Monday, April 09, 2012

"Circus Columbia" tells a story in pre-war Bosnia

In 2006, Danis Yanovic filmed a pre-Bosnian-war dramedy, “Cirkus Columbia” (sometimes spelled in English as “Circus Columbia”) consolidating many of the personal and political issues for people in the Bosnia-Herzegovina region faced after the fall of Tito and communism in the former Yugoslavia.

The title of the film refers to an amusement park ride in a Bosnian town, shown at the end of the film as the 1991 shelling is about to start.  

Divko Buntic (Miki Manojlovic), a middle-aged divorced man with a young girl friend and estranged young adult (and draft-age) son Martin (Boris Ler), returns to the town in Bosnia after twenty years of “exile” in Germany.  He seems to be well-off, and tries to evict his former wife from his home.  He is very attached to a black cat, which gets loose and the aftermath generates a lot of the energy for much of the film.

Martin is coming of age, discovering women, and also finding out the brutal truth about tribal values in post-Tito Bosnia. So, then, toes Divko.

Bonny is a wonderful cat, almost as cinema-savvy as Uggie in "The Artist".  "He" has a way of reappearing at the most critical moment (for Martin). And he loves to watch things. 

“Cirkus” is really the first (though last made) of a trilogy of films about the Bosnian wars; “No Man’s Land” takes place during the heart of the war in 1993, and “Triage” deals with the aftermath.

The film opened in New York in February 2012.  Strand will offer the DVD on May 1.

Strand’s official site is here. I received a review DVD recently.

Photo: mine, from Ellicott City, MD

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