Hot, humid days of July are almost melting the concrete in Belgrade. The heavy air craves for the rain. Days of the week are all the same, trapped in the loop of the cruel weather. The people? The people are obviously exhausted, feeling dizzy, seeming so distant, but that’s not the only peculiar thing about them. There is something going on with their emotions and relationships as well and – the heavy atmosphere of their lives originates from a much deeper hell than the one depicted through these hot, humid days of July.
Petar and Mina are a young married couple, having all the necessary materialistic aspects in their life and not so great emotional aspects. She is a linguist and he is a very successful construction manager. She is quite natural and emotional, he is cruel and thoughtless, ready to make jokes about his acquaintance whose wife has died of cancer. She mysteriously disappears and he remains trapped in his glamorous but gloomy world. After Mina disappears, Petar will do everything but the thing we expect him to do – trying to find her. He posts on Facebook for her, he lies to her mother she is on a trip, he lies to his friends she is ill and unable to go to parties with him. The well-known “pushing things under the carpet” story is here upgraded by exploring the reasons why the things are pushed under the carpet. What kind of deviation allows Petar to be so careless, visiting wild parties and cheating on Mina while she is away? How come he could be so detached?
The reasons are actually rooted in the socio-political aspects of the story. Ljuca, in his own words, wanted to make a movie about the winners of the transitional period in Serbia. Honestly, the scene was already burdened by the losers of the transition and in this context, Humidity is actually refreshing. Petar, the so-called winner, is a part of an isolated social group, the so-called elite. Ljuca depicts this group’s darkest aspects of lives, the emptiness, the impossibility to act according to natural human feelings, relying on urges only and eventually, being emotionally detached. It’s not important that Mina is gone – it’s just the same as she wasn’t – but it is a big problem if others find it out. The only real emotion Petar consistently expresses is the fear of a scandal.
The screenplay, co-written by Nikola Ljuca and Stasa Bajac, is well-structured and adequate for the repetitive lifestyle of the protagonist. Divided into the days of the week, the film more and more in the heat, leading to the protagonist’s meltdown. The only potential problem that could repel the and uninformed potential viewer is the question whether we could enjoy a film with such a cruel protagonist. However, as soon as the splendid atmosphere of the film sucks you in, you forget about such worries. The film smartly uses blurry photography, tense, unpleasant sound, and other atmospherical elements to lift up the tension. The organic effects this film transfers to the audience, creating the real feel of a humid day when something bad is going to happen, puts this film in the group of neuro-thrillers.
Finally, this film is not only a great story with an engaging social dimension, but also a great cinematic event that marked the Serbian cinema in 2016. Ljuca, as a debutant who has shown a high level of innovacy in filmmaking, is certainly expected to make more great films in the future.