Speleonaut / Pod kamenim nebom (57’), Sonja Djekic, Serbia

 

In the summer of 1969, the Yugoslav media were buzzing about the conquest of the Moon, but with the equal attention they reported on conquering the bowels of the Earth. Previously unknown 34-year-old Milutin Veljković set off to spend the following 15 months in a two-kilometer long cave, in a company of a dozen of hens and ducks and a two months old puppy; he had food supplies and other necessities for the projected time. The Samar cave was the only electrified spot in this remote village in the southeast Serbia at the time. The light bulbs installed in the cave walls worked at a certain time of day, over the small power generator. This extraordinary deed is first revealed outside - through a series of portraits of interesting characters, all connected to Veljković: a graphic novel artist, a zoologist, a composer, an off-road traveler. Unexpectedly, we enter the underground world. The various narrated fragments from Veljković's detailed cave diary are brought to life: from his daily routines, such as making coffee and collecting insects - to the dramatic events of pulling out his own tooth, craving for woman, fighting with the flood and hallucinations.