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A Wonderful Night in Split No One's Son


No One's Son

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Ivan is a 36-year old crippled war veteran, an ex-rock singer, who lost both legs some 15 years ago during the Homeland War in Croatia, when Serbian paramilitary soldiers forced him to walk through a minefield. Now, bound to a wheel chair, Ivan is facing the harsh reality of his everyday life: his ex-wife Marta and is about to leave for good to New Zealand, taking with her their 8 year old son, Josip. His fellow ex-comrades-in-arms are continuingly committing suicides and Ivanís only choice is to live with his mother and father. Occasionally he visits prostitutes and smokes grass he buys from a local dealer. Ivanís father Izidor, who was a political prisoner many years ago in the former Yugoslavia, is now running for Croatian Parliament as an independent candidate. Ivan refuses to participate in his fatherís campaign, feeling that he would be used for his fatherís own political goals.

The problems start when Simo, an impoverished Serbian refugee who has spent the last 12 years in exile in Serbia, returns to the town. Simo unexpectedly visits Ivanís father Izidor to extort some money from him, in order to renovate his long-abandoned house. Simo knows a certain secret from the past which can ruin Izidorís political career. It was Simo who, as a communist official, imprisoned Izidor 37 years ago on political charges. Besides this, Izidor soon discovers that his wife Ana, Ivanís mother, has slept with Simo 37 years ago, in order to help Izidor while he was in prison. Simo unexpectedly returns to the house to see Ana while Izidor was out campaigning. Ana shoots Simo, trying to hide the fact that he is actually Ivanís biological father. Soon Izidor joins Ana in getting rid of the dead body, thus trying to prevent the investigation lead by a police inspector, while Ivan refuses to participate in their dealings.

But the truth about Ivanís biological father soon comes to the surface and Ivan loses the very last of the reasons that kept him alive. He decides to end his life, without actually committing suicide, by provoking hard-line Croatian nationalists by singing Serbian nationalistic songs. At first he doesnít succeed, so he ends up in a mental institution, in a room with other patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. His father Izidor visits him and tries to get him out of the institution. However, Izidorís efforts are unsuccessful and Ivan finally manages to provoke mental patients, who were prisoners in Serbian concentration camps, to kill him. While Ivan is being smothered to death by his provoked roommates, his ex-wife Marta comes to the institution with their son Josip to pay a visit to Ivan before leaving for good. Ivanís son fails to recognize that his father is now dead, gets disappointed that Ivan doesnít want to talk to him and together with Marta leaves the institution.

NOTE: The story is not told in chronological order.

Arsen Anton Ostojic © 2004-2013