News 02 Mar 16

Serbian War Drama Delights Belgrade Film-Goers

‘A Good Wife’, a new feature film about a woman who accidentally discovers that her husband has a criminal wartime past, packed a Belgrade cinema for its Serbian premiere.

Ivana Nikolic
BIRN
Belgrade
The film's crew at the FEST press conference. Photo courtesy of FEST.

‘A Good Wife’, directed by the Serbian actress Mirjana Karanovic, who also co-wrote the screenplay and played the main role, was welcomed with loud applause at its Belgrade premiere at the Sava Centre on Tuesday evening.

Karanovic plays Milena, a housewife in her fifties who lives a comfortable life until she finds a videotape from her husband’s days as a fighter in the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.

On the tape, she sees her husband executing bound and frightened civilians, together with several other members of his military unit.

She then has to decide whether to turn her husband in to the authorities or try to forget what she saw.

Karanovic said she wanted to explore a difficult story that relates not only to Serbian society, but to the whole of the former Yugoslavia.

“On the one hand, there is loyalty towards the family and one’s surroundings and on the other hand, there is the ethical imperative,” she told a press conference on Monday.

“People have a right to sacrifice their own life. Some people are ready to sacrifice lives of the others as well, but that entails great responsibility,” she said.

The drama, which is also Karanovic’s directorial debut, had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

Even though it has since been shown in other various countries, Karanovic said her aim was to address a Serbian audience.

“In terms of its meaning, this premiere might be the most important one for me,” she said.

The premieres in other countries were intended to promote the film, but “here we want to communicate with the people”, she explained.

Karanovic is one of the most famous actresses in the region and has continued to work with film-makers from other former Yugoslav countries since the 1990s wars.

She played a raped Bosnian mother in the film ‘Grbavica’ and a Croatian widow in ‘Witnesses’.

Last year, she also appeared in a Kosovo director Isa Qosja’s ‘Three Windows and a Hanging’, which tackles the taboo of wartime sexual assault.

‘A Good Wife’ was showing in Belgrade as part of the competitive selection at the 44th International Film Festival, FEST.

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