Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dreaming the Rose

San o ruži; drama, Croatia, 1986; D: Zoran Tadić, S: Rade Šerbedžija, Fabijan Šovagović, Iva Marjanović, Ljubo Zečević

One night after returning from work, Valent, an ordinary worker in a steel mill, observes a gang of thugs killing a man on the street. He finds a bag near the man's corpse and takes it. Subsequently, he finds it is filled with money. Since his wife Ljuba and his two kids live in poor conditions, he decides to spend the money on his family. However, the local butcher witnessed him taking the bag and tries to blackmail him. When the butcher gets arrested by the police, the thugs capture Valent and interrogate him about the money. However, he shoots them with his gun and disappears.

One of the more overrated Croatian movies of the 80s, "Dreaming the Rose" gained most of its hype for bravely depicting how the social situation of the lower class in pseudo-communist Yugoslavia was not that rosy as it was presented in the news back in those days, yet from today's perspective that hardly seems revolutionary, just normal example of European critique of society. The story about a man (excellent Rade Serbedzija) who finds a bag full of money and decides to keep is stimulative and has spark, yet it is never fully developed by director Zoran Tadic, except on symbolical basis as an essay about ethics and morality. Tadic's scarce style was also present in "The Rhythm of Crime", yet unlike that great crime drama the difference in quality is sensed in artificial story flow, lukewarm dialogues and the stand-out magnificent ending that overshadows almost the whole story up to it, which is the only truly intense crime example - just as the thugs interrogate the hero in a shabby place, demanding for the money, an unexpected twist surprises the viewers and gives them a "run for their money".


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