Kandidat za Oskar

This year's entry from Serbia into the Oscars competition will be Sutra ujutru, directed by Oleg Novković from a screenplay by Milena Marković. The original songs for the film were written and composed by Miroslav Mitrašinović, the optimistic miner from the documentary Rudarska opera, produced by the same couple. The film tells the story of a returnee from Canada who comes home, and meets his old friends and problems in a big way. It is, in my humble opinion, one of the more distinguished pieces of contemporary dramatic film from the area (Full disclosure: I had a very tiny role in the production of the film -- revising the translation -- and Ivana and I have translated a couple of other projects for Milena and Oleg, who are our pals. But we do not have any influence over film juries.).


Bg anon said...

Again you are reading my mind Eric, its getting uncanny now.

Went to see the movie yesterday and was impressed. Novkovic is a breath of fresh air for Serbian film. I'm also impressed by Markovic and saw Rudarska Opera which had one of the most moving endings I've seen in any documentary.

These are the topics that interest me - not nation, ethnic group and war. Topics about dying towns, polution, return of members of the Serbian diaspora, the departure of some of the best Serbia had to offer and so on. In short topics about real life.
Did you see Novkovic's 'normal people'? Its also pretty moving and captures the Belgrade 90's a lot better than many of the more celebrated movies of that period.

I have nothing to disclose apart from my excellent taste in film!

You might want to check out the thread at B92 blog on Sutra Ujutru. Its an unfortnate fact that these types of movies are not given the backing they deserve.

Eric Gordy said...

Rudarska Opera was also our first translation job, made easier by the fact that about a third of the text was by Bertie Brecht and had already been translated by someone else! It's fun work, but since there is really no money in it, we keep it a hobby and only do jobs we like. Our best payment so far was a painting by an artist whose catalog we translated.

We are big fans of Milena and Oleg, and it amazes me that there is not the kind of audience support for good domestic films that there could be. Maybe ticket prices are too high? But they are not really so high.

Anonymous said...

Is this film playing in regular theaters or just at festivals now? is it (will it be) on dvd soon?

Eric Gordy said...

I don't know about a DVD release. It has been at several festivals. With any luck, the Oscar thing might mean it makes it into international distribution. But I don't have any news -- is anyone does, post it here!

Shaina said...

What is the ending for Rudarska Opera?

Anyways I hope to see more films from the Balkans, although so far my viewing has been extremely limited.

Eric Gordy said...

The ending? Two miners perform a song they wrote for Milena at the snowy Bor train station, then she leaves. The film documents her collaboration with the miners in this dying mining town to stage a production of "Threepenny Opera," but the opera is supplemented both by documentary material about the lives of the miners and by some original material relating the opera to their situation, including some Brechtian songs written by the amateur performers.

There are some good recent books on Balkan cinema by Dan Goulding and by Dina Iordanova worth checking out. Unfortunately, except for festivals, not a lot of stuff makes it over to this side of the ocean. Another of my favorite directors, Zelimir Zilnik, has a web site:


Bg anon said...

Just to supplement Eric's reply.

The ending performace for Milena is a surprise for her. Bor is Markovic's home town and you really get the sense that she doesnt want to leave the town, leave her friends and family but she must return to Belgrade.
She listens to them perform in tears before departing. It was so sad to watch.

Novkovic often touches on the themes of leaving and return and its very effective. My overriding impression of Novkovic is of somebody who looks for the best of the Serbian younger generation without trying to apply cosmetics to the mix. That ensures an honest picture of society. I cant wait to see more of his movies.

Eric its a complete lack of promotion of the movie in my opinion although there are other factors.
Who on earth decided to release it during Summer?
Who on earth decided to release it at a time when it will have to compete with the (relatively) large budget Serbian movie 'Seven and a half'?

I hate it when things arent thought out properly. Yeah ok quality films like this never break box office records but the above factors ensure that even less people go to watch.

Never mind, sod the public, Novkovic will get more money from the Serbian government fund. Scratch that, lets not sod the public, lets educate them.