User Reviews (10)

Add a Review

  • I saw this film at Cinequest, a film festival in San Jose, California. I liked it very much and found it to be a very moving anti-war film. It has excellent acting and production values and had me engrossed throughout. Though to a Serb it may seem at first that the film falls into the usual demonization of the Serbs, actually all sides are portrayed as ready to commit terrible acts. This is true for the scene where the Croats are ready to force the actors to clear the mine field. They are saved only by the chance arrival of Serbian troops who then in turn force the Croats to clear the minefield. It is also true for the scene where the Serbian nationalist poet is taken prisoner by Muslim troops and we are given ample clues that he will meet a horrible end, though this is not shown on screen. I am an American anti-war activist with ties to what for me will always be Yugoslavia, not in agreement with the American bombing and not in agreement with savage nationalism either, no matter whose nationalism it is.
  • This is probably one of the greatest movies in ex-Yugoslavia in the last 20 years and maybe the best from brilliant director Goran Markovic (with "Nacionalna klasa" and "Variola vera"). Markovic also wrote the script that is vaugely based on factual happenings.

    Naive half-member troupe from Belgrade National Theater embarks on an dangerous tour through Serbian Krajina in Bosnia. The time is 1993 and there is bloody, difficulty and abstract war between Serbs, Croats and Muslims. Company's intention is to perform Feydeau's vaudveville "A Flea in Her Ear" and to reanimate unwilling and disastrought folk in little town Srbobran. But, the situation soon gets worse and worse. In only three days the actors founds all horrors of Bosnian war.

    The whole story try's to explain this conflict from very essence of spirit of the art. For me, this is by far most objective movie about civil war(s) in ex-Yugoslavia. There is also very fine amalgam of comedy and tragedy (for example, we have ridiculously and burlesque moments when leader of the troupe Stanislav tries to assure Croat Commander that they are Croat actors and just few minutes later there is distressing and touching part with 'Panther' Leaders and actress Sonja in mined territory.

    The cast is superb. The great turn from main lead, especial from Chaplin-like tragicomical Tihomir Stanic (Stanislav) and ingenuine thrilling Jelena Djokic (Jadranka), gratefully movie inventions. Other four players from the troupe, Dragan Nikolic (old charmer Misko), Mira Furlan (middle-aged leading lady Sonja), Josif Tatic (tippler Zaki) and Gordan Kicic (young star Lale) give us irresistible performances. There is also series of brilliant supports: Slavko Stimac as Djuro, pacifist driver, Vojislav Brajovic as Ljubic, fascist war firebrand, Svetozar Cvetkovic as absentminded surgeon, Bogdan Diklic as sharp, cold hearted Croat Commander, Sergej Trifunovic as violent and hot blooded 'Panther' Leaders and many, many more.

    Watch this great anti-war movie and you'll probably understand Balkan conflicts better. But, you'll also understand and take a liking to the actors, too.
  • The movie is a 100 % truth about war in former Jugoslavia , and it's appsurdit'y . Just dont listen opinion's from people who have comment this movie with negative stars , because they are in fight with reality ! Movie is very good satirical comedy , enjoy !
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I just came back from the cinema where I saw this film. I rarely go to the cinema but since this is our Oscar nominee I thought that it is worth watching. And I was right.

    Don't get me wrong. I saw this film tonight and hopefully never again. The plot is simple. A group of famous Belgrade (Serbia) actors come to Krajina (Bosnia), which is caught by a bloody war, on a tour hoping to earn some quick cash. Through a series of unplanned events they end up on the front line face to face with all the horrors of war. They eventually run into all the sides involved in war: Serbs, Croats and muslims. This is what bugs me the most about this film. Although this is a Serbian film with Serbian actors (except for Mira Furlan, who probably did the best job) the Serbs from Krajina are portrayed like a savage, blood thirsty lynch mob. This is what hurts me the most. Although we are one nation the people from Serbia think of us as primitive barbarians (especially most the people from Belgrade). While on the other hand, Croats and Muslims are represented like most civilized. I'm not saying here that Serbs were better than them but the image shown here is just too harsh.

    Apart from that this movie has many realistic scenes like for example the fight between two Serbian military leaders which actually happened or the story about Muslim groups which fought each other. The film looks somewhat cheap at the times (a couple of scenes look like they were dragged out of some home made video). Since this is supposed to be a comedy I can say that in that aspect the film delivers. It has enough laughs to keep you interested during the while film and a couple of scenes which will make you cry from laughter. But definitely the best feature of this film is Gordan Kičić and his portrait of Lale. In my opinion the role of Lale is also the best written one. His points about the war and his cynic comments completely correspond with opinion of most of young people about the war, although the scene where he shouts ''I'm not a Serb!'' is a bit too much for me. I also have to commend the performance of Aleksandar Stojkovic, who did a good job.

    I don't believe that this film is a good choice for Oscar, because if nothing else, if you do not know many facts about the sides involved in the war you just won't be able to understand this film. It is no wonder that the world considers us to be savages when we alone represent ourselves in that light. Go see this film and if possible forget it soon. My grade is 5/10 mostly due to great Kičić's performance.
  • Warning: I am commenting this film from a Serbian point of view. I don't know how many people outside the ex Yugoslavia states (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and North Macedonia) know the course of events that followed the breakup of Yugoslavia, but this movie can help a lot. The war in Bosnia was a huge mess and tragedy, but unlike a lot of anti-war films that have been produced in Serbia, this one puts a perspective through the eyes of actors which is really original. It shows all the nonsense of the war, the degradation of arts and the dark side of the human soul in times of war. What makes the movie so powerful are the little details, like when the Serbian soldiers went to watch the theater play just because it was inside and it was cold, the representation of para-military forces and the ''intellectuals'' who contributed to the spread of hate and intolerance, the death of thousands of young men because of absolutely nothing! The director Goran Markovic is a pure genius, his films can touch the deepest corners of your soul and emotions! Personally, I love these kind of films because they teach the younger generations that war is a losing game for every side! Strongly recommend to everyone, it will raise your will for peace, love, understanding and prosperity.
  • The film blurs the line between fiction and reality. The actors perform made-up plays with no connection with the grime reality they confront in the war that just had started. Yet, in a crucial sequence, when one of the actors performs a Greek tragedy for a colonel, she saves the real lives of the whole group of actor. Thus, fiction affects reality. And the other way round, the poet Ljubic seems to be fully occupied by his own fiction. Yet, his words and his imagined ideas of the origin of Serbs contributed to the very real start of the war.

    In several scenes it appeared that the soldiers did not understand what was the difference between them and their opponents since the opponents often were their very real neighbours. Thus, the war built on fantasised ideas. Visual blurring was notable in the latter part of the film which took place in a snowy landscape enfolded in fog. These scenes reminds me of passages in Angelopoulos' Eternity and One Day. Angelopoulos also blurs the line between fiction and reality.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If this film was made 10 years ago, maybe it would have worked. If it was taped as a theater play, maybe it would work. Made as a feature film, it doesn't work in any way.

    For starters, the production for this film looks terrible. It looks like a TV film most of the time. Direction is awful. Everything looks like it was shot in first take. Editing is often slow and often nonexistent (too many shots that go nowhere). Cinematography is awful. Scenes are either overexposed ("in your face" and without subtlety) or underexposed (boring and too subtle). It's like the camera was turned on and left running without anyone behind it. Everything looks gray, lifeless and dull. Sound often cuts off or is completely unintelligible (but this is a common problem in ex YU films).

    However, all this wouldn't be so bad if the screenplay was any good in the first place (considering who wrote it, it had to be). Unfortunately, screenplay and story are the biggest flaws in this film.

    First off, the characters are incredibly stupid and completely stereotypical (dumbass Belgradians in their high heals, get to see what real horror is). However, even that wouldn't be so bad if the characters ever had a chance to develop. Changes in them do come throughout the movie, but they are obviously forced (all of a sudden a character has learned a lesson). Even that could have worked if the characters weren't completely lifeless and if they ever got the chance to show their individuality. In the end, the audience can't really care about any of them (unless a cinema-goer likes a certain actor or actress). Actors (and actresses) do an awful job here. They are not even trying most of the time. Often, they just look confused, or they put on their "serious acting expressions" for a scene, and then they go back to being idle again. Most of the characters here, have no real purpose, except to be used for a five minute scene at some point, to force the stupid plot further. Plot is terrible from the start, and then it gets worse and dumber by a minute (gee, our driver is off; let's walk through a war zone in the middle of the night, 'cause we can't wait for him). Also, the movie can't make up it's mind if it is a character piece, or a moral story. Dialogs in the movie show that there was an idea behind this mess, but they are terribly executed most of the time, and often just turn out stupid, crude or unnecessary.

    This is a dark comedy, but a fifteen year-old could write better jokes. (a thirteen year-old probably wrote these). The war scenes that should teach us something are ridiculous, superficial, forced, over the top or dull and pointless ("in your face" instant morals get old pretty fast).

    There are only three saving graces here (therefore the stars). One: The first scene at Jackson's (one time that character Lale is actually funny) concluding with Ljubic's nationalistic poem. Two: Jelena Djokic, who actually tried to act out the ridiculous script. And three: The noble effort with some good ideas to make an anti-war movie, that somewhere along the lines, went terribly stupid (and wrong).

    This script should have been made ten years ago, when it actually mattered (like Bure Baruta a.k.a. The Powder Keg), and when the crew was still in their top form. Unfortunately it got staled in the meantime and the crew with it.

    If you want a good (forgoten) anti-war ex YU film, forget this mess, and try Pun mesec nad Beogradom (Full Moon Over Belgrade) (if you can find it).

    3/10
  • The film's heart is in the right place - wanting to make a movie about the absurdity of war and the arbitrary nature of nationalism (and the ultra- absurdity nature of ultranationalism). There is no right side, no good guys in white hats vs bad guys in black hats, it's way more complex than that.

    But the story is not good. The characters are one dimensional. The events are too contrived. The whole thing is theatrical rather than cinematic - it's filled with overacting (acting and speaking for the last row rather than the lens), music, a tool of the filmmaker, is barely used, the story explains that war is complex and multi-dimensional, but our characters are simple and one-dimensional, almost clichéd. The cinematography is poor. There are very few (if any) establishing shots, the whole thing is brown, grey, muddy. Indoors, outdoors, it's all the same. There are no interesting camera tricks, moves or anything of modern "film" whatsoever.

    The script is not interesting enough to be read as a screenplay, so why make a movie out of this? The lines let the actors down, who did nothing to save this film. With music playing no part and the camera doing the very minimum and nothing more, there's very little value in this film.

    The jokes are few and far between, not enough to keep you laughing. It's also not absurd enough to hit that absurdic bone, unlike Apocalypse Now or Pretty Village Pretty Flame.

    The production is quite poor, more like Yugoslav films of the 80s than something made in 2008.

    The story is about a group of stage actors who go a war zone and discover that war zones are dangerous and terrible places to be. That's the synopsis and there's nothing to spoil because that's the whole film.

    I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
  • harryplinkett1426 December 2020
    1/10
    Nasty
    This film is nasty anti-Serbian propaganda that shamelessly floats the most ridiculous and outrageous anti-Serbian tropes lifted from fake news narratives about the war. It is literally unwatchable.
  • dragokin14 February 2021
    The reason to watch this movie again was passing away of Mira Furlan. She delivers an excellent performance, although the cast is doing a good job most of the time.

    Most of the script is based on actual people and events yet borrows from other movies. The cast is riding the bus most of the time (see "Ko to tamo peva?" 1980). Then we have some feasting and conversations around various tables (see the finale of "Majstori, majstori" 1980 by the same author). Finally a lot of Balkan bravado which made Kusturica famous worldwide.

    I'm cautions in my criticism, since Goran Markovic delivered some of the best movies in Serbian/Yugoslav cinematography. Nevertheless, this time his efforts simply didn't work out...