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The story takes place in a dilapidated building in the blocks of New Belgrade, whose tenants constantly fight and do bad things to one another. In the same building lives a quiet and young married couple, who are completely different from their environment. Written by
I found this 2003 Serbian drama starring Dragan Bjelogrlic and Zijah Sokolovic a very satisfying watching experience. Why? Because, of all the movies that have been made in the former Yugoslavia after the war, this one reminds me most of the movies made in the golden age of Yugoslav film. It is a high-pulse drama from the blocks of Belgrade, capturing everyday life and its hardships.
This is how it all begins; a family move in a building somewhere in Belgrade. Mother is from Dubrovnik and she feels alienated from the others in the building. Father (Bjelogrlic) tries to assure her that it will get better with time and that this is the best thing for them and their little son. He goes to great lengths to preserve a good life for them. But the other inhabitants all seem to suffer from a disease of their own. An older grumpy woman (Milena Dravic) lives with her dying mother and is full of cynicism and treats the new family mostly with disdain. Sokolovic plays a widower who is a nervous wreck and frequently clashes with others, especially the alcoholic played by Mima Karadzic. At the same time, a mysterious younger man comes to live with the grumpy woman as her lodger. A local gang ruins the green areal outside the building (which gives the movie its name, "ledina" means meadow) which the nervewreck widower has tried to preserve and cultivate with great effort. It all builds up to a tragic finale.
This is a high-octane drama which really captures the mentality and the spirit of a typical Balkans city. Although there is tragedy, the very ending gives hope as it shows us that the good people will always stay good, even after a tragedy happens to them. The acting is very good and Zijah Sokolovic has never been better. This is a very unusual role for him, for he was mostly remembered in comical roles. Dragan Bjelogrlic makes one of his best performances and Milutin Mima Karadzic is solid as the sympathetic and honest drunkard. All in all, a satisfactory and realistic drama and another proof that Ljubisa Samardzic is a talented director as well as actor. Well done maestro!
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