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The Marathon Family (1982)
"Maratonci trce pocasni krug" (original title)

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The Topalovic family has been in the burial business for generations. When the old (150 yrs old) Pantelija dies, five generations of his heirs start to fight for the inheritance.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bogdan Diklic ...
Mirko Topalovic
Danilo 'Bata' Stojkovic ...
Laki Topalovic
Pavle Vuisic ...
Milutin Topalovic (as Pavle Vujisic)
Mija Aleksic ...
Aksentije Topalovic
Milivoje Tomic ...
Maksimilijan Topalovic
Radislav Lazarevic ...
Pantelija Topalovic
Zoran Radmilovic ...
Bili Piton
Jelisaveta Sablic ...
Kristina
Bora Todorovic ...
Djenka
Melita Bihali ...
Olja
Fahro Konjhodzic ...
Gospodin Rajkovic
Veljko Mandic ...
Rajkovicev brat
Mihajlo-Bata Paskaljevic ...
Stariji zandar
Dragoljub-Gula Milosavljevic ...
Ozalosceni (as Dragoljub Milosavljevic)
Miroslav Jovanovic ...
Blizanac I
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Storyline

The Topalovic family has been in the burial business for generations. When the old (150 yrs old) Pantelija dies, five generations of his heirs start to fight for the inheritance. Written by Damir Dukich <Damir.Dukic@snet.fri.uni-lj.si>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

4 March 1982 (Yugoslavia)  »

Also Known As:

The Marathon Family  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the original play by Dusan Kovacevic, the Topalovic family members are of the following age: Pantelija - 150, Maksimilijan - 126, Aksentije - 102, Milutin - 79, Laki - 44, Mirko - 24. See more »

Goofs

The 'tone film' playing in Djenka's theater is "Prica jednog dana", which was released in 1941, seven years after the events in "Maratonci trce pocasni krug" take place. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Black Bomber (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Prophetic Serbian Six Feet Under -- and a Masterpiece
5 September 2001 | by (Venice) – See all my reviews

The Serbs say this is the best Serbian film ever made, which I think underestimates it -- it may be the best film anyone made in the 1980s. Released in 1982, when Yugoslavia was a functioning state, rather than international shorthand for murder and genocide, it casts a baleful look backward that becomes, in the light of all the subsequent blood, almost unbearably poignant and prophetic. It would be too much if it weren't constantly, brutally laugh-out-loud funny -- funny even in subtitles, funny as slapstick and deeply classically comic at the same time.

It is set in the 1930s in a backwater small town in Serbia, where the Topalovic family has its funeral home.. Topalovic women "fade away like flowers" immediately after bearing a boy while the men live on and on -- creating the Marathon reference in the title. In an effervescent scene we meet six generations of Topalovic men, each one of whom mercilessly beats and bullies the younger ones. The film centers on the youngest, the tall and none-too-bright Mirko, lover of movies and Cristina, piano player at the town's movie house and daughter of the local gangster Billy Python, who supplies the Topalovic home with used coffins dug up and emptied of their previous occupants.

The action revolves around three events: the death of the very oldest Topalovic, the desire of Mirko's imbecilic, cowardly and conniving father Lucky to break up the Mirko-Cristina affair and -- and this is resoundingly delicious -- the arrival of sound film in the town, putting Cristina out of a job.

The writer, Dusan Kovacevic adapted the script from his own play, and director Slobodan Sijan gets an amazingly good ensemble cast of actors to run the machinery in high gear, flat out. It starts dark and gets darker with crematorium jokes ("the wave of the future"), vintage silent Yugoslav film commercials and clips, and slides, laughing more and more wildly, into violence that flies out of control The tie to what happened to Serbia only a few years later spins the movie up another level. That the tie is not accidental is underlined by the opening sequence -- newsreel footage of the assassination in France of the King of Serbia in the early 20s. The wonderful musical theme, raucous and melancholy at the same time is by Zoran Simjanovic. You don't know me, but do yourself a favor and see this one.


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