Cabaret Balkan

Characters move from one vignettelike scene to another, their interactions constantly threatening to become or becoming violent, in this provocatively depressing drama, which takes place during a single night in Belgrade. One extended minimalist scene contains its own extravagant climax: two lifelong friends practice boxing, verbally one-upping each other with reminiscences of devotion and betrayal as they exchange blows, their injuries and insults becoming uncannily extreme. Yet director Goran Paskaljevic—who wrote the screenplay with Filip David, Zoran Andric, and Dejan Dukovski, based on Dukovski's play—maintains a realist conviction throughout the movie, an only halfway absurdist allegory whose vision of life in a volatile region is overwhelming in part because it's far from humorless or prescriptive.

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