Three best pals from high school remember the past and confront fears of the future in the modest but compelling Slovenian youth drama “A Trip.” Shot on some spectacularly scenic locations in only 14 days for less than$300,000, the tightly scripted, impressively lensed tale marks helmer-writer Nejc Gazvoda as a talent to watch. Pic should ride the coattails of its Sarajevo fest competition world preem to solid box office at home and further fest berths abroad.
Temperamental looker Ziva (Nina Rakovec), buff soldier Gregor (Jure Henigman) and tart-tongued, tubby gay guy Andrej (Luka Cimpric) take off for the seaside as was their wont in more carefree years. But now, as young adults, life isn’t so simple.
As they drive, drink and converse, stopping occasionally to relieve themselves, swim and camp, we learn Andrej has dropped out of the university, Gregor is afraid of being killed in Afghanistan, and Ziva has a secret of her own. When Gregor and Ziva finally act on their long-simmering attraction, it triggers a bout of truth-telling that threatens the trio’s long-time bonds.
Gazvoda’s emotionally honest script captures the alienation and uncertainty of a generation that lacks purpose and ideals. Although they come on a little too strong at first, his three thesps ultimately reward him with nuanced performances of heightened naturalism.
Shooting mostly in tight close up with a Canon 7D evo PL54, talented cinematographer Marko Brdar makes inspired use of Andrej’s car, alternating cramped interior shots with lyrical looks at the green landscape speeding by. Not only does he find the most magical looking on-location light, he also plays memorably with the frame line, as when Gregor’s kite floats into view on the horizon and we only gradually see that he is flying it from the top of the car, or when Andrej jumps on a trampoline at an amusement park.
Synth-pop score by electronic rock band New Wave Syria also stands out in the good-looking tech package.