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"Konjanik" is set in 18th century on the border of Bosnia and Dalmatia, Ottoman Empire and Venetian Republic and talks about love story of two people, Muslim Lejla (Zrinka Cvitesic) and Catholic Petar Revac (Niksa Kuselj). Lejla is daughter of Dzafer-beg (Danko Ljustina) so she already has many of possible husbands. Lejla is promised to Mujaga Lulic (Mladen Vulic) who is a murder and robber but what is most important, a Muslim. Petar is in service of Venetian border unit and when he refuses to kill Mujaga, he is banished from service. Soon Petar decides to became a Muslim and joins Mujaga who sends Petar to watch over Lejla; but two young people falls in love, love that is forbidden. So Petar kills Mujaga and escapes with Lejla. Two lovers knows that they must separate to unite again; Lejla goes in Zadar that is under Venetian patronage and accepts Catholic faith while Petar goes to Bosnia in hope that they will meet one day in Austria.
This movie is very interesting because it shows, in very realistic way, what was happening in this area (Croatia & Bosnia) in 18th century and because of two different people (very different in that time) and their love that is torn between Christianity and Islam and two big forces in Europe - Ottoman Empire and Venetian Empire. Director Branko Ivanda managed to create atmosphere of that time with great landscapes shoot in Croatia and Bosnia and with behavior of every single character, actually of every side (Muslims and Catholics). There are so many characters and they are all important for the story and ending that is tragic. Just like life in 18th century on this areas, filled with death,robbery and poverty. Even love at the end didn't manage to survive.
I must mention some of these great, mostly Croatian actors. Zrinka Cvitesic (beautiful) is great as Lejla, Niksa Kuselj is not bad in main role and old school actors Danko Ljustina, Zijah Sokolovic and late Galliano Pahor are good as usual. Also I will say that this movie is very important for the new blossom of Croatian movie. Croatian cinematography needed historical movie like this that is not based on 20th century war and I advice everyone to watch it, especially for Europeans who are familiar with Venice Republic and Ottoman Empire; but also it's a good lesson for others to see what was happening in Croatia and Bosnia at that time.
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