On a mountaintop in southwest Serbia lies the womanless hamlet of Zabrdje, where the Jankovic brothers hold the fort. Veering between the utterly hilarious and deeply poignant, this ...
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On a mountaintop in southwest Serbia lies the womanless hamlet of Zabrdje, where the Jankovic brothers hold the fort. Veering between the utterly hilarious and deeply poignant, this beautifully-crafted film follows one brother's quest to introduce women back into the once-vibrant community. But with no roads or running water, convincing a Serbian woman is out of the question... Written by
This is a really wonderful and genuinely challenging film that left me feeling perplexed about its very nature - on the surface it can seem almost farcical, but its humour masks the very real desperation at its heart. It touches on a wide variety of themes including loneliness; sexual identity and misunderstanding; the continuing tension in the Balkans... Between men and women, just as between Serbians and Albanians, there seems to exist a great deal of goodwill - but a good portion of this is lost in translation.
There are very morose and sombre moments, but the film's ultimate message is quietly life-affirming. This is in part down to the absolutely spellbinding camera-work, capturing the quirks of day-to-day life in the beautiful Serbian mountains. And I loved the insistent presence of the animals, skilfully edited in, so that the animals seemed to be mocking the humans in their laborious efforts - that rooster with its seemingly all-seeing eye, the invading sheep on the rooftops, and the cats that nestle in their fleeces for warmth. The animals and the men alike - all are simply looking for a bit of comfort, snatched from the jaws of conflict and confusion...
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