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The Happiest Man in the World

dir. TEONA STRUGAR MITEVSKA

The great creative duo Mitevska and Tataragic have conceived a memorable, mind-boggling drama that premiered at Venice, and then travelled to festivals and won awards all around the world. Full of incredible twists, humour and human warmth, set thirty years after the war in Sarajevo, the film deals with a lasting trauma and its aftermath. 

Asja, a 40-year-old woman from Sarajevo, ends up spending her Saturday at a blind dating event. She’s matched with Zoran, a 43-year-old banker. A couple seems like they’re good for each other until she finds they were once on opposite sides of the battlefield. Now, they both must relive the pain in their search for forgiveness. Based on a true incident that happened to Elma Tataragic, the co-writer of the film, who was injured during the siege of Sarajevo and later, during her studies accidentally met “the” man. A compelling take on a city still processing the effects of war and the possibility of moving on.

SHOWTIMES | Special video message from the director Teona Strugar Mitevska with Q&A

Saturday, 25 November – 19:15

NAJSREKJNIOT CHOVEK NA SVETOT | 2022 | 95 min | North Macedonia, Denmark, Belgium, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina

PRODUCTIONLabina Mitevska – Sisters and Brother Mitevski; Entre chien et loup, Vertigo, Frau Film, Terminal 3, SCCA/pro.ba
CASTJelena Kordic Kuret, Adnan Omerovic, Labina Mitevska, Ana Kostovska
SCREENPLAYElma Tataragic, Teona Strugar Mitevska
CINEMATOGRAPHYVirginie Saint Martin
EDITINGPer K. Kirkegaard
LANGUAGEBosnian
SUBTITLESEnglish

FESTIVALS & AWARDS (SELECTION) 

Palm Springs IFF, 2023 – Special Mention | Venice FF, 2022 – Premiere | Toronto IFF, 2022 | Les Arcs European FF, 2022 – Grand Jury Prize, Young Jury Prize | Pula FF, 2023 – Best Actor, Special Mention | Brussels IFF, 2023 – Best Actress, Best Sound | North Macedonia’s Official Submission to the 95th Academy Awards | European Film Awards, 2023

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

What defines us: our ethnicity, religion, gender? What divides us or unites us? This is a story about precariousness of life, the chance encounters bringing together the aggressor and the victim, reviving the painful past; this is a story of impossible connections, of love and absurdity. The film begins as a humour-driven excursion and develops into a mountain of experiences, as the characters seek recognition and responsibility to reach a point of forgiveness. I see this film as a symphony of choreographed movements unpacking layers of emotions which slowly entangle the viewer to a point of vertigo-like state. Location is essential: an 80’s hotel, built in brutalist architectural style, witness to Ex-Yugoslav past, and then there is the injured city of Sarajevo, a testament to open wounds and pains of former times.

DIRECTOR’S BIO 

Macedonian born Teona Strugar Mitevska started as a child actor, trained as a painter and graphic designer, and studied film at NYU-Tisch School of Arts. She directed her first short, Veta, in 2001, and has been making films ever since. Her previous film God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya premiered at the Berlin Film Festival 2019, where it won the Ecumenical Prize and the German Guild Film Prize, followed by more than 30 international awards, most notably the 2019 LUX Prize by the European Parliament. In 2018, France’s Ministry of Culture awarded her the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. The Happiest Man in the World is her newest film; and she is currently in pre-production of Mother, her first English language film. Teona Strugar Mitevska lives between Skopje and Brussels with her son Kaeliok.