After her best friend’s daughter is caught on tape as an escort girl, Zora, a respected surgeon and mother of a teenage daughter, must use her political leverage to save her friend from scandal, or help expose the prostitution network at the expense of their friendship.
BUDDHA BAR is a six-hour crime drama set in the Croatian port city of Rijeka in the early 2000s. The story follows Zora, one of the city’s most respected surgeons and an influential member of the conservative party, whose best friend is Nina, a down-on-her-luck nurse struggling with depression and debt. Nina and Zora grew up together, living on the same street since childhood; they are like sisters, even if they have nothing in common in terms of social background, education or political interests. Unlike Zora, who has a belligerent relationship with her teenage daughter Matea, Nina has a warm, friendly relationship with her fragile, introverted daughter Ela. But, when Ela is caught on tape giving a blowjob to an older customer at a notorious nightclub called Buddha Bar, where Ela and a number of teenagers work as escort girls, illusions begin to crumble. Due to her political influences and a friendship with a chief police officer, Zora is the first to be informed of the video. The police want to pressure Ela into leading them to Rade, the seductive owner of Buddha Bar, who is suspected of organizing escort services in the bar. This could lead to the slow unveiling of the entire network of prostitution going on in this shady Adriatic port. But to do so, they must arrest Ela, bring Nina in, and get her to talk. Zora faces a serious dilemma: should she show the porn video to her best friend and ruin her relationship with her daughter, or should she use her political leverage to cover for Ela, thus crossing her moral boundaries and her strong sense of integrity. What will Zora do? Will these two women remain friends? And how will Zora’s own relationship with her teenage daughter change when she enters the muddy waters of dirty dealings and corruption?
Author’s biography :
Dora Šustić is a writer and film director, born in 1991 in Croatia. Graduated BA in Political Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and MA in Screenwriting, FAMU Prague. During her studies she wrote and directed four short feature films, screened and awarded internationally. Currently works as a freelance screenwriter, co-writer and script editor on film and TV projects, and teaches Film Studies at Prague Film Institute. Her drama series AFTERPARTY (Antitalent, Croatia), currently in development, was awarded Best Project by HBO Europe as part of the Midpoint TV Launch and pitched on Berlinale Co-Production Series Market. In addition to films, Dora writes prose and poetry, published in Croatian and English.