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Museum of the Revolution

Muzej revolucije

Half a century ago, socialist Yugoslavia was planning to build a museum with a bold vision: “to safeguard the truth about us”. With its large cement rooftop curving toward the sky, the Museum of the Revolution of the People of Yugoslavia was meant to be an architectural centerpiece of Belgrade.

The dark labyrinthine basement of this utopian project — the only part of it that was ever built before Yugoslavia was no more — remains today secluded in one of the busiest parts of Belgrade. A little girl named Milica lives in this space, where she spends most of her time with Mara, an old and nearly deaf lady who teaches her how to knit, dress up dolls and play simple games. Mara earns her keep by begging and selling old clothes, toys, and books about communism in the flea market.

One spring, Milica’s mother Vera comes back to her after she had been gone for years. Soon after that, city authorities kick all of the inhabitants out of the Museum, as they start clearing the area for the construction of a new concert hall. Milica, Vera, Mara, and others roam the city and sleep rough. As Vera pulls Milica into the world of money, hustling and drugs, the little girl and Mara drift apart. Trying to get away from her problems, Vera runs out of town, taking Milica with her. The city throws a big open air concert of classical music on top of the Museum’s foundations, to celebrate the new urban development. Meanwhile, Mara is left to manage on her own.

As the first days of winter arrive, all of the spaces that the protagonists inhabited are razed to the ground. Among the debris, the camera explores traces of their presence.
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