Bosnian immigrant is not overly enamored with his new Canadian residence. His feelings towards his homeland are even
more complicated. It will be a strange
homecoming for the dispossessed wanderer in Igor Drljača’s Krivina (trailer
screens during MoMA’s tenth annual Canadian Front film series.
wartime immigrant, Miro’s travels took him to Toronto, by way of Montreal,
Germany, Venice, and Croatia. Venice was
an especially eventful leg of his journey, for reasons he is reluctant to
discuss. In need of closure, a sense of
belonging, or perhaps both, Miro has returned to Bosnia in search of his old
friend Dado. Formerly a shy Bosniak kid,
Dado was profoundly changed by the war.
Still considered a war criminal, Miro’s former chum apparently lives as
a fugitive in the hills, receiving furtive assistance from the remaining
old-timers. Or perhaps not. The truth of Dado’s fate is rather slippery,
no matter how hard Miro tries to get his hands around it.
basic premise of Krivina could make a
great thriller, sort of like a Balkan Third
Man. However, this is not that
film. Instead, Drljača presents a
cerebral meditation on how war fractures not just countries, but relationships
and personalities. There are ample
scenes of Miro’s back as he trudges along country roads in search of his
ambiguous friend. Eventually, writer-director-producer-co-editor
Drljača ventures into somewhat surreal terrain, but since he maintains the same
cold, quietly austere tone, viewers really need to watch closely to notice the
many ways, Krivina is more like
watching a psychoanalysis session for the Bosnian Diaspora than a dramatic
film. While the product of a Canadian
company and a director now residing in Canada, the TIFF-selected Krivina still feels like a bit of an
outsider in this year’s Canadian Front.
It certainly does not romanticize the Canadian émigré experience or the
conduct of Canadian peacekeepers during the Bosnian War.
Goran Slavković brings a brooding physicality to the film as Miro. While not exactly a great thespian showcase, the
wild looking Jasmin Geljo gives the film an edge as Miro’s Canadian co-worker,
Drago. However, it is probably
cinematographer Roland Echavarria whose work most defines Krivina, conveying the deceptive verdant peacefulness of the
is a tough trek and it clearly does not care
whether general audiences come along or not.
It is deeply personal filmmaking, arguably too much so. Frankly, for Bosnian War survivors, it might
be too cerebral, lacking that big cathartic pay-off. Admirable for its integrity of vision, it is best
reserved for hardcore cineastes and festival patrons. For intrigued MoMA members, it screens today
(3/13) and Saturday (3/16) as part of the 2013 edition of Canadian Front.
Labels: Bosnian-Herzegovinian Cinema, Canadian Cinema, Canadian Front '13