Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia


THE HIGH SUN shines a light on three love stories, set in three consecutive decades, in two neighboring Balkan villages with a long history of inter-ethnic hatred. It is a film about the fragility – and intensity – of forbidden love.

In the first story, set in 1991, a romantic attraction is forced underground when love becomes a forbidden luxury in the pre-war atmosphere of madness, confusion and fear.

In the second story, set in 2001, the war is over but the lovers find it impossible to turn their infatuation into an ongoing relationship: the scars of the war are still too fresh and cannot heal that easily.

The third story takes place in 2011, when love can finally take root, if the lovers can break free of the past. Evil and suspicion have not completely vanished from their lives and catharsis is not easy to achieve, but it is possible once again.

Director's Statement

As a filmmaker, I have long been intrigued by the ever-present inter-ethnic hatred in the Balkan region, and conflicts rooted in war, religion or politics. With this film, I wanted to explore three separate stories of a Croatian boy and a girl from a Serbian family, across three decades. The stories all take place in the same location, in the sun-scorched villages, and the young lovers are always in their early twenties. Using the lens of these three stories, I wanted to tease out the accumulated atmosphere of evil that smoulders among the damaged communities in this region.

I am by no means the only one who thinks that in our young century, the problem of hatred towards “the other” is particularly serious, worrying, and actually alarmingly dangerous. There is no shortage of examples – Islamophobia, neo-Nazism, chauvinism, racism, and the rejection of previously accepted immigrant groups. I believe that there is no better way to make a film about this subject than by making a love story, and by contrasting intolerance with acceptance, and fear and hatred with hope, forgiveness and love.

I have always wanted to make a film that would act as a mirror for all of us in these regions; that would bring us face to face with the moments when we allowed ourselves to act, not as ordinary decent people, but as a community controlled by darker, pre-conditioned urges. I want to show what happened when people followed a path that led to shameful euphoria in the short term, but that ultimately caused deep unhappiness and unnecessary suffering.

THE HIGH SUN celebrates selflessness and love – the very best of human nature that is still struggling to re-emerge victorious in our region. Because there is one thing I am sure about: at the end of the day, politics and extreme nationalism never win. Love does.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Dalibor Matanić

Written by: Dalibor Matanić

Produced by: Ankica Juric Tilic, Petra Vidmar, Nenad Dukić

Cinematography: Marko Brdar

Editing: Tomislav Pavlic

Production Design: Mladen Ožbolt

Costume Design: Ana Savic Gecan

Original Score: Alen Sinkauz, Nenad Sinkauz

Sound Design: Julij Zornik

Cast: Tihana Lazović (Jelena/Nataša/Marija), Goran Marković ( Ivan/Ante/Luka), Nives Ivanković (Jelena's/Nataša's Mother), Trpimir Jurkić (Ivan's/Luka's Father), Dado Ćosić (Saša)

Nominations and Awards

  • People's Choice Award 2016
  • Feature Film Selection 2015