Ex-Yugoslavian Territories Pick Oscar Hopefuls

Serbia’s “Montevideo, God Bless You” and “Punk’s Not Dead” from Macedonia among the region’s foreign language contenders.

BERLIN – The countries of the former Yugoslavia have submitted their candidates for next year’s foreign-language Oscar race and the themes and subject matter of the contending films are as diverse and divided as the Balkans itself.

The Oscar hopefuls range from Macedonia’s Punk’s Not Dead, Vladimir Blazevski’s low-budget road movie that won Best Film of the East of the West competition in Karlovy Vary to Serbian box office hit Montevideo, God Bless You, a period piece from actor turned director Dragan Bjelogrlic, which follows the Yugoslav national soccer team’s Cinderella run at the 1930s world cup, when they reached the semi-finals.

Croatia is pinning its Oscar hopes on Danilo Serbedzija72 Days, a rural comedy starring the director’s father, actor Rade Serbedzija (X-Men: First Class, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1), which was a big winner at the Croatian national Pula Film Festival last year, with Serbedzija winning Best Actor, Bogdan Diklic taking Best Supporting Actor and the film winning the audience award. On the other end of the cultural spectrum is Slovenia’s Foreign Language contender, Janez Burger’s Silent Sonata, a visually stunning war allegory with no spoken dialogue. The film swept the Slovenian Film Festival last year, taking eight prizes including Best Film and Best Director.

Ahmed Imamovic’s Belvedere, which will represent Bosnia and Herzegovina, also looks back to the Yugoslav war. The black-and-white feature follows a family living in a refugee camp in the wake of the Srebrenica massacre.

Bosnia is the only former Yugoslav country to win an Oscar, for Danis Tanovic’s No Man’s Land in 2001.

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