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Festival du Nouveau Cinéma: ‘White White World’ tragically overwrought

White White World

Directed by Oleg Novkovic

Writen by: Milena Markovic

Serbia, 2010

Trying too hard may be what stunts the otherwise portentous storyline and hefty characterisation in White White World by Serbian director Oleg Novkovic, a fourth feature film well-travelled around European festivals. Staking its bets on oft-employed tropes of Balkanness such as grotesque modes of conflict resolution (bottles smashed on heads, fist fights in dumpsters), feral non-verbalised feelings, and the mandatory array of freakish characters set against a fuzzy backdrop of some national tragedy or other (in this case, hopeless industrial decline and generalised national despondency), the film, although abounding in dramatic energy, fails at invoking sympathy for the larger-than-life protagonists.

And sympathy is what they are all after: each main character is granted a dirge-like singing act lamenting the tragedy of their respective destinies. Wading full-on into Greek tragedy territory, the story centres around a fatal teenage beauty,

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