A heist, a trio and a cross-border road movie with many surprises that geopolitically mirrors the Balkans, with the football World Cup as a goal, but a road full of pitfalls.

At the European Film Market of the 73rd Berlinale (from 16 to 26 February), French international sales company Reel Suspects, lead by Matteo Lovadina, will present in market premiere Savages, the first fiction feature film by Croatian filmmaker Dario Lonjak who had signed in 2021 the documentary mid-length feature The Eagle of Fiume (about Italian writer Gabriele D’Annunzio).

Produced by Jozo Patljak for Alka Film and having notably gone through the Pula Film Festival, Savages stars Alen Liverić, Branko Janković, Borko Perić, Dejan Aćimović and Slavko Sobin. Written by Velimir Grgić, Dario Lonjak and Ivo Balenović, the script centres on Croatian war veteran Zolja, Bosnian smuggler Jasmin, and Roma driver Mali, who all decide to rob a gas station to reach the final phase of the 2018 World Cup. Fleeing the police, they cross the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and get lost in a radical Islamist terrorist camp. In their fight for survival, we will discover their past, travelling from the Balkan wars of the 1990s to the fears of Europe in the 21st century.

Also in Reel Suspects’ line-up are If Yes, Okay by Dutch filmmaker Dick Verdult which will have its world premiere in the Harbour programme of the upcoming International Rotterdam Film Festival (from 25 January to 5 February). The plot revolves around the Spijkerbergs, an extremely wealthy but equally absurdly fanciful family. The father, a crackpot financier, collects miniature dioramas of historical atrocities. The mother is a has-been prima donna struggling with the vagaries of age and fame. But their daughter, who has inherited their privilege and occasional cruelty, is a rebellious teenager yearning to break out of this golden cage… Starring Lola Koppen, Peter Fengler and Ekaterina Levental, this dark comedy was produced by De Productie.

Also in the line-up is the Japanese horror and science-fiction title New Religion by Keishi Kondo which continues its festival tour and which will have its American premiere at Slamdance (from 20 to 26 January).