Yesterday I took off in a spring-like Münich, to land – only 45 minutes later – in the deepest and wettest Autumn in Zagreb. Europe might be under way to unification, but not weather-wise. Since I’m one of the rare human beings who likes heavy grey clouds and pounding rain, I felt great at the start of this Zagreb Do festival week.

And the good times went on. After a nice meal in the company of former commissioning editor but now turned producer Hans-Robert Eisenhauer ( a salad for the gentleman and a lasagna for me, thank you…) we went to the opening screening of Happily Ever After, a bitter-sweet personal analysis by Tatjana Bozic. A perfect opening for the festival. Although the film is light-hearted and entertaining, it deals with a rather serious subject: a young woman who has in a way a (society-imposed) romantic image of love and marriage, and pursues that ideal throughout relations with different men. She is – surprise, surprise – disappointed time after time. Love is not an easy thing. Fed up with the subsequent little drama’s and facing once more failure in her marriage with the loveable Dutch Rogier Kappers, she sets out on a journey to find out where it always went wrong. To find the answer she visits (most of) her former partners and indulges in soul-searching conversations. These scenes are intercut with sequences from her current marriage, letting the viewer in on the fights she has with soft-natured Rogier. The result is quite unique. At the very start I was a bit frustrated by some out-of-focus shots but just a couple of minutes later I was so sucked into the story that I didn’t even notice them any more. And at the end I was very relieved that after all the misery she had to go through, it now seems that… No, better not give the ending away. Go and find out for yourself.

I suppose that how this documentary will be perceived will depend very much on the viewer’s own situation: man, woman, young, old, married, divorced or single. I spent a couple of very nice minutes with H.R. trying to imagine what would happen in our marriages if we would set up this kind of experiment. I am not at liberty to divulge the content of that conversation, but believe me, our feelings travelled between horror and abundant fun and back.

The evening ended with the festive cutting (and eating) of a huge cake, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the festival. It was a good occasion to congratulate organiser Nenad Puhovsky and his team for a job well done.

Well, the list of films I want to see has been drafted and I’m now setting out to get the tickets. This afternoon I will also meet for the first time the participants of the training programme and I’m very much looking forward to that.

Stay put. I’ll be back tomorrow.

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