The High Sun

Not available for screening anymore

The High Sun (Zvizdan)

Directed by Dalibor Matanić

  • Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia 2015; 123 min
  • Original version: Croatian
  • Genre: Drama
    • Jury Prize - Un Certain Regard
    • Best Film, Outstanding Actress (Tihana Lazović), FIPRESCI Award - FF Cottbus
    • Grand Jury Prize for Fiction and Human Rights - FIFDH
    • Best Actress (Tihana Lazovic) (Balkan Competition) - Prishtina IFF

  • Croatian submission for the Academy Awards


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

Director's Statement

As a filmmaker, I have been long intrigued by the ever-present inter-ethnic hatreds 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.

My aim as a director was to contrast the lush natural world and the carefree certainty of youth with human actions that are the fruit of long-standing hatreds, history, tradition, confusion and fear, and to use cinematic storytelling to analyze the conditioned changes that influence the lives of young people in this region. In terms of performance, I wanted every character in the film who opposes the notion that love is all-important to be forced to confront the reasons that prevent them from acting humanely.

From the initial story’s light-hearted lack of restraint, we move to the war-ravaged and traumatised couple in the second story. In the final story we come to the present day and the hope that this time round, the young lovers, and their families, friends and neighbours, can raise themselves above the horrors of the past.

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.




International Sales


    Sebastien Chesneau