World War I is coming to its end. Prisoners of war are coming into the town with Serb Ivo among them. During one of his escapes from the camp, he finds himself in a private garden. There he meets Lisa, the wife of the town-major - a severe and heartless colonel. She is sad, lonely and her meeting with the Serb develops into a deep mutual love. Their meetings become more frequent. But the lovers are doomed. The war prisoners are moved away and as Ivo comes to bid her farewell, he is shot to death.Written by
Georgi Djulgerov <firstname.lastname@example.org>
My first film by the acclaimed Bulgarian director was an awesome experience, an amazingly shot story of doomed love set in the background of WWI. The wife of an army officer falls in love with a Serbian POW, and their relationship secretly grows under all the restrictions of the time. Navena Kokanova is gorgeous as the trapped wife and in some shots you cannot move your eyes from her. Yes I would say that the love story is a bit overdone and goes slightly overboard given the situation, but the making more than easily makes up for it. The B&W visuals are gorgeous, the images are crisp and the use of shadow and light is awesome. The times are depicted well in the film – it's the end of the Great War, Bulgaria is losing under the multi-pronged attack and the soldiers are on the verge of revolt, the Typhus plague is also in the air. The prisoner, Ivo, meets Lisa while he had sneaked into the garden to steal peaches – she listens to him and serves him food. They both find some sort of hope in each other and even under the overwhelming factors that weigh against them, their love ultimately finds expression - but under the shifting political scenario, it's soon put to test. The plot is quite simple and has been repeated over time, but the simple framing concepts and intelligent editing turns it into a great film. I fell in love with the couple of shots depicted beneath, and I absolutely admire the sequence where the Serb POWs break into a song – there are a number of beautiful shots in this visually elegant film. The effects of war are not explicit but implied, and the bleak ending that brings despair to all mirrors the crisis of the times. Through Rade Markovic, we feel Ivo's anguish and helplessness, and through Kokanova, we feel the dilemma between society and heart; and both of them come together to create a fatalistic and sensuous chemistry. Definitely worth a look.
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