Title: Cabaret Balkan AKA: The Powder Keg | Буре барут | Barut fiçisi | Beczka prochu | Lőporos hordó | Pyritidapothiki Year: 1998 Original title: Bure baruta Runtime: 1 hour, 38 minutes Country: Federal Republic of Yugoslavia | Republic of Macedonia | France | Greece | Turkey Language: Serbian Subtitles: English (.srt) Genre: Drama
Director: Goran Paskaljevic
Cast Mira Banjac ... The Bosnian Serb Mother Ivan Bekjarev ... The Man on the Bus Who Thinks He's Tough Aleksandar Bercek ... Dimitri, the Crippled Ex-Cop from the Local Cafe Vojislav Brajovic ... Topi, the Ex-Student Revolutionary Trafficker Azra Cengic ... The Wife of the Bus Man Who Thinks He's Tough Bogdan Diklic ... John, the VW Driver Milena Dravic ... The Lady on the Bus with the Hat and Fox Stole Nebojsa Glogovac ... The Chain-Smoking Taxi Driver Mirjana Jokovic ... Ana, the 'Flirt' on the Bus, George's Girlfriend Dragan Jovanovic ... Kosta, the Man with the Oar, Natalia's New Boyfriend Mirjana Karanovic ... Natalia, Mane's Ex-Fiancee Miki Manojlovic ... Mane (Michael), the Homecoming Man (as Predrag-Miki Manojlovic) Toni Mihajlovski ... George, the Eternal Culprit, Ana's Boyfriend Nebojsa Milovanovic ... The Bosnian Serb Son Who Doesn't Want to End Up Like His Father Dragan Nikolic ... John's Boxer Friend Nikola Ristanovski ... Boris, the Esoteric Cabaret Artist Lazar Ristovski ... The Boxer Who Takes the Train Ana Sofrenovic ... The Desperate Young Woman on the Train Danilo 'Bata' Stojkovic ... Viktor, Alex's Father Ljuba Tadic ... The Orchestra Conductor Who Performs with Feeling Predrag Tasovac ... The Old Man Josif Tatic ... Policeman Sergej Trifunovic ... The Young Man Chewing Gum Who Takes the Bus Hostage Marko Urosevic ... Alex, the 'Reckless' Young Driver Velimir 'Bata' Zivojinovic ... The Bosnian Serb Father, the Bus Driver
Plot / Synopsis
In Beograd, mid-1990s, 20 people's paths crisscross one night in rage and theater. A callow youth dents a car; its owner hunts him down and trashes his father's flat. Michael, back from abroad, hopes to reclaim Natalia; her new, younger lover seems outclassed. A Bosnian drives a bus to eke out subsistence; his son works the Black Market for a sadist. A cabby buys drinks for a cop he crippled in revenge. Swarthy friends at a gym confess betrayals of each other; violence erupts, then one menaces a woman on a train. Another young woman, traumatized when a knife-wielding youth commandeers her bus, calls for help and ends up with a gun at her head. It's a cabaret macabre.
The best film to come out Yugoslavia in the last years If you know at least something about the events that took place in former Yugoslavia during the 1990s, you should be able to understand this movie. Many people have misinterpreted this movie as a vicious depictment of some sick Serbian mentality or an exaggerated vision of a post-war Serbia. None of this is true. The theme of "Cabaret Balkan" is not violence. A great parallel can be made between "Cabaret Balkan" and "A Clockwork Orange". The violence in both movies is not the theme - it's merely an extreme way of proving an important point. The oppressors and the oppressed. The small fish and the big fish. The dogs and the sheep (rock fans might find interesting similarities between this movie and Pink Floyd's "Animals". There seems to be certain hierarchy present in "Cabaret Balkan". The passive majority is constantly oppressed by the violent minority, many of whom themselves are victims of "bigger fish". The passive majority is always ready to turn a blind eye, to look the other way or, as a scene from the movie so visually illustrates, sit on a different side of the bus. Who should the war be blamed on? Is it the government's fault? Or is the fault of the people who elected the government? Should the criminals in power take the blame or the people who let them stay in power? A key scene of the movie which takes place in the bus seems to tell us the most about this issue. "You finally stood up to me", says the young bully to the old man who refuses to play alng and answer his insulting questions. In a way, the young bully on the bus is the only real hero of "Cabaret Balkan". He is the only one with the guts to stand up for his rights - everyone else would much rather look the other way, ignore the situation and mind their own business. The original title of the movie - "Powder Keg", draws its name from an old nickname the Balkan peninsula earned at the beginning of this century - a powder keg ready to explode, with multitudes of people constantly fighting wars, making up, then fighting again. After all, isn't that what all the characters in the movie do? The strange mentality of the Balkan people cannot be easily explained, so director Paskaljevic takes it into extremes and creates extremely surreal scenes, like the one in the boxing ring and the bar. Fight. Drink. Fight. Drink. War. Peace. War. Peace. What's it going to be? Doesn't matter, as long as we're all in "good health".
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