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This film predominantly deals with the problems of a young man whom his delusions led into conflict with society. These issues will throw him into an adventure that would be tragic for him, but still helpful for him to see the truth. The story takes place in Kosovo in 1945, in an atmosphere of uncured wounds, wandering, betrayal, burned homes, typhoid and other postwar misery. An authentic story from those days was taken as the film's basis.Written by
BRAT DOKTORA HOMERA is a masterpiece made by one of the greatest Serbian directors of all time, Zivorad 'Zika' Mitrovic, who passed away this winter as 2005 was dawning.
BRAT DOKTORA HOMERA belongs to the wave of Yugoslav Westerns, films which were shaped along the aesthetic of Hollywood Western and based on events from WW/2. Mitrovic was often criticized for such approach, especially by the Communist hardliners who believed that such genre dogmatics make fun out of their revolutionary achievements. And yet, Mitrovic's unique craft remained undisputed so he ended up as one of the most respected State Directors of Tito's era.
BRAT DOKTORA HOMERA is a potent revenge tale set in 1945, in the turbulent region of Kosovo where tensions escalated in 1981 and caused the NATO bombing in 1999. Mitrovic's opus was Kosovo-obsessed. He adored its' beautiful and brutal landscape, reminiscent of John Ford's Monument Valley. He also realized the full potential of its' unresolved political and ethnic situation. By the end of 1945, Kosovo was split evenly between Serbs and Albanians. Hardliner Albanian renegades, who used to be allied with Nazis, kept raging on, long after Germany surrendered. Yugoslav authorities responded by unprecedented deployment of security forces who oppressed the whole region in order to respond to the renegade challenge. Inevitably, oppression led to excessive force and corruption. This war-torn world was an ideal setting for the Serbian brand of Westerns and Mitrovic fully utilized that potential.
At the same time, Kosovo itself contained a rich esotheric meaning. Since the medieval times, it remained the mythical cornerstone of Serbian culture and nationalgeist. Thus, just like Wild West, it is an ideal imaginary territory, quite potent setting for different genre experiments.
BRAT DOKTORA HOMERA is a story of Simon, the flamboyant son of the local judge who comes home after four years in a German P.O.W. camp. Upon arrival, he realizes that his old flame found consolation in his brother's arms and that his father was killed. Unlike his brother, Simon passionately investigates father's death and finds out that the well-known criminal who allegedly killed him actually was a patsy while the murderer is still at large. The chaotic atmosphere of gang-riddled Kosovo enables Simon to seek retribution.
Velimir Bata Zivojinovic, the greatest star of Yugoslav cinema, stars as Simon, delivering a rugged and involving performance along the lines of Oliver Reed or Lee Marvin. Mitrovic masterfully frames him and turns Simon into an engaging Western hero.
Even though Simon doesn't have the mythical proportions of Leone's Blondie, this character is absolutely synchronized with the bad-asses of his era.
Mitrovic's screen writing is tight and he manages to create a believable world for Simon to live in. The most important part of Mitrovic's crafty writing is the ability to turn huge melodramatic twists into plausible screen gestures.
Mitrovic's direction is as tight. He has an eye for cinematic elements. He uses the actors and locations up to the limit of their photogenic potential. Thanks to then young and prospective director of photography Branko Ivatovic, Mitrovic manages to utilize the colorful settings and add some beauty to the gritty affair he wrote. BRAT DOKTORA HOMERA was delivered thirteen years after John Sturgess' BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK and it has such resonant atmosphere. It was released same year as Sergio Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST which stood as the greatest Western achievement at that point. BRAT DOKTORA HOMERA lives through comparison with each of these titles even though Mitrovic's direction seems to be too muscular to take this title into the art-house crossover territory where both Leone and Sturgess wound up.
BRAT DOKTORA HOMERA is happy to remain the greatest Yugoslav Western and a confident programmer that keeps pleasantly surprising audience up to this day. This film also remains as a symbol of an era when Yugoslav films were able to stand any comparison with the elite Hollywood and European works, even in the world of action cinema.
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