Safe Place is a tough film to watch. It starts out with a man, Bruno, desperately trying to smash down a door in an apartment building. His brother has attempted suicide. And he is trying to save his life. He’s able to get the door open to see his brother, Damir, covered in blood, dripping down his arm. The ambulance arrives and Damir is taken to the hospital.
Damir is taken from one room to another as doctors and psychiatrists evaluate him. They try to gauge his mind, and his thoughts, and his future actions. Why did he attempt to kill himself? Could it be because his dad passed away two years? Because his girlfriend dumped him? His brother and mother just want to know and all that Damir can mutter are phrases like “I made a mess of things” or “I wanna go home” or “I’ve made such chaos.” The answer isn’t always so simple.
The film takes place over a course of 24 hours as the family tries to adapt to this horrific situation.
It’s heartbreaking to find out that this film is autobiographical to the director Juraj Lerotic. Individuals affected by suicide feel like they are waging a war invisible to everyone else. All they want to do is keep their loved ones safe. Is that safe place at the hospital? Or is it at home? Or is the psychiatric ward the best place to stay? The paranoia and indecisiveness of future actions are always on the top of their minds. As Bruno says “It’s as if somebody’s beating you up on the playground, and I just look away and leave.” It’s impossible to know what’s truly on someone’s mind or why they have decided to take such a drastic action. Only Damir will ever know. And the loved ones are left standing trying to pick up the pieces of their broken hearts.