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DNKraljacic - Dex

Comments on some recent movies that are not widely available... from the standpoint of a filmmaker, screenwriting professor, and a film critic and scholar.

Dejan Nikolaj Kraljacic is a regular contributor


Montreal World Film Festival 2014 Movie Reviews: NO LAND'S SONG - audience award for best documentary

Every year FFM offers a few interesting feature documentaries, and once again, the most precious one was made by an Iranian author living abroad - Ayat Najafi’s No Land’s Song (German-French co-production). Arguably winning the audience award for best documentary, Najafi succeeded in his first feature to overcome all difficulties that a documentary filmmaker can encounter – telling a story in a compelling way engaging the audience as if it was a fiction movie, yet showing the facts truthfully, and being courageous.

No Land’s Song follows a young Iranian composer Sara Najafi in her attempt to organize a concert in Tehran with other female solo singers, something that is strictly forbidden under Islamic law; those voices may sexually arouse a man, as explained by an Islamic scholar, who compared that kind of sin to eating cheese – plain cheese is fine, but if you add more yummy ingredients to it, you may start enjoying it too much, and then problems will occur...

Dealing with another shocking restriction of 21st century Iranian Islamic country, Najafi’s film is very dynamic, honest, occasionally ironic, and above all brave (we even see Iranian female musicians without hijab(!)); with plenty of characters (Sara being supported by several Iranian and French musicians in their joined efforts to perform the concert), as well as informative (including precious archive footage before the Islamic revolution where a popular singer of 60’s sings in a sort of blues bar, and during performance takes shots of alcohol from time to time).

Finally, Najafi’s approach to subject matter is highly sophisticated, and therefore his piece cannot be classified as a mere ideological statement. On the contrary, No Land’s Song is a story above that; it’s a story with characters we really care about, and a certain amount of optimism and faith for a better tomorrow. 


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About DNKraljacic - Dex

Kraljacic Dejan Nikolaj

Dex wrote, directed and produced almost a dozen shorts and documentaries, including award-winning pieces (such as a short Balkan Blues and documentary Shattered Dreams) since the mid-1990s.

Co-wrote the Huddersfield feature film that was awarded for best screenplay of the year in Serbia (2007). Since the late 1990s, have been working in the advertising field, was a film program director, cinema books publisher, staged an original comedy in theatre, and dealt with film criticism (a member of FIPRESCI). An associate professor of screenwriting at Academy of Arts University of Novi Sad, Serbia, a Raindance / Staffordshire University postgraduate degree film program mentor (UK/Canada - worldwide (online)). Holds a Ph.D. in film studies. Very fond of comic books.

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