Catching the spirit of a nation, the film serves as a sharp observation of contemporary society in the Balkans
This film is the third feature written and directed by director Goran Markovic, who has proved to be one of the best Serbian directors in the latter part of the 20th century. Despite his youth (or perhaps because of it), the director has successfully made a film which transcends the boundaries of the plot, and goes to serve as a sharp observation and critique of the contemporary society in former Yugoslavia, thus becoming one of the best Yugoslav films.
While aptly re-creating a typically charged atmosphere in a large and highly successful Belgrade school by depicting various teachers and the school staff and showing us their relationships, their characteristics (and mostly their flaws), he manages to also catch the spirit of a nation, and to visualize through analogous dialogs (and other film accessories)a time of great conflicts and tumultuous relations on the Balkans peninsula, which have marked the second half of the century, only to lead from bad to worse.
The acting is, as in most major films made in Yugoslavia 1at that time, superb. Even though there is no leading role, each character (and actor) has its turn to shine and personify yet another type of existence, and thus to weave its thread into the rich tapestry of the film's vision.
I would like especially to emphasize the importance of the poem recited at the end of the film. It serves as a kind of summary of what we have seen (or what we should have seen), and a manifest of the director's ideas and credos.
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