As per its original-language handle (“Five Stories From the War”), “Tired Companions” is a group of slightly overlapping vignettes following various refugees from former Yugoslavia to a new life in Germany. Small but well observed, this second feature by Croatian-born director Zoran Solomun is a natural for cultural webs in Europe.
First of the five segs is the simplest and one of the best, observing the gradual bonding of two young Bosnian women (Sabrina Hodzic, Suada Karisik) after they’re ordered off a train at the Serbian-Hungarian border. Next section (each is intro’d by a caption denoting a passage of time) shows a bunch of illegals being unloaded from a truck, and one of them (Emir Joldic) recognizing an old school friend but immediately getting into an argument with her.
A young hustler from the opening seg, Jimmy (Dario Suk), features in two other stories — one in which he helps an older man (Boro Stjepanovic) sell a war-atrocity story to a German newspaper that’s no longer interested, and another, set during the cease-fire, in which Jimmy engineers a way of returning home. Between these two is a pointed anecdote in which two Serbs meet in Germany but find, after a few drinks, that they have little in common.
Modestly shot on 16mm but well acted, the movie is admirably nonjudgmental and takes no sides in presenting its truths. This is the situation, it seems to say, and there are no simple solutions or villains.