Friday, September 14, 2007

The Meeting Point

Sabirni centar; Fantasy/ Satire, Serbia, 1989; D: Goran Marković, S: Rade Marković, Bogdan Diklić, Dragan Nikolić, Olivera Marković, Danilo 'Bata' Stojković, Anica Dobra

Gornja Dobrava, Yugoslavia, '69. During an archaeological excavation professor Miša and his assistant Petar find some antique coffin. Miša is so excited that he gets sick and quickly dies in his home. But then his son starts complaining because he left his entire house to the city, and not him. At the same time, Miša's soul finds itself in some afterlife world reminiscent of an antique town in a desert, the so called "The Meeting Point". But Miša and a few other dead people find a way out that leads back to Earth, returning back to life. People are surprised, but Miša dies again when he finds out his excavations were destroyed.

In the filmography of the brilliant writer Dušan Kovačević there is an abundance of extraordinary and unusual films that merge Greek tragedy of cosmic proportions with the Balkan mentality, from "Who's That Singing over There?" up to "Underground", while the fantasy farce "The Meeting Point" is his most unusual, but sadly not also his best film. In that strange story revolving around a soul of the deceased professor Miša that finds himself in some sort of afterlife town in the middle of the desert (the locations were shot on Tunisian soil), "The Meeting Point", contains scenes that range from bizarre misfires (the dead souls get flashed by a light of a spaceship (?) that disappears as fast as it appeared) through neat ones (a barber wants to shave the corpse of Miša, but he suddenly returns back to life) up to bizarrely hilarious ones (4 "renegade" dead souls are running in a labyrinth trying to escape from purgatory, and run into Jesus Christ carrying his cross, Turks that fights each other and Stalin). Unfortunately, these ingredients were not connected into a harmonious whole, the humor is sparse and forced, the motivations of the characters confusing, and not even the magnificent comedian Danilo 'Bata' Stojkovic can bring some redeeming features in this uneven, but interesting film. Not even the point is clear, even though some have interpreted it as a message that it's better to be dead than to live in a mad and ignorant world.


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