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Balkan Features

Is It Clear, My Friend? (Je Ti Jiano, Prijetelju?)

Croatia 2000 97 min. color 35mm
An innocent accountant (Milan Plestina) is wrongly imprisoned in a nightmarish prison during the '80s. The inmates, lacking the hearts of gold customary in these stories, are not much better than the sadistic guard (director Acimovic himself) who watches over them. The prison, of course, is a metaphor for the larger injustices of Yugoslav society before the revolution. "This macho tale has its quota of violence, yet is mostly concerned with showing how prisoners lose their personality under inhuman conditions." –Deborah Young, Variety

Director, screenplay: Dejan Acimovic
Director of Photography: Slobodan Trninic
Music: Goran Bregovic
Editor: Tvrtko Grgic
Producer: Tatjana Acimovic
Production: DA Film; Croatia Film
Cast: Milan Plestina, Milivoj Beader, Dejan Acimovic

Dejan Acimovic was born in Capljina, now Bosnia and Herzegovina. He graduated from the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1986, and since then has appeared in a number of plays, films and television shows. Is It Clear, My Friend? is his directorial debut.

The Cordon (Kordon)

Serbia 2003 87 min. color 35mm
It's 1997. The Milosevic regime is under attack, but still has plenty of fight left. The movie takes place during one wild night of violence and repression, tying together the stories of several Yugoslavs from different parts of the country. Street protests are countered by the special squad of police who are the subject of "The Cordon." The film takes the unusual path of focusing on the police-not as Milosevic thugs, but as working-class men with their own tales to tell, stuck with one of society's most thankless jobs. "With dark, sometimes claustrophobic directing, sustained by documentary images of the street demonstrations, the movie digs into the feelings and contradictions of a group of men forced to accomplish their duty amidst chaos" -Rafael Valle Munoz, FIPRESCI (International Society of Film Critics). Winner, Grand Prix at Montreal World Film Festival 2003.

Director: Goran Markovic
Screenplay: Nebosa Romcevic
Director of Photography: Predrag Popovic
Music: Zoran Simjanovic
Sound: Ljubisa Spegar
Editor: Marko Glusac
Producers: Nikola Mirkov, Ljuba Djordjevic, Slobodan Jocic
Production: Viktorija Film and RTS
Cast: Marko Nikolic, , Nenad Jezdic, Nikola Duricko, Nebosa Nilovanovic, Ratko Tankosic, Milutin Milosevic, Marija Dakic

The son of actors, Markovic was born in 1946. He's one of the best known of the "Czech School" of Yugoslav directors trained at FAMU in Prague, and teaches at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. Filmography: Special Education (1976); National Class (1978); Jack of All Trades (1980); Variola Vera (1981); Taiwan Canasta (1985); Déja Vu (1987); Meeting Point (1989); Tito and Me (1992); Burlesque Tragedy (1995); Belgrade Follies (1997); Unimportant Heroes (2000); Serbia, Year Zero (2001); The Cordon.

The Professional (Profesionalac)

Serbia and Montenegro 2003 105 min. color 35mm
In present-day Belgrade, Teja, a middle-aged publisher and former self-styled radical, is confronted by Luka, the secret policeman who spent decades shadowing him. As the two finally get to know each other face to face, the black-and-white duality of victim and snitch dissolves into the more bitter and honest humor of compromise and collaboration. As in Kovacevic's script for Kusturica's "Underground" (Palm d'Or winner at Cannes, 1995) the simple, earthy story of two men becomes an extended joke about a vanished dictatorship, played out on a panoramic scale. The drollest irony is that in the world of "The Professional," it seems that nobody loves you or looks after you as tenderly as the secret police can. Serbia and Montenegro's submission for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Director, screenplay: Dusan Kovacevic
Director of Photography: Bozidar 'Bota' Nikolic
Music: Momcilo 'Bajaga' Bajagic
Editor: Marko Glusac
Producers: Dejan Vrazalic, Predrag Jakovljevic
Cast: Bora Todorovic, Branislav Lecic, Natasa Ninkovic, Dragan Jovanovic, Josif Tatic

Dusan Kovacevic was born in 1948 in Mrdjenovac, near Bac. In 1973 he graduated from the Academy for Theatre, Film, Radio and TV in Belgrade. He has authored several award winning screenplays. Filmography as director: Balkan Spy (1981); The Professional (2003) As writer (selected): Who's Singing OverThere? (1980); Special Treatment (1980); Marathon Family (1986); Underground (1995); The Professional (2003).