For Serbian filmmaker Mila Turajlic, a locked door in her mother’s apartment in Belgrade has kept her family separated from their past for over 70 years, and her documentary provides the gateway to both her remarkable family history and her country’s tumultuous political inheritance. As the filmmaker begins an intimate conversation with her mother, the political fault line running through their home reveals a house and a country haunted by history. The chronicle of a family in Serbia turns into a searing portrait of an activist in times of great turmoil, questioning the responsibility of each generation to fight for their future.
Turajlic tells the entire story through the experiences of her mother, Srbijanka, a tireless dissident who fought against multiple regimes. The film takes place over the course of several months, and while it uses the conceit of the locked door it is more about Mila and Srbijanka bonding over their probing, and at times humorous, conversation about Serbia’s past, present and future. While Serbia has typically had more attention focused on its war criminals than its dissidents, this film allows audiences to dive into a world seldom seen.