Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Theatrical Death Trip through Bosnia's War

I only got to see one film at the year's D.C. International Film Festival, but it was a film that Balkans via Bohemia readers will be interested in seeing if it comes their way: Goran Marković's film Turneja ("The Tour").

It is a bleak and bitter tragicomedy about a group of Belgrade actors who sign up -- out of boredom and perhaps a bit of greed -- to perform on a "tour" of the front lines of Bosnia's three-sided war in 1993.

Problem is, they don't know that they'll be performing literally on the front lines in an effort to lift the morale of Serbian troops. Let's just say: There will be blood. And rakija. And all the horrors of war. And that an attempt to play Feydeau's farce A Flea in Her Ear cannot help but end very badly indeed.

I've always liked Marković's work. His 2002 movie about the winter street protests of 1996 that nearly brought down Slobodan Milosevic -- Kordon -- was brilliant. And The Tour is very good, though stretched out a bit unevenly in plot and tone to make sure that the hapless actors encounter almost every side of the war.

There are, however, many wonderful performances. (Many American TV viewers will recognize Croatian actress Mira Forlan from stints in Babylon 5 and Lost.)

A couple clips are circulating online, including this harrowing scene in which the actors stumble through a mine field, happening first upon encircled Croatian troops and then upon a Serbian paramilitary commander (played with feverish intensity by Sergej Trifunovic) who is clearly based on Arkan and his troops. (Trifunovic is staggeringly good, getting the notorious down the obsession with his soon-to-be-wife, Ceca, and her song "Kukavica.")

The clip of that scene -- this one shorter and with subtitles, and this one longer, and without. The Tour is definitely worth catching if it comes to your town at a festival or otherwise.

5 comments:

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i.p.igo said...

Like your blog and the text about The Tour. True, movie is a bit dragging but, so far, it is the best on the topic, stronger and more poetic than No Man's Land even.