This charming yet powerful film takes us into the lives of a Serb family being torn apart by the pressures of the not-too-distant war with the Croats, and addresses the fundamental question "Can love survive between political enemies?" At every moment, the film is vital, urgent, heart-warming and terribly, terribly realistic.
There are two brothers in the family and the narrator of the film is the younger of the two, recalling his experiences. It's the love of the younger brother for the elder that re-unites the family when the elder brother is missing during the war. The father in the film is openly anti-Croat, but the elder brother, who was forcibly conscripted, comes home from the war with a Croat bride!
The mother is utterly sympathetic - her best friend is a Croat who she met in college. But the father hates everything Croatian, fights often with his Croat co-workers, and even, at one point, starts waving a gun about in front of his family! He feels his son has betrayed his country and his family by marrying a Croat, and questions his manhood.
Another major theme unfolding in the movie is "What did the elder brother do during the war?" He is sullen and refuses to talk about it. But people who recognise him are saying that he committed war crimes by killing civilians. Then the younger brother notices a photo in his brother's back pocket, a photo of their mother and her Croatian best friend in college.
The only way he could have the photo in his possession is if her friend was killed! Did her son murder her best friend, on one of his missions? His refusal to talk about it makes everyone even more suspicious.
It is particularly poignant because his little brother loves him and believes in his goodness so strongly. At the opening of the film the younger brother describes a fantasy he has about his elder brother in which he is falling, then his brother swoops under him, saves him by catching him on his back, and together they fly away. You'll see why the image is so deeply significant later in the film.
It's a film to savour, a film to keep alert to, a film for noticing and enjoying every nuance and every clue. As you're watching it you tend to forget that you're looking at a film, and feel as though you're looking at a slice of someone's fascinating life. This one is definitely a ten out of ten, a virtually flawless film.
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