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Radmila Djurica

Radmila Djurica is your guide to the festival scenes: Sarajevo, Cannes and many more

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Eat Your Cherry Dear

The 4th press conference of International Film Festival FEST 2010 was dedicated to Iranian film, “A Man Who Ate His Cherries” directed by Payman Hagani: film explores divorce on Iranian way, inspired by the same documentary shot 10 years ago. The film was not very welcomed in Iran because of the social taboo subject that explores the subject of divorce in Iran. That is why film director decided to present reality in black and white and dreams in color. The film, as director explained, “Was far too sad or dark and people in Iran want happy ends on the screen”. Apparently, not showed on any Iranian festival the film cruised on 10 different international film festivals by now. 


Other part of the press conference was dedicated to a Bosnian film “32nd of December” directed by young Bosnian director Sasa Hajdukovic. The film shot in Banja Luka was actually first film coming from this part (majority Serb part of Bosnia) of post war Bosnia.

  The Men Who Stares at Goats

FEST 2010 is a film festival that shows commercial film as well. And if you would imagine a lady-killer George Clooney that stares at goats in film “The Men Who Stare at Goats” directed Grant Heslov, there you are.  The story's based on the US Army's mythical First Earth Battalion, that supposelly investigated psychic powers of solders and non-lethal weapons during the late 1970s and 1980s.The Battalion had a goat lab at Fort Bragg, where for 25 years soldiers were trained to kill goats by staring at them. The film is based on the book. And, even if we concider the fact that crew is fantastic (George Clooney, Jef Bridges, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey), I am not sure that enough work was done on  film in the first place. For the one who believes in psychic communication and ritual dancing, it certainly can win hearts and minds, especially if you know that behind all this are guns and bombs. An Army program that is founded on demobilizing the enemy with “shamanic” telepathic ability and the preemptive strike of peace so much proclaimed during the “flowery era” and peace protests against Vietnam war in America in 70s.  Wilton (Ewan McGregor) is a newspaper reporter who experiences personal crash after his wife leaving. So determined to make something good in his life, Wilton heads to Iraq and takes up with Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), a former member of Django's New Earth Army, undercover, who takes Wilton into Iraq with him. Cassady tells Wilton about the Army's secret past of training Jedi warriors.

The film has an extra smirk of irony in if we consider the try to bring hippie values to the US Army. But this New Earth Army is doing yoga, dance, play with pharmaceuticals and in Cassady's case reveals some secret paranormal abilities. Django's tactics are soon spoiled by Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey), whose jealousy is provoked by Cassady's telepathic abilities.

Heslov here is handling very sophisticated genre for his directorial debut, and gets away with it pretty quickly. Clooney and McGregor are good actors, but the faulty script doesn't give them much to work with. Wars in Vietnam and Iraq here are treated as a goof: on an absurdist way. It is apparent that director and producers of the film considered of getting away with it with a good cast. But the film has lack of a moral center and it should provoke disgust for the labyrinthine bureaucracy and ridiculous egos. The film supposes to dismiss New Age mission as a hippie crap, but maybe not: this message is not clear. “The Men Who Stare at Goats” is intended to be funny and ironic and it erodes audience investment into the characters.   I am sure that making such movie was fun a great fun for everyone. 

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