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Days of Slovenian Film in Belgrade

  Another event related to the film marks the month of March. Belgrade’s Yugoslav Film Archive (Kinoteka) presented the Days of Slovenian Film, the program that shows nine most recent achievements of Slovenian cinematography. The Deputy Ambassador of Slovenia in Serbia Mr. Milan Predan opened the event, Slovenian Film Days opened with film  A Trip (Izlet) by Nejc Gazvoda, films also showed were: Custom Officer (Varuh Meje) by Maja Weiss, Desperado tonic (Desperado tonik ) by Varja Močnik and Boris Petkovič, Tuning (Usaglašavanje ) by Igor Šterk, L…as Love (L…kot ljubezen) by Janja Glogovac, Estrellita (Pesem za domov) by Metoda Peveca, Personal Baggage (Osebna prtljaga) by Janez Lapajnea, Pirano (Piran) by Goran Vojnovića and Circus fantasticus by Janez Burger. 

Slovenian Cinematography for me in general is diversiform, and a little different from all other cinematographies in region. That is why I would like to review two very different films seen on Days of Slovenian Film in Belgrade. 


Circus fantasticus by Janez Burger   Circus fantasticus by Janez Burger  an Irish-Slovenian co-production, lacks of dialogue at all, which makes one reason to distinguish the film from others. However, the film directed by Janez Burger is nothing like silent era à la The Artist. The film depicts Balkan land destroyed by the war, picturing a family living in the isolation of some unnamed rural war zone. The family is part of a traveling circus troupe now, to which family adapts. Circus here is a metaphor for the absurdity of war, enhanced with total surreal atmosphere of the film, where the characters still entertain invisible audience and can be seen as the ode to the entertainment values. But most likely the film can be seen as anti-war movie. Of course, film with no dialogue needs some dialogue in this case it needs some dialogue but not all the time. The idea is good but the devil is in details. There are details in film that can be interpreted as forced metaphor, or maybe slightly overdone metaphor. For instance, the appearance of a dead woman.  However, what is really interesting in the film is that Burger shot it with certain elegant ease and should be awarded for this surreal magical realism. The circus metaphorically represents the spirit of survivors of ordeal of war. In addition, the survivors are all participants in this war, including invaders that come to invade circus and everything can be seen as the fantastic Circus Fantasticus where circus performers overcome the war and suffer by putting trust in their own fantasy of having special powers. Just like a little lamb dancing in front of the wolf pack to postpone the evident death. 

This is film that basically talks about  compassion, human spirit and  courage and it is full of risk, because there are no dialogue, so the characters need to use very expressive gestures, mime, just like in theatre. Nevertheless, the film is beautiful, emotional, and moving. This Irish/Slovenian co-production CIRCUS FANTASTICUS is written and directed by Janez Burger and has won eight awards including Best Film and Best Director at the Slovenian Film Festival in Portorož.




L…as Love (L…kot ljubezen) by Janja Glogovac


Film L… like love (L…kot ljubezen)  directed by Janja Glogovac is another Slovenian film presented to Belgrade audience at the Days of Slovenian Film in March and it is based on a true story about young people living in Prague the center for young artists, emigrants coming from the territory of ex-Yugoslavia. Praque for ex Yugoslavs was and still is the meeting point of different nations and cultures, just like Berlin. Film expresses the kind of atmosphere of emigrants and their life, including changes, life disappointment and particularly their seek for love. The red light of the story is love, even though it is a story about young filmmaker trying to make a film. Also L… like love (L…kot ljubezen)  is about friendship and decadence of society aiming toward Western world decadence of  world jet set, where moral values are not priority but just money. In addition, money easily involves drugs.

Young film director Gina (starring fantastically natural acting Lucija Sherberdzija) is about to shoot her first feature film, but has no script or money to do so. Nevertheless, the only thing she knows is that film needs to be about love. However, being young and wild Gina steeps into her personal story and makes movie about her life and life of her friends. The characters set in film are remarkable, mafia boss (starring Rade Sherbedzija), transvestite flat mate, a gorgeous ex-boyfriend, a strange cocaine liking grandmother etc.  What is the most remarkable here is the great casting. A role of mafia boyfriend in film is one of the best performances in entire film, and it is done by  Serbian actor Uliks Fehmiju, the son of one of the best ex Yugoslavian actors Bekim Fehmiju. The best mates of Gina are the character performed by Macedonian actress Labina Mitevska and Croatian actor Davor Janjic. All of them make this film very personal and very particular.  All characters in the story are weird, strange, but again gentle, loving and adorable and this is why I have chosen to review this film.  The film is a cute (melo)drama thriller, the kind of you would never go to see if there were not stars involved and it is not the usual genre for Slovenian film.  


Gina (Lucija Sherberdzija) and her friends in film are getting involved with mafia, due to a stolen cocaine stash meant to be sold and used for Gina's film.  The story is full of action, danger and contains romance. The great potential lays in a fact that it is full of energy, and hilarious Madonna- alike-film- plot with unpredictable twists, but with remarkable actors coming from ex Yugoslavia and no Madonna.   The film is obviously stunningly visual.  In addition, the music is fantastic as well. L… like love (L…kot ljubezen) has a qualities to be appreciated in Hollywood. In addition, the first associating I had during the film was actually Madonna. I think that she would gladly appreciate such film; however having a pop star like Madonna next to such actors like Lucija Sherbedzija, Rade Sherbedzija, Labina Mitevska and Uliks Fehmiju would change entirely the course and the destiny of this film.  


Even if the film went on tour on several film festivals, I would like to mention the fact that this film probably haven't  been seen by the right people and right audience because it targets completely different sensibility and taste from the one having in this region. In addition, having star like Rade Sherbedzija along and very small budget is simply not enough but still film has a great potential.  


To be continued...  ---------------------  


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