The Horseman

An effective historical epic usually involves a large-scale subject, breathtaking vistas, lush production values, and grand human passions. Director Branko Ivanda delivers on all counts with this 2003 Croatian feature, a saga of lovers divided by religion and realpolitik. Set in 1747 near the border of present-day Bosnia and Croatia, the story revolves around two brothers, one loyal to the ruling Venetian militia, the other to the Eastern Orthodox church. To further his ambitions, the soldier deserts and converts to Islam, only to endanger himself by falling for the daughter of a nearby Ottoman governor. The most intriguing and sympathetic character is a diplomat who, in trying to please all, sadly learns that everyone lies. In Croatian with subtitles. 136 min.

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