Review: ‘My Beautiful Country’

Strong perfs, particularly by the kids, whose own dramas build tangentially under the NATO bombings, could sell this wartime romance's otherwise predictable trajectory.

Set in a pastoral corner of Serbia across the Ibar river from Albania during the Kosovo war, Michaela Kezele’s first feature, “My Beautiful Country,” concerns two star-crossed lovers — a young Serbian widowed mother and a wounded Albanian soldier who takes refuge in her home. Bathed in golden light, the handsome couple enjoy their amorous idyll in defiance of escalating hostilities, enlarging their protective reach to include the two boys. Strong perfs, particularly by the kids, whose own dramas build tangentially under the NATO bombings, could sell this wartime romance’s otherwise predictable trajectory.

Helmer Kezele, herself the product of a Serb-Croat union, clearly shares her heroine Danica’s (Zrinka Cvitesic) disgust with war, stressing day-to-day domestic rifts caused by the ongoing ethnic conflict: Her older son skips school, while the younger has remained mute since his father’s death. The only menfolk left in the small village are either old or mobilized, and Serbian women bar Albanian neighbors from their basements during air raids. Though Kerkele portrays the brief romance between Danica and her Albanian (Misel Maticevic) in visually idealized terms, the affair’s vulnerability also becomes apparent, with community-wide reconciliation indefinitely deferred.

My Beautiful Country



A Sperl production. (International sales: Sperl Prods., Munich.) Produced by Gabriela Sperl, Sophie von Uslar Co-producers, Damir Teresak, Miroslav Mogorovich. Directed, written by Michaela Kezele.


Camera (color), Felix Novo de Olivieira; editors, Andre Bendocchi-Alves, Stine Sonne Munch; music, Gerd Baumann, Martina Eisenreich; production designer, Goran Joksimovic Joksa. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (First Films, competing), Aug. 1, 2012. Running time: 88 MIN.


Zrinka Cvitesic, Misel Maticvic, Andrija Nikecevic, Milos Mesarovic, Slavko Stimac.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety