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When it comes to crime, Belgrade is same as any other modern metropolis, except for having its own serial killers. That blank is filled when a flower salesman begins strangling women. A popular, but very disturbed rock star soon becomes telepathically connected with the killer. Written by
Dragan Antulov <firstname.lastname@example.org>
While being introduced in the radio show Spiridon Kopicl corrects Sofija for wrongly accenting his last name, then in a later scene he screams his name in the street, accenting it the same way Sofija did before he corrected her. See more »
Such is life - some stranglers are born under a lucky star and some are not.
This film remains one of the gems of Yugoslav cinema and one of the most under-appreciated. It is a strange mix of horror and comedy, hilarious, bizarre, unsettling and not for everyone's tastes.
The plot kicks off with the narrator explaining that Belgrade cannot yet claim to be a world metropolis. It is, as the calm female voice informs us, missing a vital ingredient: a master criminal! Petty hoodlums aside, Belgrade is about to get the king of criminals: a Strangler (and as the title suggests, not one but two).
The strangler is the overweight, middle-aged Pera Mitic (Tasko Nacic), still living with his mother and earning a meagre living by selling carnations. Tragically, at the time our story is set, carnations are out of fashion and Pera's flowers are often refused by women, sometimes rudely. To get his revenge, Pera begins strangling beautiful women - especially the ones with a dislike for carnations. The futile investigations of the Belgrade police force are led by the competent (but mentally fragile) inspector Ognjen Strahinjic (Nikola Simic). His prime suspect is a dissatisfied youth named Spiridon Kopicl (Srdjan Saper), whose rock band rides the controversy by releasing the hit single 'Come here baby, so I could strangle you'.
As the above paragraph suggests, the plot is utterly ridiculous. However, the movie (and especially the earnest voice-over) is played absolutely straight, giving this film a touch of comedy genius. Moreover, as the increasingly bizarre events unfold, the film takes on a distinctly unsettling path, with the conclusion being almost out and out horror. The laughs are still there, but they take on a slightly nervous quality.
Most of the actors are at the top of their game. Tasko Nacic is funny and at the same time disturbing as the monster-man-child, talking to his customers, his mother and his victims in the same plaintive, whiny voice. Srdjan Saper is not as effective, but adequate as the deeply confused, talented but quite stupid young man. Nikola Simic is absolutely hilarious as the put-upon inspector, growing increasingly more manic and unhinged during the course of the film, often acting far crazier than the supposed madmen he is supposed to be pursuing. Arguably, the standout is Rahela Ferari, who, as Pera's mother, essentially offers a glimpse at what Mrs. Bates might have been like in her livelier days.
This is also one of the only films I have ever seen where a voice-over narration is used effectively. Delivered in a deadly earnest, reporter style voice, the narration manages to add to the overall mood and also provides some of the funniest moments, including the excellent conclusion.
It is difficult to know who to recommend this film to, as I can think of nothing I can compare it with. Maybe if the Monty Python guys decided to remake Psycho the results might have been similar. Or maybe it was a product of its time and place and we will never see anything like it again. Watch it and find out.
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