With “Lost Country,” director Vladimir Perisic has Serbia’s destiny in the rearview mirror


Vladimir Perisic, in Cannes, May 22, 2023.

Born in 1976 in Belgrade, then capital of Yugoslavia, the Serbian Vladimir Perisic described in Lost Country the heartbreak of growing up in a disappearing country. On a stopover in Paris in the middle of a tour of French previews, the director imposes himself, stationed in a corner of the offices which welcome us: tall, strong build enhanced at the shoulders by a thick jacket, serious face with a pierced clear gaze with amber reflections, so imperturbable that it seems to p you through Slavic modulations.

Also read the review: Article reserved for our subscribers “Lost Country”: the struggles of a teenager in a disintegrating Yugoslavia

Vladimir Perisic is the son of a Yugoslav screenwriter who worked in the backlash of the local New Wave, known as the “Black Wave”. He took me to the setshe remembers. And since there was often a need for a child to act in films, he quickly put me in front of the camera. I even starred in a series, I must not have been very good. » His mother, for her part, was an active member of the regime of Slobodan Milosevic (in power from 1989 to 2000), attached to cultural issues. We can recognize in her an obvious model of Marklena, the possessive mother of Lost Country which weighs on the political impulses of his teenage son.

With the baccalaureate in hand, the young man’s vocation first focused on literature. During a stay in Paris, I discovered Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Lautréamont, all the poetry of the 19the centuryhe explains. When I returned to Belgrade, protests were breaking out. That was the trigger: I had to completely revolutionize myself. So I left to study literature at the University of Paris-VII. [Paris-Diderot] with Julia Kristeva [philologue, psychanalyste et femme de lettres]. I wanted to become a writer, but I had great doubts about my ability to do so in the French language. So I returned to cinema and joined Fémis [la grande école parisienne] in the production section. »

“Find my place”

From his graduation film, Dremano Oko (2003), Vladimir Perisic’s cinema is haunted by the history of Serbia, which he examines in the rearview mirror. The awareness that Yugoslavia had ended did not take hold in Serbia until very latehe reacts. For example, my grandfather, who was a communist resistance fighter, celebrated the anniversary of the Yugoslav Republic until 2011, the year he died. Although it has not existed since 1991! I come from this story: the great Yugoslav cinema had disappeared, Serbian cinema never really started, and I had to find my place in the middle of all that.. »

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