Lapot – short feature film
(pre-production phase)

The idea is to raise awareness and sensitivity for the challenges that older people are facing with. Using the language of a short feature movie, we intend to emphasize a concrete sociological and anthropological phenomenon of ageing and rite of passage to death, that is present both in Japanese and Serbian society and tradition. This social family drama with elements of magical realism raises the question of the responsibility of elderly care within families. In Serbia and Japan, loyalty to parents and nurturing of the elderly family members, are embedded in the tradition. However, the modern family paradigm is changing. Although many families continue to nurture their elderly family members at home, this is increasingly perceived as an economic and practical burden. Additional challenges of the Japanese and Serbian family models are related to changing of gender roles. Women are often no longer ready to take care of their husband’s parents, even at the cost of divorce. On the other hand, men mostly avoid this role as well. As a result, many families try to get their parents into nursing homes.. In Serbia, there is a negative social prejudice regarding families that place their elderly members in nursing homes. There is an entrenched social perception that this is one way to escape the responsibility of caring for the elderly, that you are abandoning them. Such a perception of nursing homes, as a final destination, could be seen in analogy with particular mythical rituals. In Serbia it is Lapot, in Japan it is Ubasute. It is the phenomenon of abandoning the oldest family members, with an expected fatal outcome (that could be finished with ritual murder or suicide). The most well-known assumption for this mythical senicide ritual is certainly the economic one: in difficult social circumstances when food was very difficult to come by, each mouth that could not acquire food for itself – was a burden. 

The project is supported by the City of Novi Sad and EU Japan Fest Committee.

Production: Mansarda

Director and screenwriter: Ognjen Petković

Author of the project idea and co-screenwriter: Branka Bajić

Producer: Lazar Jovanov