Blow Up


The ex-Yugoslav nation-states are together building a unique brand of ethnic movie: embraceable comic nihilism, bleeding with memories of truly horrific local warfare but still biting every rump in sight simply for the bitter fun of it. Good old-fashioned anarchy, this 2003 Bosnian farce—the first feature by director Pjer Zalica—throws gasoline and dances in the conflagration like low-grade Kusturica. We’re plopped down into a corrupt, rancor-poisoned village on the Serbian border just two years after the civil war, as it is scrambling to create the illusion of law-abiding togetherness and democracy on the eve of a visit from President Clinton. Smugglers, white slavery, land mines, martyr ghosts, relentless renditions of “House of the Rising Sun,” guns everywhere: This multi-character weave offhandedly recalls Jirí Menzel’s Czech-village time capsules just as it articulates the political canyon between social appearance and the vendetta bloodthirst underneath. Throughout, Zalica’s touch is broad but sure, and his satire has plenty of fuel. With a director’s statement and a “discussion guide.”