Belgrade’s Art & Popcorn Bets on War Drama ‘The General’

Belgrade's Art & Popcorn Bets on

Russian-Serbian co-production, helmed by Bakur Bakuradze, plays at Karlovy Vary's Work in Progress sidebar

Serbian shingle Art & Popcorn is joining forces with Russia’s Vita Aktiva and CTB Film Company to co-produce war drama “The General,” the third feature by Georgian-born Bakur Bakuradze.

Shot in Serbia, in Serbian and Russian, and now in post-production, “The General” is one of the 15 film projects selected to take part in the Karlovy Vary Film Festival’s Works in Progress sidebar.

Writer-director Bakur Bakuradze broke through onto the international film scene via the Cannes Festival, where his first film, “Shultes,” premiered in 2008 in Directors’ Fortnight section, and his sophomore pic, “The Hunter,” was selected to compete in Un Certain Regard three years later.

Vita Aktiva and Sergei Selianov’s leading Russian film production house CTB Film Company, collaborate regularly on movie production, having previously teamed on the first two Bakuradze pics.

Alongside Belgrade-based Art & Popcorn’s Miroslav Mogorovic, “The General” co-producers also include Russia’s Zaur Bolotaev at Focus Plus Cinema and Look Film’s Alexander Plotnikov.

Turning on the personal and psychological consequences of war, film focuses on the last twelve months of Dejan Stanic, an utterly isolated man now in his sixties, but a former general of the Balkans War -played by Serbian thesp Marko Nikolic – who finds refuge in the village house of an old man -actor Mihail Tirinda- who becomes the only person close to him.

“Conceptually, there is a connection between Bakuradze’s three films: He’s interested in a strong man caught in a tough situation and tries to understand what such a man would do,” said Vita Aktiva’s producer Julia Mishkinene. 

After learning about the news of the 2011 capture and transfer to the Intl. Criminal Court in the Hague of Serbian army general Ratko Mladic, Bakuradze “was curious to understand the feelings of a man who had long been a fugitive from justice and is forced to become an outcast. That’s how the idea of the film came into being,” she said.

Mladic is not the direct subject of “The General,” the producer said: He’s just one of many figures who have raised questions about the fate of such people.

According to Mishkinene, “this story should be very comprehensible to anyone in Europe and post-Soviet territories because everyone there has some experience of a civil war in one way or another.”

Scheduled for a 2015 release, the Russian-Serbian co-production is looking at Karlovy Vary for funding for post-production and sound mixing and its still-to-be-closed budget would be around €800,000 ($1,088,000), Mishkinene said.

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