Shakespeare’s universal adaptability gets the Romany treatment with “Hamlet,” a gypsy take on the Prince of Denmark shot on a rubbish heap outside Belgrade. Largely employing amateur actors, helmer Aleksandar Rajkovic updates the tale to a dynastic fight between rival garbage collectors, ostensibly commenting on the detritus of modern society but rarely rising to the challenge. Reasonably cinematic treatment, with updated dialogue in Roma, will probably skip along the fest circuit without making a dent.
Juxtaposed against the steaming artificial hills of a landfill, Hamlet (Igor Djordjevic) plays with a white rabbit and cavorts with neighbor Zorica (Mirjana Sisic, as the Ophelia character). Hamlet’s dad was recently killed, and his ghost (Dragoljub Topalovic) confides that it was brother Jova (Petar Bozovic) who did the deed. We all know how it ends, though warring factions of Muslim and Orthodox garbage men add a contempo twist to the line “Something is rotten in the state of” — the world, presumably. Djordjevic and Bozovic are the sole professional thesps, all too apparent in the haltingly delivered dialogue. Dramatic tension is minimal, while lensing, largely lit by natural light, is frequently too dark.