jeremiah59

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Reviews

The Long Road to War
(2018)

Changing historical facts to promote Serbian propaganda
Many facts, well known in history, were changed in this co-called documentary made by Serbian nationalists to serve their mantra about Serbia's supremacy in the Balkans.

So, from the historical point of view, this is not only worthless, but in many aspects, is a forgery of history - a mockumentary, not a documentary.

Tesla
(2020)

Unconventional & entertaining approach
First, please do not let that many negative reviews fool you. Some of them are politically motivated (I will not elaborate this) and some of them from people who expected a straight-lined dull biography. I really enjoyed this movie as a clever, unconventional and entertaining approach to Tesla's life and his work in the USA. (The movie does not cover his earlier life in Europe.) And finally, watching Ethan Hawke as Tesla and Kyle MacLachlan as Thomas Edison in such an unconventional and funny movie is really enjoyable.

Dark
(2017)

overrated
Overrated, boring, confusing... Jumping through time, back and forth, mysterious deaths, missing kids - there is no real plot in all this. I do not remember a grain of humor or a single smile. I watched only the first season and a couple of episodes in the second - all this was a vast lost of time, IMO. Comparing this with the Stranger Things or Twin Peaks is an insult.

Nikola Tesla
(1977)

biography of Nikola Tesla
(Previous two comments have nothing to do with this title. They refer to a documentary produced by UFO TV.)

This is a TV series produced by RTV Zagreb (Croatian TV) with participation of Jadran Film Zagreb, a comprehensive biography of Tesla, shot in numerous international locations, in his native ex-Austro-Hungarian Empire (Budapest, Graz, ), France (Paris), USA... with some archival footage and patent papers.

10 episodes - approx. 60 minutes each. Croatian language.

This was a very ambitious project with participation of many famous actors from ex-Yugoslavia.

It has never been available on DVD.

Stojan Mutikasa
(1954)

A masterpiece of early Yugoslavian cinema
Little known drama, a masterpiece of early Yugoslavian cinema.

The year is 1893, city of Mostar, Herzegovina, Austro-Hungarian Empire. Stoyan, a poor country boy comes to town and starts to work for a rich but crooked and greedy store owner. When the owner died, Stoyan married his widow and inherited the store and all the bad habits of the late owner...

The winner of several Golden arenas at Film festival in Pula 1954. Directed by Fedor Hanzekovic, produced by Bosna film, Sarajevo. Based on the book written by Svetozar Corovic.

Language orthodox Bosnian (a dialect of Serbo-Croatian)

Idu dani
(1970)

based on Waiting for Godot
A comedy and experimental work based on Waiting for Godot absurdist play by Samuel Beckett.

Here, a confused young man waits endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone...

In the meantime he meets a lot of interesting characters passing by: a Gypsy music band, a card shark, a speaking parrot (carrying a warning message that it is protected by the law), an old man living in a barrel, pop-singers, film makers crew...

The movie has a very little dialog. The language is Croatian and a few sentences in English.

Provereno nema mina
(1965)

Very interesting WW II movie.
The storyline is very interesting and tense. The mixed cast of Soviet and Yugoslavian actors is very good, as well.

I could only imagine why this movie is not better known as a part of Yugoslavian cinematography. (The only place where the DVD can be found, are Russian pages, where it is considered as Russian movie in Russian language, only.)

Maybe because this movie was co-produced by smaller Montenegrin company "Lovcen Film" which did not follow cliché and the mainstream of the most partisan movies, thus making it politically undesirable. For example, the movie emphasized that Croatian, Montenegrin and Muslim partisans fought and died side-by-side with Serbian and Russian soldiers during liberation of Belgrade. (In one of the scenes, Croatian partisan I've, from Kastela, Dalmatia, accompanied by his Red Army friends, visits fresh graves of his villagers fallen in the battle.)

BTW, this was the last full feature movie produced by "Lovcen Film" (1949-1965).

Zabranjeni bez zabrane
(2007)

Movie about Serbian cinema
The "Storyline" entered above as: "A profound insight into history of Yugoslav cinema through censorship perspective..." is not correct.

This documentary deals only with Serbian cinema in Yugoslavia (filmed and produced in Socialistic Republic of Serbia), mostly during so called "Black Wave" period.

Yugoslavian cinema was a much broader term, consisted of cinemas of all 6 federative republics of SFR Yugoslavia.

A long time before "Black Wave" period, a number of movies were forbidden in Yugoslavia, starting with Posljednji odred (1948) by Fedor Hanzekovic, which was not even finished because of the Informbiro Resolution, or Mala Jole (1953) by Nenad Fulgosi, which was never finished due to censorship, as well.

The best known forbidden movie from that early period was: Ciguli Miguli (1952) by Branko Horvat, which was banned until 1977, and shown in cinemas 1989...

Deveti krug
(1960)

Deeply moving holocaust drama and love story
The Ninth Circle (Deveti krug) is a 1960 Yugoslavian film directed by Slovenian director France Stiglic, produced by Jadran film, Zagreb.

It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It was also entered into the 1960 Cannes Film Festival. And it won Golden Arena at Pula Film Festival in 1960.

In 1999, a poll of Croatian film critics found it to be one of the best Croatian films ever made.

It is a deeply moving holocaust drama and love story, set in Zagreb, Croatia, during pro-Nazi Ustashe regime.

The movie was sold and distributed in many countries all over the world. It had its American premiere at the Carnegie Hall Cinema on September 14, 1961.

U oluji
(1952)

Interesting melodrama
Vatroslav Mimica (born 25 June 1923 in Omiš) is an award-winning Croatian film director and screenwriter. He had his directorial and screen writing debut in the 1952 Yugoslav film In the Storm (Croatian: U oluji) which starred Mia Oremovic, Dragomir Felba and Antun Nalis.

This crime melodrama takes place in small Dalmatian town on the coast of Adriatic sea and follows the fate of widow Rose who tries to commit suicide...

Interesting melodrama with fine twists at the end.

It is worth to notice that this is the only acting role for Veljko Bulajic famous Yugoslavian director.

Killing Season
(2013)

Good movie with universal anti-war message
Good movie with very good performance by Robert De Niro and diabolical and wicked appearance by John Travolta. Filmed on beautiful locations in Tallulah Gorge State Park and Black Rock Mountain State Park. The movie borrows ideas from "Deer Hunter" (1978) and "Deliverance" (1972), even from the western "Run of the Arrow" (1957).

Basically, it's an anti-war movie, with interesting psychological study of impact of war on warriors involved in a combat, here shown from a prospective of two enemies who continue their personal war, long after it ended.

The project was originally set in the 1970s and titled Shrapnel. It was later decided to be put in a modern warfare, the one in Bosnia. So, the movie brings universal message which could be applied to any war and war veterans.

Do not be fooled about all the negative comments here, because those come from people who do not want to understand the message of the movie. Most of those comments are really hilarious, claiming that the movie is not historically accurate, trying to explain the war in Bosnia from their prospective, forgetting the fact that the film makers never claimed it has been based on a true story, and in fact it is not.

Usijanje
(1979)

Powerful drama
Very rare movie based on historical facts.

The story about survival of peasants in a poor catholic village in Herzegovina who were terrorized by government officials and forced to sell their crop of tobacco to crooked wholesalers at bargain prices.

The story spans over three periods of time: during Kingdom of Yugoslavia, during WW II and Italian occupation, and extends after the end of WW II during Federative Republic Of Yugoslavia.

The DVD printed in Serbia has glitches in video and runs 1 hour 27 minutes. It seems like some scenes were cut or missing.

Very good drama based on a script written by Mirko Kovac.

Oleko Dundich
(1958)

A hero of October Revolution
Little known Russian Civil War (October Revolution) spectacle. And biography of Aleksa Dundich, Croatian volunteer in Red Army, who become a legendary cavalry commander and hero of October Revolution, honored with the highest Russian Military medal Order of the Red Banner. The spectacular scenes of Russian cavalry in the battlefield, match any other cavalry action ever filmed in the movies. The film was produced by the Soviet-Yugoslav co-production (Avala Film, Gorky Film Studios) in the years after Stalin's death, when relations between two countries improved considerably. About Aleksa Dundich: Real name Tomo Dundich (also called himself Ivan, in literature - Oleko), born April 13, 1896 in the village of Grabovac, near Imotski in Dalmatia, Austrian Empire (now Croatia) died on the 8th of July, 1920 by Rovno, Ukraine. Dundich was a hero of Russian Civil War.

He was born into a peasant family, of Croatian descent. At the age of 12 he went to South America, where he worked for 4 years as a gaucho in Argentina and Brazil. In 1915 he was recruited as a private in the Austro-Hungarian Army. During the First World War of 1914-1918 in May, 1916 Dundich was taken prisoner by Russian troops near Lutsk. He volunteered to join the First Division of Serbian Volunteer Corps in Russia. From the middle of 1917, he was a member of the Red Guard (presumably in Odessa). In March, 1918, he headed a guerrilla squad in the region of Bahmut (now Artemovsk) that later joined the Morozov-Donetsk division, which retreated together with the army of K.E. Voroshilov towards Tsaritsyn in June 1918. He participated in the defense of Tsaritsyn as a member of an international battalion, then with cavalry brigades of Kryuchkovsky and Bulatkin. From 1919, he served in the Special Don Caucasus Division of Semyon Budyonny (later in the cavalry corps and the First Mounted Army). He was deputy regiment commander, special aide to Semyon Budyonny, commander of mounted division at the headquarters of the First Mounted Army. Dundich took part in numerous battles and he was wounded several times.

The legendary courage of "Red Dundich" brought him ardent love and popularity among Budyonny's troops. From June 1919 he was the deputy commander of the 36th regiment of the 6th cavalry division. He was killed in battle and awarded the Order of the Red Banner.

(The legend says that in one battle, holding his saber in one hand and a pistol in other hand, holding horse reins in his teeth, he killed 25 enemies in a single cavalry attack.)

Dundich's real descent was not clear until 1975, when Soviet Government found his family in Grabovac, Croatia. His sister Mara Mustapich was then invited to visit Soviet Union with her family and much of Dundich's biography was unveiled. Later encyclopedia sources like Soviet Military Encyclopedia (1976, Vol 3, page 271) or General Encyclopedia (Jugoslavenski Leksikografski Zavod, 1977, Vol. 2, page 443) quote his real biography.

Istarska rapsodija
(1978)

Istria under Italian rule from 1918-1920
Extremely rare and interesting Croatian semi-documentary drama about the history of Istria from 1918-1920.

It is about difficult times in Croatian family in Istria under Italian rule and the beginning of Italian fascism.

The spoken language is Croatian (Istrian dialect), with some Italian.

A brief historical background:

After Napoleonic Wars and controversial Congress of Vienna (1814-1815) , Istria became a part of Austro-Hungarian Empire's province Austrian Littoral from 1815-1918.

Based on a a secret pact between the Triple Entente and Italy, signed in London on 26 April 1915, and known as Treaty of London (1915), Kingdom of Italy claimed large parts of former Austro-Hungarian Empire after the end of WW I. Finally, after the Treaty of Rapallo (1920), large parts of territories inhabited with 480.000 Croats and Slovenians were given to Italy.

Istria remained a part of Italy until the end of WW II, when it was liberated by Tito's partisans. And finally with Paris Peace Treaties (1947) the final borders were established between new Republic of Italy and Federal State of Yugoslavia (later known as SFRJ).

Zadarski memento
(1984)

Zadar under fascist's occupation (1918-1943)
At the end of World War I, a poor village boy Krsevan commits murder in self-defense and to save his life he fled to Zadar, which is annexed to Italy. As an immigrant, he has been blackmailed by Italian authorities. His poverty and ignorance are the main reason for becoming an Italian spy...

A brief historical background:

After Napoleonic Wars and controversial Congress of Vienna (1814-1815), Zadar was a capitol city of Austro-Hungarian Empire's province Kingdom Of Dalmatia from 1815-1918. Based on a a secret pact between the Triple Entente and Italy, signed in London on 26 April 1915, and known as Treaty of London (1915), Kingdom of Italy claimed large parts of former Austro-Hungarian Empire after the end of WW I. Finally, after the infamous Treaty of Rapallo (1920), large parts of territories inhabited with 480.000 Croats and Slovenians were given to Italy. Thus, although in the middle of Croatian coast on Adriatic sea, this city was never a part of former Kingdom of Yugoslavia (formed after the WW I), nor the Nazi's puppet state of NDH-a (formed in the WW II). After the breakdown of Austro-Hungarian Empire, it was a part of Italy until liberated by Tito's partisan army at the end of WW II, when it finally became a part of Federal State of Croatia, one of six federal states of Federal State of Yugoslavia (1945), later renamed as FNRJ (1946) and SFRJ (1963).

Predstava 'Hamleta' u Mrdusi Donjoj
(1974)

Brilliant drama-comedy-parody.
Brilliant drama-comedy-parody, based on hilarious book by famous Croatian writer Ivo Breshan. Director Krsto Papich adapted this cult play, making it an ambitious drama-within-a-drama that criticizes dictators and autocratic rulers.

In the village Mrduša Donja in Dalmatian Zagora, the position of the president of the working community was grabbed by Mate, who also stole some money and put the blame on a war veteran. But Joco, the veteran's son, wants to find out the truth. In order to celebrate the anniversary of his election, Mate orders the villagers to organize the play 'Hamlet' with himself playing the king. The professor simplifies the text for the villagers, while the role of Hamlet goes to Joco...

The humor shines in the first half where the local professor is anguished by trying to "adapt Shakespeare to the Balkan way", i.e. making it simple enough for the villagers to understand it. That way Hamlet and Ophelia became Amlet and Omelia, and among the "improved" monologues is also this one: "Look at Polonius over there, how he wants to ride an ox all by himself! The king would always like a seat, because it always licks his bare ass!" In English it doesn't sound so funny, but since it rhymes in Croatian, it's a riot. Too bad Papić didn't more passionately embrace such a hilarious subplot that makes a caricature of Hamlet, but the parallels between the play and the relationships of the characters are good, while the ending, although too bitter, is wonderfully nihilistic: such a subversive critique of politicians who celebrate, devour and dance, is equal to a classic...

Won Golden Arena, Pula Film Festival of Yugoslavian Films: Best Actor. It was entered into the 24th Berlin International Film Festival.

Kamenita vrata
(1992)

The last Babaya's film
The last feature film of Ante Babaya, in which the author exposes personal discourse notions of life, death, love and the end of life status. Doctor Boras is a top cardiologist. Through his profession he's often faced with death. In his later years he wrote a book with intriguing title "The Metaphysics of Death" which deals with the experience of life after death. The book is welcomed with sarcastic criticism by his colleagues. During jogging, Dr. Boras experiences a heart attack, a near death experience, exactly what he writes in his book, however, he meets a beautiful and mysterious Anna... Psychological drama that deals with eschatological matters Babaja wrote in collaboration with renowned Croatian writer Slobodan Novak.

Mirisi, zlato i tamjan
(1971)

Adriatic island
The second feature-length film of director Ante Babaya. Retired professor and his wife live on a secluded Adriatic island and care for the century-old Madonna. Caring for an elderly woman is a big burden to the married couple, but in some way, it's the only purpose of their lives... In the mid-1960s Babaja made several experimental documentary films, before filming The Birch Tree (Breza, 1967), his most well known film which is today regaded as one of the classic films of Croatian cinema. In the following decades Babaja turned to directing documentary films and only made a handful of feature films. Nevertheless, films such as Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh (Mirisi, zlato i tamjan, 1971) and Lost Homeland (Izgubljeni zavičaj, 1980) were also met with considerable critical acclaim.

Carevo novo ruho
(1961)

The first color movie produced in Croatia.
Fantasy inspired by fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. Produced by "Zora Film", Zagreb, Croatia, ex-Yugoslavia. The first color movie (Eastmancolor) produced in Croatia. A vain Emperor who cares for nothing but his appearance and attire hires two tailors who are really swindlers that promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or "just hopelessly stupid". The Emperor cannot see the cloth himself, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing unfit for his position; his ministers do the same. When the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor then marches in procession before his subjects, who play along with the pretense.

Izgubljeni zavicaj
(1980)

Poetic and slow.
Poetic and slow, with beautiful photography, this is the third feature-length film of director Ante Babaya. Shows life and customs on Croatian Adriatic islands before World War II. The funeral in his native village on an Adriatic island, evokes the main character's reminiscences from the childhood, but the bygone time exist only in his memories. He recalls his childhood, when his father was a steward of a rich woman. He remembers his father's conflicts with peasants, farmers and fishermen, the world which was strange to him because of injustice and suffering of others. But he also recalls the world after the war, when new government disowned the former ruling class and introduced new injustice and suffering.

Prometej s otoka Visevice
(1964)

Modernism in Yugoslavia
The winner of Pula Film Festival, 1965. The film was the first part of Mimica's modernist "trilogy" and one of the high peaks of New Cinema in Yugoslavia. Mate, a middle-aged director of a company from a big city, is traveling by boat to the island of his birth Vishevica to make a speech at the ceremony, which will reveal a monument to fallen soldiers. Local people welcome him as a hero and he decides to show his wife a beauty of the island. At a beach, he encounters an old acquaintance, Vincent, and begins to remember the time when he was still a young man on the island. Memories brought him back in the time of the Second World War, when he joined the partisans and attacked the enemy stronghold...

Cinema Komunisto
(2010)

This is not a documentary about Yugoslavian cinema
Just to shed some light what this documentary is, and what it is not. This is a documentary about one of the studios in ex-Yugoslavia, "Avala" Film, Belgrade, Serbia. Mostly about production of partisan movies and President Tito's affinity to those movies and cinematography in general. Documentary material in this movie has been recycled from dozens of other documentaries seen many times on ex-Yugoslavian TV stations. For me, watching this was a waste of time because there was no new documentary material presented, but I have no doubt that foreign viewers could find it interesting.

So, this is not a documentary about Yugoslavian cinematography, like some people are trying to present.

Each republic in ex-Yugoslavia (6 of them) had its own studios and movie production plus independent movie studios. More information about Yugoslavian cinema and studios can be found on wiki page here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Yugoslav_films

Jamie's Great Escape
(2005)

Great and funny.
Approaching 30, tired and in danger of losing touch with the joy of cooking, Jamie heads to Italy to escape and re-discover what inspired his love of food in the first place. Jamie's journey takes him off the beaten track to discover people who make up the 'real' Italy. In his clapped- out camper van, Jamie travels the country in search of its gastronomic heart, and cooks with people passionate about food. Jamie spent six weeks travelling around Italy re-discovering his love of cooking and learning lots about the art of Italian cuisine. Very informative and funny documentaries. Recommended for all those who are interested in Italian cuisine and Jamie's cooking.

Samo ljudi
(1957)

A hidden gem.
A hidden gem of Yugoslav and Croatian cinema. A masterpiece melodrama and a love story about two handicapped people, both victims of WWII. Shortly after the WWII, an one-legged chief engineer at the construction of hydroelectric power plant, and a war veteran, meets a blind girl in a mountain sanatorium of Ophthalmology, during winter. She's waiting for a surgery that can restore her eyesight. Soon, the two fall in love with each other, but he feels unpleasant because of his handicap she's not yet aware of... The movie was selected to be shown in the official program of the Venice film festival. Filmed in the idyllic landscape, with sophisticated script, careful framing... "Only people" is a film that stands apart with its aesthetic, from other Yugoslav films of that period, and if the actors wouldn't speak Croatian language, it could easily be mistaken for a classical Hollywood achievement of 1950-ies.

Dersu Uzala
(1961)

A must see
So, this is little known the first version of "Dersu Uzala" from 1961. Based on a true story. The famous Kurosawa's "Dersu Uzala" is a remake made 15 years later, in 1975. The first part of the movie is almost identical to later Kurosawa's remake, while the other part is very different, but equally beautiful. I watched both versions many times over the years, and I couldn't say which one I liked more. This one is much shorter, though, an hour shorter. This earlier version is more like an adventure through the wilderness. A sort of a Lewis & Clark expedition in Asia's far east. In this one, Dersu Uzala is really a main character.

If you like Kurosawa's film - I recommend you to watch this one, as well, because they have a different "flavor".

Dersu Uzala is a 1961 Soviet film, adapted from the books of Vladimir Arsenyev, about his travels in Russian Far East with a native trapper, Dersu Uzala.

The film was produced by Mosnauchfilm, directed by Agasi Babayan with screenwriter Igor Bolgarin and featuring Adolf Shestakov and Kasym Zhakibayev.

The film won the Golden Wolf at the 1961 Bucharest Film Festival.

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