Država (2013)

A strange Serbian psychological tale in which nothing need be as it seems and reality is eerily malleable!

vt The State
Serbia / 75 minutes / color + some bw / Connections, Echo Dir: Jelene Marković Pr: Jelene Marković, Saša Radojević Scr: Saša Radojević Cine: Ana Božinović, Ksenija Livada Cast: Ana Stefanović, Jelene Marković, Milutin Petrović, Aleks Tsimerlis, Amra Latifić, Ljuma Penov, Svetlana Bajić, Stefan Arsenijević, Miroslav Hristodulo, Vlasta Velisavljević, Šaban Jašan, Ivan Tokin.

The State - 0 opener

Like the Norwegian movie Blind (2014), which I discussed on this site a few weeks ago, Država involves us in the lives of imaginary people. There the resemblance more or less ends because, while Blind presents itself as a fairly seamless whole, Država is content with a much more fragmentary approach, with constant reminders that what we’re watching is a mere artifice. Even despite those reminders, the movie succeeds in getting us involved with the characters, perhaps largely because of a very strong performance from the engaging Ana Stefanović in the central role.

A movie director, Jelene (Marković), is in the process of dreaming up her next feature, looking for inspiration as she rambles in and around Belgrade. She decides her central character will be Maria Pavlović (Stefanović), an attractive lecturer in media studies whose mother died some while ago and whose father is sick in the hospital with something unspecified. Initially Jelene imagines that Maria has a dog, but she soon decides the woman would be better off without it.

Maria visits her father, Dr. Pavlović (Velisavljević), and finds him in surprisingly good fettle. However, he’s paranoid about enemies who, he believes, will ensure he never leaves the hospital alive. Even though Maria has already encountered the creepy Dr. Hristić (Arsenijević)—and repels his amorous attentions (but she’s used to that)—she pooh-poohs her father’s concerns. Yet Dad insists they go out into the hospital gardens so that he can tell her his secret.

The State - 1 Hristic tries to chat up Maria

Hristić (Stefan Arsenijević) tries to chat up Maria (Ana Stefanović).

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