The Hardest Part in Leon Lučev’s Career Earned Him a Heart of Sarajevo

A view of a driver’s seat or the environment from the driver’s position, the least possible amount of dialogue, focus on details – a well-thought selection of scenes identifies the viewer with the protagonist in The Load, played by Leon Lučev, a driver driving a cooler truck during NATO’s 1999 bombing from Kosovo to central Serbia with unknown cargo. The fact that he doesn’t have a choice and is simply following orders raises essential questions of conscience, morality and humanity. A depiction of his daily life gives us a direct view of the way how a person aware of a crime starts to banalise and rationalise it to be able to live with the knowledge. For this role Lučev won the Heart of Sarajevo this year at SFF.

When Ognjen called me, he said he needed an actor able to carry a film without a single word but still be in every shot. Honestly, this is the hardest project in my career and the hardest role ever. The burden of the story, the load from the title, was also what I had to carry on my back as an actor and it wasn’t simple. Shooting was hard both physically and mentally. I felt a need to be part of this important story. I believe the subject matter is important, not only to us who witnessed these events and times, but also to younger generations. To them perhaps even more,” said Lučev.

Although director Ognjen Glavonić portrayed this actual event in depth in his documentary film Depth 2 in 2016, The Load much more focuses on the family story. The focus of this film is deliberately not on the cargo, but on the moral disintegration of man as a reflexion of a much broader image of the time. Lučev even said that he sometimes calls is a Balkan family film whose subject is taking responsibility since there are different loads one generation bequeathed to the other, and the other to yet another. There is a generation growing up, left bereft by the war and carrying a load on their backs.” For that reason the film title could be taken both literally and metaphorically.

Ognjen Glavonić’s debut film, which premiered in Cannes will take over ZFF’s screen in the main competition in three slots: Thursday, 15/11 at 1pm, Tuškanac cinema, and 9pm at Europa cinema, and Sunday, 18/11 at 4pm, Europa cinema.