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Fuse (2003)
"Gori vatra" (original title)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  28 April 2004 (France)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,280 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 14 critic

Two years after the Bosnian civil war, a town that is slowly rebuilding itself must whip together a democracy when it's announced the U.S. President Bill Clinton might be paying a visit.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Enis Beslagic ...
Bogdan Diklic ...
Sasa Petrovic ...
Izudin Bajrovic ...
Jasna Zalica ...
Senad Basic ...
Admir Glamocak ...
Emir Hadzihafizbegovic ...
Gordana Boban ...
Aleksandar Seksan ...
Hubert Kramar ...
Almir Cehajic ...
Osman (as Almir Cehajic-Batko)
Ana Vilenica ...
Amra Kapidzic ...


In the Bosnian town of Tesanj, not long after the Balkan war, land mines claim victims, corruption is rampant, women are trafficked into Serbia, but there's a sort of peace. Zaim, the retired police chief, has alcoholic visions of his dead son Adnan, whose body's missing. Adnan's siblings, Faruk and Azra, watch their father's decline. It's announced that President Clinton will pay Tesanj a visit to see the new harmony. Whores are hidden from sight, Serbs are trucked in to integrate the neighborhood; the children's choir learns "House of the Rising Sun." Meanwhile, Faruk wants to sort out his brother's death to bring some peace to his house. Can it work out? Irony is everywhere. Written by <>

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Comedy | Drama


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28 April 2004 (France)  »

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Fuse  »

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User Reviews

Another good film portraying the implosion of Yugoslavia in the 90s
16 November 2005 | by (Portland, Oregon, United States) – See all my reviews

In the two years since the official end of the Bosnian "civil" war in late 1995, wartime conditions fester on in the little Muslim town where this film is set. Lack of goods breeds a robust black market. Lack of money means lousy health care and schools. Vengeful rage between Muslim villagers and Serbs from an adjacent town simmers close to the surface daily. Land mines continue to kill and maim. A broken old man carries on conversations with the dead son who visits him regularly. And then intriguing news arrives: U.S. President Bill Clinton is coming to visit.

The mayor immediately grasps the possibilities here: putting his town on the map, attracting tourists and fresh capital. He sets about hiding or destroying any evidence of malfeasance and unrest. Even the firemen of the town are forced to buddy up to their Serb counterparts nearby, in a show of solidarity and mended fences. Serbs are exhorted to spend a day in the town, pretending to have returned permanently. On the day of Clinton's visit, the mayor even finds a gaudy necktie to wear that is covered with dollar signs ($).

The American song rehearsed by school kids for the reception is "House of the Rising Sun," quite apt in a place where the flesh trade is an important aspect of the local economy. Myriad such ironies, along with dark humor, corruption, Romany musical riffs, and violence barely contained - in short, all the usual ingredients of films from the fragmented states of the former Yugoslavia - are on display here.

The story, written by the director, Mr. Zalica, is first rate, weaving individual dramas affecting several characters within the larger subtext, the seriously blighted condition that continues to typify Bosnia. The director, who teaches his craft in Sarajevo, evokes excellent performances from nearly every actor here, especially Bagdan Diklic, who plays Zaim, the aging former police chief; Izudin Bajrovic as Mugdim, the powerful, duplicitous fellow who replaced Zaim as Chief; Admir Glamocak as Hamdo, the skinny, cynical fireman; and Senad Basic as Velija, kingpin of illicit trade in the area.

Things go seriously amiss at the end, though all is not lost. As Elvis Mitchell so nicely put it, writing in the New York Times, "The title of (this) incident-filled but relaxed and oddly courtly comedy-drama isn't exactly misleading. Watching the story unfold is akin to watching a ridiculously extended fuse burn for so long that you almost forget there's a bomb at the end."

I would rank this film only a little lower on my "Yugoslavian implosion" favorites list than Emir Kusturica's stunning and bitterly funny hit film, "Underground." "Fuse" is currently part of the touring Global Lens 2005 series. This film deserves wider commercial distribution in the U.S. (In Bosnian, or Serbo-Croatian if you prefer, & English). My rating: 7.5/10 (low B+). (Seen on 04/17/05). If you'd like to read more of my reviews, send me a message for directions to my websites.

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