7.1/10
65
2 user 1 critic

Backbone (1975)

Kicma (original title)
A microbiologist is trying the figure out the source of a bad odor that is spreading across New Belgrade blocks, having thought that it may be in a direct relation with a rampant suicide rate.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dragan Nikolic ...
Pavle Gvozdenovic
Predrag Lakovic ...
Pepi
Mira Banjac
Milutin Butkovic
Stanislava Janjic ...
Ana
Jelisaveta Sablic ...
(as Jelisaveta Sabljic)
Nada Skrinjar ...
Bolesnica
Miroljub Leso
Neda Spasojevic
Djordje Jelisic
Renata Ulmanski ...
Zena iz kafane
Sladjana Matovic ...
Jelena
Dragomir Felba
Danilo 'Bata' Stojkovic ...
Covek iz kafane (as Danilo Stojkovic)
Jelena Cvorovic ...
(as Jelena Radovic)
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Storyline

A microbiologist is trying the figure out the source of a bad odor that is spreading across New Belgrade blocks, having thought that it may be in a direct relation with a rampant suicide rate.

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Genres:

Drama | Horror

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1975 (Yugoslavia)  »

Also Known As:

Backbone  »

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(Eastmancolor)
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Soundtracks

Pesma tisine
Written by Don Black
Performed by Georgia Brown
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User Reviews

 
Existential Stench
29 October 2014 | by (Neverland) – See all my reviews

Kicma (Backbone) is surreal urban tale. The mysterious suicide epidemic ravages through city area and strange odor spreads at the same time. People are advised to stay indoors, you can't go out you can't stay in, claustrophobia and paranoia are taking over tower block residents.

The main focus is on microbiologist Pavle (Dragan Nikolic) who's taken interest in this strange occurrences. He feels the odor is connected to increased suicides rate among citizens, but is it a cause or effect?

At times the film is confusing and throws parallel, mini plot lines but doesn't really go anywhere with it. Kicma trespasses several genres, as the story progress it goes from eerie drama, supernatural and finally infectious horror. As per usual with Yugoslav cinema of the time, the dialog is overly poetic, some might say nebulous, it's not rooted in reality and serves to stress the detachment, irrationality of the characters. Practically, no one answers the questions, people are rather talking to themselves as opposed to offering an insight as to what's going on in the outside world.

Kicma provides an asylum atmosphere, there is no escaping, and no way out of yourself. Well...there is one... It very much reminded me of Jean Rolin's The Night of the Hunted ('80), as far as tone, cinematography and atmosphere goes. Or, better yet, other Yugoslav genre films like Izbavitelj and Variola Vera. There are some very effective horror scenes, that break away from sleepy pace, but add to brooding tone, mostly revolving around crematorium and hospital premises (suddenly, large number of people are being submitted for treatment - treating what, exactly?!). It's never mentioned, but they look to have symptoms of fatigue, depression and fever...cold sweat is visible on everyone's faces, infection becomes palpable.

The strongest thing Kicma has going for it are solid performances and thick, creepy atmosphere that makes it psychological, existential horror. There is an obstacle : the pace. Overwhelming melancholy and despair are nicely captured but I'm afraid it can be overly lethargic at times. Still, very solid genre entry, recommended to those interested in obscure, slow burn horror.


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