The concept of "Rondo (1966)" depended almost entirely on the quality of its actors. The movie is intellectually and aesthetically above almost everything else, ahead of it time and was unlike any other Yugoslavian films. It's tighter, absorbing, better constructed drama focussing on the emotional development of three characters. Every Sunday, a solitary bachelor who is a judge Mladen (Stevo Zigon) comes to play chess with his friend Fedja (Relja Basic), a sculptor and gradually begins a love affair with the sculptor's wife, Neda (Milena Dravic). The chessboard becomes a key focus, the gestures, symbolisms, and the movements during the game will resonate with the characters and the love triangle. The director also uses Mozart's Rondo which is played throughout the chess game sounding like a loop, with little variations. Nothing could be more appropriate, after all, this score by Mozart shows in full seriousness the love affair leading to dramatic crescendo as the sequence ends/repeats. The sequences reminded me of the cricket commentary, which is played in the background in P'tang, Yang, Kipperbang (1982), a British tv movie directed by Michael Apted.
Enclosed around the wife and the chess game, the film is structured as a series of two-man matches with abundant dialogues on various topics of life and love. The minimalism in the décor is a conscious decision by the director and it has been made to juxtapose colourisation with a cold, defensive acting style from all the 3 characters. And in my eyes, this also works perfectly. The character moves mainly in stage-like spaces, the performances are first rate, and the plot of the film is mostly created through dialogues. Therefore, the inclined viewer should not expect the usual cinema, but rather be prepared to get involved in a minimalist, but emotionally demanding film.