When this ridiculous novel was published, Danilo Kis so ingeniously thrashed it in a lengthy diatribe, mocking it so mercilessly – and in great detail - that there is no precedent for it in all the history of world literature. Even Mark Twain's wonderful put-down of Fenimore Cooper's absurd/dumb "The Last of the Mohicans" pales in scope. The story is moronic so it is not in the least bit surprising that the film turned out to be just as stupid – especially since its incompetent writer was hired to do the adaptation himself. I highly recommend Danilo Kis's text about this novel.
The film could be also called "Hysterical Laughter". From the very beginning, nearly all characters laugh as if high on laughing gas. This quickly establishes itself as the movie's "clever" gimmick, its purpose to supposedly convey how insane and immoral everyone is (the author being incapable of showing this in an intelligent, un-irritating way). I don't know what planet let alone Earth country this nonsense is meant to take place, but the beginner attempts at Kafkaesque satire/lunacy is obvious and unsuccessful. The intention was to hurl mud at prewar (i.e. monarchist, non-Communist) Yugoslavian society; to display the alleged vileness, primitivism and stupidity of Yugoslavia BEFORE the "noble" communist insurgents "straightened it out" and brought it reason, education and morality. Of course, none of this is even remotely true. Communist Yugoslavia was backward, not the prewar country which had shown promise and potential (quickly crushed by the Red "revolution"). The hypocrisy and irony are complete when you consider that it was the Communists who paved the way for Balkan nations into immorality, corruption, and economic downfall.
The screenwriter/novelist was some loyal (i.e. corrupt and greedy) Party member whose laughable literary aspirations were forcibly pushed by top Communists, who later even awarded him for this "achievement", an abortion if ever one was put on paper. (Or something like that; I don't remember the exact details.) It is obvious that the story was awarded and then filmed purely because it criticizes the "rotten" capitalism (so "decadent" that half of Serbia looked (and still do) to get away from the non-rotting Balkans to the much more "rotten" West; the emigration figures are staggering). One of the movie's evil characters (and let's face it, all of them are evil and overblown like in some silly kiddie cartoon) carries a huge crucifix around her neck which further indicates and proves that this was written by a Commie for propaganda purposes: capitalism, religion and freedom are the enemies of the Party, and this horrible story tries to convey these Red biases in a truly idiotic manner.
Samardzic, much like a mysterious stranger from a cliché western, arrives to a remote town and soon becomes an instant celebrity just because people expect him to kill himself publicly. The premise is insane, absurd, witless, and the characters are one-dimensional and illogical. All of the town's residents behave like lobotomized, drugged-up, snickering lunatics. This in-your-face, totally exaggerated immorality and insanity is supposed to be codename for the much-hated "rotten capitalism". Whenever Goluza opens his mouth, everyone immediately starts giggling like deranged imbeciles. For some reason the entire populace is fascinated by him, but why they find this normal, average Joe so mesmerizing remains a mystery that even the film's confused author would not be able to answer properly. If an alien ship had arrived to this town, its population would not have been more dazzled than they are by Goluza. Or perhaps it's his funny hair?
Pathetic attempts to be "surreal cinema"/"cinema bizarro" fall on their knees at the very outset. The intellectuality is at the level of the average Mickey Mouse comic read by kids all over Yugoslavia at the time when this cinematic joke was being shown in cinemas across the country (and hyped through the Party-controlled media very extensively, as I recall). How does one expect to construct a glorious satire when none of the characters have any connection to the real world? The film is not a metaphor for anything: it's just plain old dilettante hokum. Only over-zealous or left-wing "cinemaphiles" might fall for this charlatan trick.
The screenwriter offers his less-than-impressive (to put it very mildly) "wisdom" during the movie's rare moments of "seriousness"; usually through the greedy hotel owner who offers us further insight into the confused mind of the pretentious amateur who concocted this rubbish. None of these silly "observations" of society (prewar and otherwise) have a shred of truth about them, such as the gobbledygook regarding the true character of women. They are utter hogwash, but presented in such a way as to seem "deep" and "meaningful". Again, whoever falls for this nonsense has my pity (or envy perhaps).
The film's token femme fatale, the beautiful Savina Gersak, undresses throughout the movie, which just further highlights the lack of seriousness of this apparently ambitious but actually ignorant film. Yes, for those who don't "get" the film's incredibly powerful political/social message, here's some boobs and ass so you (rabble) don't feel as if you'd wasted your time on rubbish.
This stupid movie is admittedly not always boring (only 90% of the time), because the abnormal, frenetic behavior of nearly all characters (i.e. all the dumb/evil ones who aren't communist) holds attention for brief moments, but not in any kind of a positive way; more in a sort of "could it really be that someone thinks this is intelligent, filmable material" way. Also, the photography is quite good, although many copies of the movie are inferior for an 80s flick, thanks to typical Yugoslavian negligence when it comes to film preservation. (I guess the original was stored in some rat-infested wet basement where it was used as food by the rodents, or thereabouts.)
Samardzic's, who is an excellent actor, does his best, but even he can't make a pie out of poo.
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