Angels Don't Live Here Anymore By Borislav Andjelic

in 22nd Warsaw International Film Festival

by Borislav Andjelic

A blend of the bitter and the pungent, the dehumanized and the deeply humane and noble coupled with a parallel deep resignation and the need for hope, a presentation of the “raw” facts of life which underly the film’s “metaphorically poetical” structure – these could perhaps be the main traits of Goran Paskaljevic’s latest film – Midwinter Night’s Dream (San zimske noci).

Seen from this perspective, the film appears as a very ambitious enterprise endeavouring to use an emotion-filled human drama to confront us with the ‘demons’ in our midst and the associated traumatic experiences.

The ‘Dream’ is a bitter ode to man’s defeat as the entire architecture of Filip David’s script rests on the margins of reality of the recent civil war in the ex-Yugoslav region. It is a quest for love that epitomizes the impossibility of securing any greater permanence in a dehumanized milieu. In a tragic denouement befalling the fates of their main characters, Paskaljevic and Filip David deliberately propound a clear politically-imbued idea about the all-embracing and widespread misfortune of our ‘autistic’ world into which we have all been forced, partly due to others and partly through our own fault.

To launch the motivational mechanism, Paskaljevic uses a story – without actually showing it to us – about a crime that occurred in the first days of the war, which left a lasting mark on the fate of the main character Lazar, and, through the principle of joined vessels, also on the fates of Jasna, a refugee from Bosnia, and her autistic daughter Jovana.

The film was made with minimalist means in Goran Paskaljevic’s recognizable style, aided excellently by Milan Spasic who used a digital video camera skillfully to create the atmosphere of a tormented and gloom-stricken environment as well as by Zoran Simjanovic whose musical score admirably supports the states of mind and emotional twists.

One of the film’s main features is Lazar Ristovski’s remarkable interpretation of the title role – for sure, a most memorable one. The brilliant Jasna Zalica and the autistic girl Jovana, who in actual fact played herself, are other characters who also bear those pronounced traits that contribute toward a comprehensive metaphorical interpretation of the world.