The reliable and gifted director of fluid, sometimes baroque films, known here mostly for his Oscar-winning opera prima No Man’s Land (2001), Bosnian filmmaker Danis Tanovic
deftly addresses two subjects others flirt with but rarely grasp, and certainly not when broached in a single film: family and war. With a relatively conventional but appropriate style, Tanovic skillfully weaves together the two topics in his most recent film, the powerful Cirkus Columbia
, highlighting their reciprocal impact.
He co-wrote the script with the source novel’s Croatian author, Ivica Djikic
. Tanovic examines kinship up front, with the impending war between Croats and Serbs (in Croatia and in Herzegovina, a gorgeous region of mixed ethnic population that is part of Bosnia) coloring the intimate links between family members.
Set in 1991, when the various regions of Yugoslavia were seceding, and with trouble brewing in places like Bosnia and Croatia where Serbs constituted a substantial minority,