Skip to main content

CABARET BALKAN

Yugoslavia, 1998 (MIFF 1999, International Panorama)

Director: Goran Paskaljević

Veteran Serbian director Goran Paskaljević's Cabaret Balkan is set in Belgrade in 1995, offering a rivetting, fictitious account of events occurring on the night of the Dayton Peace Agreement. It is the dawn of an awakening political consciousness, fraught with the lingering threat of hatred, violence and hostility.

Paskaljević is most concerned with Ihe lives of ordinary people caught in the fray, forced to cope with brutal, everyday realities while still hoping to one day awake from the nightmare. The recent events in Kosovo provide a frightening example of life imitating art, a testament to the prescient nature of Paskaljević's potent film.

The signs of war are everywhere, madness and conflict haunt the city. In a crumbling Belgrade hospital, Michael visits his childhood friend Boris, who has had his legs blown off on the front line. Michael bears a gift, a pair of electronically operated artificial limbs from Paris. A hopeless romantic, Michael is prepared to spend all his earnings on the gift and a special evening with his former fiancee, an act that could prove utterly futile.

Mustache, a former teacher, refuses to work for profiteers and has taken a job as a night bus driver. Paradoxically, he will go to extreme measures to protect what he believes is an honest job. His 17 year old son, who has become tangled up with the local mafia, is being hunted tor a crime he didn't commit. These and other stories make up the strands of this engrossing film. Its brilliant structure succeeds in conveying the impression that the lives of all characters are ultimately intertwined in an explosive destiny on this fateful, historic night.

See also...

BROWN'S REQUIEM

James Ellroy spent the early 80s in an alcoholic haze, stealing womens' underwear from clotheslines when he wasn't on a bender or absorbing a century of crime fiction. From casual work as a drunken ... More »

LOVE IS THE DEVIL

Love is the Devil recounts the turbulent relationship between controversial British artist Francis Bacon and his lover, George Dyer. Their first volatile meeting - when Dyer attempted to burgle ... More »

AUGUST 32ND ON EARTH

Denis Villeneuve made his mark directing 20 short videos and winning first prize in the Canadian equivalent of the ABC's Race Around the World. August 32nd on Earth indicates his exceptional flair ... More »

THE LOSS OF SEXUAL INNOCENCE

In his most personal film, Mike Figgis has created a beautiful and multilayered work. The Loss of Sexual Innocence is a complex, yet powerfully emotive film with a segmented structure overarched by ... More »

MY NAME IS JOE

This tale of working class characters caught in a down­ward spiral of their own and society's weaknesses could be considered amongst Ken Loach's best work. As befits his reputation, this is a no ... More »

BEST LAID PLANS

With echoes of the Coen Brothers' debut, Blood Simple (1984), Best Laid Plans is a noir-ish entanglement of lust, betrayal, theft and murder. At all times it remains a film about the perception of ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director