Purportedly the first wholly independent, nongovernment-subsidized feature from post-breakup Yugoslavia, "Land of Truth, Love & Freedom" has an inherent political interest that regrettably won't translate for offshore auds.
Purportedly the first wholly independent, nongovernment-subsidized feature from post-breakup Yugoslavia, “Land of Truth, Love & Freedom” has an inherent political interest that regrettably won’t translate for offshore auds. Pretentious vid-shot pastiche of found footage, cinephile in-jokes and gangsta posturing is Dusan Makavejev meets Tarantino in the glibbest sense: Its structurally tricky subversions are largely held hostage to Western pop notions of machismo cool that undermine any serious intent. Potential avant-Eurotube slots aside, this is strictly fringe fest fare.
Frame has film editor Boris (local screen/rock icon Boris Milivojevic) unraveling in a subterranean Belgrade psychiatric hospital as bombs rain overhead. He spins possibly fictive tales of a hit man alter-ego ordered to kill his mob-indebted friend. As perverse recompense, gunman anonymously hires a prostitute for the soon-to-be-dead pal, then is horrified to discover said working girl is own devoted g.f. The hooker/tough-guy gender dynamics play like a blowhard genre fantasy sans sufficient ironic distance. Outer story’s Kafka-esque air of insanity and Stalinist-hangover paranoia is likewise too derivative to carry much real charge. Eye-blink clips (ranging from Tarkovsky’s “Stalker” to Hitchcock, Conan pics and vintage Yugo-kitsch) further quasi-experimental pic’s bratty self-consciousness.