Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original title: Sjaj U Ocima
Serbia and Montenegro/United KIngdom, 2003. Film and Music Entertainment, Yodi Movie Craftsman. Screenplay by Srdjan Karanovic. Cinematography by Radan Popovic. Produced by Zoran Cvijanovic, Mike Downey, Milko Josifov, Sam Taylor. Music by Zoran Simjanovic. Production Design by Goran Joksimovic. Costume Design by Sasa Kuljaca. Film Editing by Branka Ceperac, Branka Pavlovic. Toronto International Film Festival 2003.
A Serbian man leaves Croatia as a refugee and finds himself in Belgrade without a penny to his name or a soul to call a friend. Knowing that his fiancee has gone ahead to Chicago and is waiting for him, he tries every possible international organization he knows of to find out her whereabouts but to no avail. To relieve his loneliness and maybe even as a last resort at finding her, he signs up with an internationally connected dating service that pairs him up with a beautiful young Muslim girl and the two discover a mutual attraction. The whimsical addition to the story here is that figures from the characters’ pasts stand by and comment on scenes, appearing as mental projections on the part of the protagonists but also adding depth to the relationship as it develops. The device is hilarious but wryly tragic as well, detailing the damaged soul of a country that has suffered so much in recent years. The humour, the romance and the serendipitous outcome are all balanced by director Srdjan Karanovic, here making his first feature film in fifteen years after a series of successful documentaries.