Vlada works as a truck driver during the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999. Tasked with transporting a mysterious load from Kosovo to Belgrade, he drives through unfamiliar territory, trying ...
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Vlada works as a truck driver during the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999. Tasked with transporting a mysterious load from Kosovo to Belgrade, he drives through unfamiliar territory, trying to make his way in a country scarred by the war. He knows that once the job is over, he will need to return home and face the consequences of his actions.
The Kosovo War of the late 1990s was one of the final acts of the break-up of what was once Yugoslavia. In 'The Load' a truck driver is assigned to transport a mysterious cargo to Belgrade, across a country under NATO bombardment. But anyone hoping for shots of blood 'n' guts will have to look elsewhere, as this film is less concerned with the mechanics of the conflict - even if it is the work's raison d'être - than it is with showing how the citizens of a country at war adjust and carry on, absorbing the conflict into their everyday lives.
Lead actor Leon Lucev (IMDb will not allow the correct spelling of his surname!) is a tough-looking bloke but as Vlada the trucker he delivers a performance that is a far cry from what the viewer may have expected to be the usual tough-guy role. Vlada is a taciturn man but not unfriendly: he attempts conversation with a teenage hitchiker and has to make all the running when talking to his son. Perhaps his quietness arises from disappointment with his life: he has to take the trucking job after being made redundant from his previous employment. His wife is ill and those NATO bombs are getting closer...
As Vlada's journey continues we get some nice shots of wintry, bleakly attractive countryside. Towards the end we see what Vlada has been transporting and a hint at actions he may take as a result. Also at the end of the film the significance of a stolen lighter is explained in an affecting story.
This is not a fast-moving film and will certainly not be everyone's cup of tea, but I enjoyed it.
Seen at the 2018 London Film Festival.
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