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Yugoslavia, 1960 (MIFF 1961, Programme 33)

Director: Veljko Bulajic

Cesare Zavattini, the script-writer of the Italian neo-realist films, Bicycle Thieves, Shoe Shine and Umberto D had an idea for a film which he later entitled The War. After negotiations, Jadran Film in Yugoslavia agreed to make this film according to Zavattini's scenario.

The story is about Ton and Maria, two young people who are about to get married, but on their proposed wedding day, war breaks out. Being young and innocent they do not fully understand the tragedy and atrocity of war, so in spite of everything, they still want to get married. But just at the moment they are about to pronounce the decisive word, "Yes", the bombardment commences and the marriage ceremony is not completed. They are swept up in the turbulence of the first days of the war.

Gradually it becomes evident to them that all that is left for them is to revolt against the initiators of war. It is then that an atomic bomb Is dropped on their village. By chance, Ton and Maria are not killed in the catastrophe. But these events have their consequences which are not revealed until the couple leaves the devastated town to start life afresh.

The script provided director Bulajic with a difficult subject, and he has attempted to intertwine both the grotesque and the tragic aspects of the material as well as including some comic scenes - albeit ones with a bitter overtone. Bulajic is noted abroad as the director of Tram Without a Timetable.

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