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Tito's break-up with Stalin in 1948 marked the beginning of not only confusing, but also very dangerous years for many hard-core Yugoslav communists. A careless remark about the newspaper cartoon is enough for Mesha to join many arrested unfortunates. His family is now forced to cope with the situation and wait for his release from prison. The story is told from the perspective of Malik, his young son who believes the mother's story about father being "away on business". Written by
Dragan Antulov <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I saw this movie in 1990 at a local university campus cinema, found it lovely and painful at the same time. My viewing time was the time of a new beginning to the former Eastern Bloc. Now most of its communist 'allied' are seeking seats with EU or NATO. Later in the same year, I paid a visit to Croatia, what a stunning experience. The natural beauty and the Roman remains are the most impressive. From Monarchy to Communist and to Capitalist, all happened within 100 years, the people of that region have undergone a century's bloody tragedies. Yugoslavia is now a word of past tense, it was divided into several countries, some enjoy peace and some are perpetually in war since the downfall of the bloc in early nineties.
Amongst all the countries there, Yugoslavia somehow enjoyed more liberty and material comfort (some from Italy and Greece) than the others because Tito decisively broke the connection from Stalin. From what I got from the mouths of the Yugoslavians (in 1990), they all respected Tito's determination and boldness.
Malik's womanizer father (Miki Manojlovic) was set up by a woman relative, attractive Ankica (Mira Furlan) after he successfully seduced and then refused her. He was sent to do hard and laborious work far away from home. Little Malik (Moreno D'E Bartolli) wonders why daddy cannot come home often, though his mom keeps telling him that father is on business, he can smell a rat there. Later, when father comes back, he has his retribution on that woman.
The Zolj family is of Jewish origin. The circumcision scene and the later bath of the boy are absolutely comical. Though in difficult time, the innocence of children is expressed in great lovely details, Malik's interest in other sex, his father's predicament The filming location was Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, a place where the Jews and Muslims were killing each other. Kosovo is another long-stay pain. The body and soul of this region will take a long long time to restore. Just wondering what had happened to Moreno D'E Bartolli after all these years, he should have turned 29 this year.
Emir Kusturica is one of the many shining gems in Central and Eastern Europe film industry, who are waiting for the world's more exploration and attention.
Thanks go to IMDb-ian rijecka_sirena (USA) for the rectifications (dd 30 August 2006) on my commentary (dd 22 April 2004) for the following:
1. The Zolj is a Bosnian Muslim family so there is a circumcision.
2. The neighbor is Bosnian Serbian family.
3. Ankica is Bosnian Croatian (mostly Roman Catholics).
(Acknowledged on 1 January 2007)
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