Danis Tanovic’s new film Cirkus Columbia has angry, betrayed characters with troubled pasts. Divko comes home to Bosnia from Germany and brings with him an angry redhead of a trophy girlfriend, Azra, and kicks out his first wife, Lucija, from his house. His son, Martin, loves his ham radio, runs like Pee-Wee Herman, and has a lot of growing up to do.
I know I have to nitpick because that’s better than fooning and fawning over this film. Watching the petty squabbles of a broken family in the eve of the Bosnian war isn’t for everyone. The conflicts within said family has adequate verbal punch but that action being on the forefront just means that we have to wait and wait for the film denouement. And this isn’t much of a critique but a question whether these characters would have matured if the war didn’t happen. Yet it’s the economy of the script, the loyalties and deep love within each character that makes each minute of this film better than the last.
After the film, Tanovic held a ten minute question and answer period with an engaged audience. The director and his sense of humour asked said audience if his film has a happy ending and was a bit shocked that we said yes. The estranged couple Divko and Lucija settle their scores before the storm has come. Call me a sentimentalist, but that is a happy ending and it’s enough for me to give this movie a 5/5.