For those who look forward to the St. Louis International Film Festival every year for the chance to see films that are unlikely to get mainstream distribution, I recommend attending the remaining screening of the 2010 Bosnian film “Cirkus Columbia.”
While I have seen many documentaries concerning the war that broke up Yugoslavia, including a moving documentary, “Back to Bosnia,” shown at the festival several years ago, I have never seen a feature film take on this contentious period of history whose scores are not entirely settled.
Miki Manojlovic plays Divko, a middle aged man who has returned to his native Bosnia to enjoy and flaunt the spoils of the 20 years he spent prospering in Germany. Unfortunately, his intention to impress his home village has prevented him from interpreting the already blowing winds of change that threaten to thwart his plan.
While it may take you a little while to relate to and become invested in the characters, the effort is worthwhile. It’s a very realistic depiction of how political forces can change personal relationships. The film very adroitly does not take sides, a detail that should not be underestimated as the filmmakers, actors, producers most certainly were personally affected by the conflict.
The film hits some false notes at the end, trying too hard to wrap up the plot in an ambiguous bow, but this is minor and does not diminish the plot.
“Cirkus Columbia” will be shown Sunday, November 13 at 9:30 pm at Plaza Frontenac.