The NW Film Center brings director Danis Tanovic’s (Triage, No Man’s Land) sexy, communicative adaptation of Ivica Djikic’s novel Cirkus Columbia to the screen today, February 21st, as part of PIFF 35.
The setting is Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1991. The communists have fallen from power. Divko Buntic returns to the small town where he grew up after a 20-year exile in Germany. With a flashy red Mercedes, a voluptuous young girlfriend named Azra, his lucky black cat Bonny, and a pocketful of Deutschmarks, Divko forcefully evicts his estranged wife Lucija in order to take his home back.
When Bonny the cat disappears, the whole town joins in a frantic search to get the cash reward, simultaneously putting strain on Divko’s fragile relationship with Azra and his attempted reunion with his 20-year-old son Martin. Not so unexpectedly, Azra and Martin are strongly attracted to each other. Disruption and clandestine activities ensue, but while these plot lines unravel daily, everyone seems unaware of the mounting political unrest around them: Croatia has seceded, all Yugoslavs are being forced to take sides, and the Serbs begin bombing Dubrovnik. Although their area is on high alert, many still can’t imagine anyone or anything could divide Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Cirkus Columbia is Danis Tanovic’s most recent film about war and its consequences. It is set in the period before the conflict reaches his native Bosnia & Herzegovina, while his 2009 film Triage dealt with post-war trauma, and his 2001 debut feature No Man’s Land took place in the midst of the Bosnian war in 1993 and won the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, as well as Best Script prizes at the Cannes Film Festival and European Film Awards; the widely acclaimed film received over 40 international awards, making it one of the most awarded first feature films in history. With Cirkus Columbia, one could say that Tanovic has come full circle, giving audiences a glimpse of the before, during, and after of war in that part of the world.
See it at 8:45 PM (Lloyd Mall 6).
(Cirkus Columbia review taken in part from Match Factory)