Faiths and Conspiracies (Vere i Zavere)

Directors: Zanko Tomic, Ivan Zivkovic, Writer: Aleksandar Tišma, Screenplay: Djordje Milosavljevic, Production Company: Playground Production Executive producer: Marita Matijević, Copyright holder: Radio-Television of Vojvodina, Serbia, 2016, 12×50′, Rights: Upon request.

The series is based on a novel by Aleksandar Tišma (1924-2003), a significant contemporary Serbian writer of Jewish origins whose books have been translated into 17 languages. The story is of forbidden love between Serbian war hero Sergije Rudić and German beauty Inge Lebensheim set in Novi Sad, in Yugoslavia, modern-day Serbia. The story begins in the 1940s, just as the war breaks out and then goes through the turbulent era leading up to the 1960s. The Germans have fled back to Germany, everything has changed, but love remains. A story about WWII and its consequences in the Central-European town, Novi Sad, where Serbian, German, Jewish and other communities used to live in peace before the war, and in this region underwent significant political, social and ethnic changes.

Inge Lebensheim played by Nina Jankovic a gorgeous German girl from Novi Sad, who, 20 years after the war, is back from Vienna in her hometown Novi Sad, and Sergije Rudić played by Goran Bogdan (Fargo, The Panthers), a war hero, unable to cope with post-war life, comes to Novi Sad to visit his friend, Eugen, who is obsessed with saving books from abandoned Jewish houses. Sergije does it every weekend in order to forget his professional and emotional life in Belgrade. Inge fled the country because her father was one of the Nazi leaders in Novi Sad. The war took everything from her, making her incapable of sustaining emotional relationships. She married Balthasar Schultheis (Nikola Rakocevic), a man she cannot stand, but who is rational and successful. Sergije joined the League of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia and ended up in the war as a graduate, and nearly lost his life. However, his caring friend, a lonely book-loving man, Eugen Patak (Bojan Zirović), saved him from a tragic fate. Sadly, the death of Sergije’s first love and his comrade was imprinted on his memory and left him feeling guilty and broken.

Although old-high school friends, they have not met for 20 years. Inge had to flee the country at the end of the war since her father was one of the leading Nazis. This post-war romance of two people in Yugoslavia of the 1940s is accompanied by their fear that this may be their last chance to regain their war-torn lives.

It is exactly the loss of illusions in collision with the reality and cynicism of the new age that makes the backbone and main motive of this story. The reason for their re-encounter is somewhat cynical. Namely, by the acquisition of various international legal circumstances, Inge was given back her family apartment in Novi Sad, which was, as for almost all Danube Germans, was taken away by the AVNOJ (Yugoslav resistance against occupation) and the new communist authorities. However, the tenants’ who occupy the apartment are still there and they can not do anything with the returned property. Therefore her husband proposes to go to Novi Sad and find a solution with the tenants. Their hosts, as well as mediators in negotiations, are Inge’s cousin Magda (Dragana Dabovic), with her husband Milan Stepanov (Ivan Djordjevic), whom she saved from the post-war persecution of the Germans. And while Inge is reveling in the re-discovering the smells, sounds and memories of her youth, and pampering the numerous children of Magda, Baltazar thinks only about how to do the job as soon as possible in Novi Sad, to sell the apartment to the tenants and return to their life in Vienna.

Due to the changed circumstances – for the tenants, Sergije’s parents, dentists Dusan Rudic (Sasa Torlakovic) and Lizaveti (Mira Furlan) -the fact that they did not know their apartment doesn’t belong to them is a source of great discomfort. That’s why in the negotiating with the old owners of the apartment they send their son Sergije. At the insistence of the host, Milan Stepanov, who wants to gather and revive pre-war Novi Sad, the negotiations turn into more then a couple of drinks to celebrate the reunited school friends. This is the start of the love story of Inge and Sergius. Their relationship lasts only a few months, from April to July 1962 in Novi Sad, but will have dramatic consequences for them and the people close to them.

Goran Bogdan (Sergije Rudic), Nina Jankovic (Inge Lebensheim), Nikola Rakocevic (Baltazar Sultajs), Bojan Zirovic (Eugen Patak), Mira Furlan (Lizaveta Rudic), Dragana Dabovic (Magda Stepanov), Ivan Djordjevic Dugalic (Albert Schultays), Draginja Voganjac (Gizela Lebensheim), Sanja Mikitisin (Boni Schultays), Valentin Wencel (Jakob Lebensheim), Sasa Torlakovic (Dusan Rudic), Mira Banjac (Nadezda Nestorovic), Radoje Cupic (Mijušković).

Scriptwriter: Žanko Tomić, First director: Srđan Mihajlović Program director: Slobodan Arežina Production director: Vanja Kranjac Executive producer: Sarita Matijević Director of the series: Milan Stojanović Editor: Ivan Živković, Žanko Tomić Scenography: Đorđe Milosavljević, Žanko Tomić Composer: Boris Kovač