Written after a screening at Cambridge Film Festival (UK) 15 to 25 September 2011
* Contains spoilers *
I have read in both another review and in the Festival booklet that this film has transported 'a famous Greek tragedy' to a modern Serbian setting, but I cannot see which one, if it is actually famous (or if it is Greek tragedy), has anything like this plot outline (not even if genders are switched).
The existing review on IMDb gives this as the story: A woman who killed her husband leaves prison and comes back home (to the city of Bor, Serbia) where she meets her daughter and two former boyfriends. A complicated emotional situation arises when her daughter gets too close with one of her former boyfriends.
Some suggest that it is Euripedes' Electra, but, unlike that play, the woman killed her husband on her own and has been punished for it. Moreover, this act is not in vengeance, nor is what happens to the former boyfriend. With so much changed, the claim that this is the same story is doubtful.
There is nothing wrong with the improbable happening in such tragedies, but for someone not to know who the daughter of a former lover is or even to have seen her before when they live in such a small place is implausible (she may know who he is: in some scenes, we are invited to believe that everyone knows who he is and reveres him).
In any case, it does not stop him having sex, in a highly perfunctory way, early on with this bored, beautiful young woman, but, with his and her attitude to life, only the highly artificial state of affairs of only having met that night means that this activity could not happen until then. From the point where we learn who she is, the film lost credibility, and I could happily have not stayed for the end.
Doing so did not, I fear, gain me much (other than insights into drug-taking, callousness, and ways of provocatively using bank-notes). Amidst so many films that I had read about and chosen what to view from, I had forgotten which one this was but, in any case, a film should speak for itself and knew only that the characters would sing in character. They did so, but it was not an especial revelation, not the promised innovative fusion of film, opera, and a story from the ancient world.
As for the film's claims to have a root in tragedy, that aspect passed me by, and I doubt that knowing of it would have enriched the experience. Certainly, there was more singing in tragedy than is given popular credit for, and the scene of mourning with the crowd had an effect albeit a little ridiculous, given that it concerned the owner of a bar of creating grandeur, of showing a collective voice. Sadly, I was little interested by then, and could but be amazed that the girl's mother is again prepared to sacrifice her life for others who care so little for her.
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