Mira Furlan as Divko's wife, Lucija (shown in the three final photos, below), whom he has long ago left behind him; Boris Ler as his son, Martin (shown at left, three photos below), on the cusp of manhood whom Divko barely knows; and especially a relative newcomer named Jelena Stupljanin, who plays Divko's current mistress, Azra. (The filmmaker has managed to age Ms. Stupljanin -- shown on poster, top, and at right, three photos below -- quite well, so that she looks younger than Divko, but a good deal older than than Martin; in actuality she and Mr. Ler are but three years apart.)
Ivica Djikic) Tanovic (shown at left) has done something risky and difficult that pays off mightily: He opens his film just days before the outbreak of the war for the former Yugoslavia. For those of us over here who remember reading how ghastly and impossible it seemed that neighbors were bent on destroying neighbors with whom they had lived (and even loved) peaceably for decades, it might seem almost too much to bear -- having to experience something like this all over again. Early on, an admirer of Lucija's warns her of the fighting to come, and she slaps it away with such assurance: We're friends, neighbors. We lived together for so long. Moments like this are not just ironic but heart-wrenching.
Strand Releasing, and running 113 minutes, the movie opens this Friday, February 17, in New York City at the Quad Cinema, and in Los Angeles on Friday, March 9 at Laemmle's Music Hall 3. I would hope for further openings throughout the country. Whatever happens, if you do not catch it in theaters, keep this one on your DVD and/or streaming list.
As we left the press screening for Cirkus Columbia, a few of us critics were greeted with a very nice surprise. One of the movie's stars -- Jelena Stupljanin -- was standing, talking with a friend, as we left the screening room. Something like this almost never happens at the press screenings, and so we were initially taken aback to see a character we'd just been involved with on-screen suddenly standing before us, off-screen. Ms. Stupljanin could not have been sweeter and more welcoming, however, offering a friendly chuckle at our surprised confusion.