Colourful 'optimistic tragedy' of a poor family in Ukraine, living in the Carpathian mountains near the Romanian border, during the Second World War. Five sons of the family make up the ... See full summary »
A priceless lesson in Montenegrin history, this film is a superb mixture of facts and dreamscapes. Shot in the usual majestic and harshly poetic style that this region is known for, the movie takes us through the trials and tribulations of Petar I Petrovic, the man who united Montenegro in the 18th century and led them in the Battle of Krusi against a huge Turkish army to return victorious and pave the first path towards economic development. The film opens with scenes of mourning, frustration and hunger as a land ravaged by famine and civil war looks into a bleak future of captivity under the Turks. The land and the madness all around is unforgivingly documented, as Petar goes on an apparently impossible mission, to unite the Montenegrins under one banner and do his soil proud. He is resolute and immovable in his approach, even if faced with numerous hurdles, selling off idols from the Church to get bread, setting fire to patient enclosures to stop an epidemic, taking up the sword to counter treachery and escaping death by stoning through a strike of luck. The Battle of Krusi remains iconic in the Montenegrin history and it is indeed monumental, what they achieved, and all through a relentless vision of a single man. The film itself is gorgeously shot, the landscapes providing perfect accompaniment, and the surreal sequences adding a tragic touch to the persona of Bishop Petar. The film, apart from giving a peek into obscure history, also drives home the predicament of the times, men faced with lack of basic resources, lack of leadership, threat of invasion, and gradually falling into blood revenge and treachery and inter-tribe animosity to keep themselves distracted. The war scenes towards the end are indulgent and chilling, and the dialog almost always shows a man disturbed by his own people yet a firm believer in his soil and the power of unity. A great watch, an inspiring story, of a world where men once overcome insurmountable odds, created both by nature and invasion.
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