Review: Krivina (Igor Drljaca)

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A feature which grew from a thesis film, Igor Drljaca’s debut is both astute and philosophical beyond its young director’s years. Screening in the Bright Future section, Krivina is set in Bosnia and Toronto, following Miro (Goran Slavkovic) who travels back to the former, his native land, trying to find a friend who is wanted for crimes committed during the Bosnian war. Like the title (which means a curve or bend in the road in Serbo-Croat) the journey is far from straight forward, eventually leading Miro back to where he began: himself.

Most easily categorized as a ghost story, Krivina is not about the supernatural, but the all too real haunting of trauma. Like Amos Gitai’s  Kedma (2002) or Milcho Manchevski’s Before the Rain (1994), Krivina rejects resolution, earning every ounce of its ambiguity. Less opaque than hazy, information is revealed a-temporally as flashbacks and the present seamlessly merge, creating a sense that time and place are lost to Miro, or perhaps he is to them. Surrealist in tone, the film’s formal elements echo of cinéma vérité’s handheld aesthetic, which are juxtaposed with static long takes of unflinching inquisitively. In both cases, however, answers are never clear. Time and again the camera finds itself tracking behind Miro, suggesting he is not only lost to himself, but also us.

The film’s true achievement is a subtle yet oppressive soundtrack, which hums with a constant anxiety like the ringing in one’s ears after a loud noise. Here, however, the explosive event never takes place on screen, remaining indefinable in scope. The result is the sense there is no clear beginning or end, only a constant lost present.

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