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The Cinematic Victory Of 'Where The Road Leads' 1

The Cinematic Victory Of 'Where The Road Leads'

Recently we saw a plethora of amazing films at the recently concluded MAMI Film Festival. Among them was the Serbian film ‘Ovuda Ce Proci Put’ (Where The Road Leads). Directed by Nina Ognjanovic, the film revolves around a late teen village girl Jana, who tries hard to save the life of a ‘new guy’ who came from a city the previous day. Who is this ‘new guy’? And how come a connection made a few hours ago makes someone fight the odds to save him?

With the film, Ognjanovic raises the bar of cinematic storytelling, where two basic elements of filmmaking: character progression and the development of events go inversely proportional to each other. We are first introduced to the character of Jana played by Jana Bjelica who is running only to find a murder happening in front of her. Then the film progresses. What follows are the series of time frames going backward, where it is revealed, what actually had happened.

The director plays it cleverly in introducing us to the characters of the film as we go back in the set time frames. We see Jana desperately running around the village and as she asks the people about this ‘new guy’ (played by Zlatan Vidovic), we are not only told about the projected characters but also the fact that almost everyone in the village is against him. Furthermore, we are also told about this person’s character sketch through the conversations. The characters may appear lively or colorful, however, they have been meticulously molded grey and humane.

Another winner in the film is its cinematography by Vladislav Andrejevic. Some of his frames are simply breathtaking, while some actually give you a feeling of a Western Spaghetti flick with the smart use of sunlight and close-ups. With this, Andrejevic beautifully amalgamates the serenity of the rural Serbian landscape with the intensity shown by using most of the sunlight.

Encrypted with the story are the underlying themes of new vs old and misery. There are instances in the film where the village finds infrastructural development around them as an attack. When Vidovic’s character gets introduced in the third and the final time frame of the film, where he speaks about his roots in the village he arrives and later criticizes. Gently attacking the narrow-mindedness of some of the villagers, he also goes on to provide them with suggestions to improve their situation, only to face a clash of ideas among the villages over it. What is further interesting in the storytelling is about the gentle portrayal of a young blood’s infatuation, that can even claim lives.

‘Where The Road Leads’ is actually a true cinematic triumph. The director crafts the story in such a way with prevalent themes, which have been rarely pulled off. It deserves all the praise and accolades that it is getting. I personally won’t be surprised if it ends up at the Academy Awards platform for Screenplay and Direction. Be it an award or nomination. This film is strongly recommended and you have got to watch it at whatever festival or platform it comes at.

Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.

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