge, to use another location for the museum, fail. After they find out that the police will try todislodge them by force, the veterans place the gas bottles around the building, threatening to blow up the mill and die fighting for it.The police special forces arrive at the scene. The crisis escalates with the arrival of Hunta, our heroes’ former commanding officer. He manages to ease the tension and the police leave. Talking individually to the protest leaders, he manages to divide them and persuades them to leave the Steam Mill…
THE DIRECTOR:: BRANKO SCHMIDT
Branko Schmidt is born in Osijek, Croaria in 1957. After an attempt to study economy he enrolled at the Academy of Dramatic Arts Film and TV direction in Zagreb. In 1988 he directed his first full-length feature film Sokol didn’t like him , which was based on a drama piece of the same name by Fabijan Šovagovi?. At the Pula Film Festival it receive the Debut of the Year Award. In the 1990’s he directed the feature films Djuka Begovi? (1991), Vukovar Returns Home (1994) and Christmas in Vienna (1997), which recieved the Golden Arena Award for best screenplay. His movie Queen of the Night have won two Goldeen Arena for script and production.
In 2006 with the film Put lubenica (The Melon Route), out of all other Schmidt’s movies, this one received the most awards – Critics Award ‘Oktavijan’ in Pula and the Golden Arena for Best Actor, Grand Prix Golden Antigone for Best Score at the film festival in Montpellier; the film was the winner of the film festival in Haifa and received more than twenty awards on other film festivals around the world. The 2009 film Metastaze (Metastases) won the Grand Golden Arena for Best Festival Film, Golden Arena for Best Actor and Golden Arena for Best Make-Up.
Metastases also won the Grand Prix at Belgrade IFF, and Branko Schmidt was awarded the annual state Award Vladimir Nazor.
In 2012 he completed the feature film Ljudožder vegetarijanac (Vegetarian Cannibal). The film won five Golden Arenas at Pula Film Festival: Golden Arena for Best Director, Golden Arena for Best Cinematography, Golden Arena for Best Actor, for Best Screenplay and for Best Make-Up.
Vegetarian Cannibal was the third movie by Branko Schmidt which was the Croatian candidate for the Oscar Award. The film was also screened at the following festivals: in Austin, Texas, USA, where it won the Best Actor award, then festivals in London, Hamburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Luxembourg, also in Setubal, Portugal where it won the Best Director award, in Brussels with Best Actor award, as well as in festivals in Kairo, Cottbus, Vukovar and Ljubljana. Already in 2014, Croatian RadioTelevision produced his next film Imena višnje (Ungiven) which was also awarded several Golden Arenas in Pula in 2016, the International Film Critics Award (FIPRESCI), and the Golden Apricot award as the best film at the festival in Ereven.
Ungiven also won the Ecumenical Prize in Cottbus.
With his 12th feature film A Bili Smo Vam Dobri (Once we were Good for You), which tackled the problems of war veteran population in a novel way, Branko Schmidt won the Golden Arenas for Best Screenplay and Best Actor at the last year’s Pula festival.
“In the filmWe Were Once Good For You, the idea of a war veterans’ rebellion is treated from the perspective of the “ordinary man”- a microcosm of a Croatian veteran who is disapointed by his unrealized dreams of a free and prosperous Croatia, a lack ofenthusiasm and not being understood by his fellow citizens. Even though this is a critical political drama that does not sugarcoat orglorify veterans, its goal is to portray them with truth and empathy.The sell-off of Croatia and the rampage of neoliberal capitalism has increasingly led Croatia into debt slavery and endangered thefoundations and sovereignty of the state for which the veterans fought. In part, this scenario is inspired by the “tent scandal” duringwhich a group of veterans occupied a busy street in the Croatian capital Zagreb for months. However, unlike with the “tent” situation,the rebellion in the film is not motivated by political goals, but is rather an attempt by a group of veterans to shine a light on thesystematic destruction and sale of Croatia by corrupt and culturally alienated power structures.”
1988 Sokol ga nije volio (Sokol didn’t like him)
1991 Djuka Begovi? 1994 Vukovar se vraca kuci (Vukovar Returns Home)
1997 Bozic u Becu (Christmas in Vienna)
2000 Srce nije u modi