Land of Truth, Love & Freedom

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.

With:
With: Boris Milivojevic, Dorde Andelic, Vanja Govorko, Biljana Srbljanovic, Rade Markovic, Mirela Pavlovic, Milorad Milinkovic, Slobodan-Boda Ninkovic, Dalibor Andonov-Gru, Alja Nikitovic, Nikola Duricko.

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.

Land of Truth, Love & Freedom

Yugoslavia

Production: A Sean Aloysius O'Fearna & Sons production in association with Soul Flower. Produced by Milutin Petrovic. Executive producers, Petrovic, Predrag Bambic. Directed by Milutin Petrovic. Screenplay, Petrovic, Sasa Radojevic, Petar Jakonic.

Crew: Camera (color, video-to-35mm), Andreja Leko, Predrag Bambic; editors, Jakonic, Petrovic; music, Misa Savic, Petrovic; production designer, Ninoslav Bambulovic. Reviewed at Montreal Film Festival (Cinema of Tomorrow), Aug. 31, 2001. Running time: 77 MIN.

With: With: Boris Milivojevic, Dorde Andelic, Vanja Govorko, Biljana Srbljanovic, Rade Markovic, Mirela Pavlovic, Milorad Milinkovic, Slobodan-Boda Ninkovic, Dalibor Andonov-Gru, Alja Nikitovic, Nikola Duricko.

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