Swiss sales outfit Lightdox has acquired “Museum of the Revolution,” the feature debut of U.S.-based, Serbian director Srđan Keča, ahead of its world premiere in IDFA’s Luminous strand, Variety has learned.
The documentary is set in Belgrade, where, in 1961, there were plans to build a grand museum as a tribute to Socialist Yugoslavia. Meant to “safeguard the truth” about the Yugoslav people, the plan never got beyond the construction of the basement. The derelict building now tells a very different story from the one envisioned by its initiators 60 years ago. In the damp, pitch-dark space live the outcasts of a society reshaped by capitalism. In detail, “Museum of the Revolution” follows a girl who earns cash by cleaning car windows with her mother. Meanwhile, the child develops a close friendship with an old woman who also lives in the basement. Against the background of a transforming city, the three women find refuge in each other.
Commenting on the acquisition, Lightdox’s CEO and co-founder Anna Berthollet, told Variety: “We feel so happy and genuinely privileged to come on board and defend this stunning piece of cinematic art from a team we deeply admire. Srđan Keča’s ‘Museum of the Revolution’ is a masterful look at society and the failed promises of capitalism, while also being an intimate portrait of the people left on the margins.”
Keča added: “This film was born of a desire to tell a parable about life inside a structure built of aborted dreams. To me, this has been the core experience of post-Yugoslav societies, fast-tracked into capitalism and staggering levels of inequality. The film focuses on those left most vulnerable by this process, and finds them in the darkness of a space that sets off the story’s allegorical layer. From there, I wanted to see how far I could push a character-based observational documentary into becoming an essay film, while keeping the core qualities of both forms intact.”
“Museum of the Revolution” was produced by Vanja Jambrović for Croatia’s Restart and Keča for Serbia’s UZROK, in co-production with Lukáš Kokeš for Czech outfit Nutprodukc. The project was also backed by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia, Film Center Serbia, the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program with support from Just Films/Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundations, the European Union’s Creative MEDIA program, Croatian Radiotelevision, the Croatian Audiovisual Center, the Czech Film Fund and Geo Television.