„Nebesa“: A multi-genre film inter alia on religion that holds nothing sacred

We recently announced a Serbian film in German cinemas. We have now seen it and have to be partly correct ourselves. The countries of production are listed as Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany and Montenegro (in order of appearance on Moviepilot. So it’s a transnational affair, which is why the topic fits even better on our website.

We have seen the film in the meantime. Therefore, here is some more information about this film, which is worth seeing, but neither simple nor pleasing:

One should not be misled by the trailer, which apparently announces a comedy. This is not wrong, but only applies to the first third of the film, as the film is a genre mix of „drama/comedy/fantasy“. So there is not only light fare, but also a lot of „scenes that demand a lot from the viewer“ and „brutal drawings of post-communist realities of life into a real grotesque, which does not spare social criticism“, in which one „can hardly identify with a person from the crazy potpourri of characters„.

These quotes are from what we consider to be the most concincing review of this film in Dresden’s Top Magazin. We wonder if it is not a coincidence that this differentiated criticism comes from the new – meaning: former Socialist – German republics, where people have a completely different relationship to post-socialist themes.
In Serbia, critics sometimes have a hard time with the film, which is called „Nebesa“ (Heaven/Kingdom of Heaven) in the original. Noitz. rs states: „Iako se zove Nebesa, novi film Srđana Dragojevića nažalost nisko leti (Although it is called Kingdom of Heaven, Srđan Dragojević’s new film unfortunately flies low“.

What is the film about? It’s about many things – perhaps too many: character and mileu studies from thirty years of post-Yugolslavia, satirically exaggerated stories about the relationship of old communists to religion and the Serbian Orthodox Church, about authoritarian politics and justice in Serbia and the art business there. And that’s not all.

You may like the film or not. In any case, despite 122 minutes of running time, it is not boring and offers enough material for the subsequent joint reconstruction of the numerous plot lines and the exegesis of individual scenes.
Two side notes: The film features some wonderful songs by Esma Redžepova, who died in 2016. We stayed seated in the cinema until the last illuminator was named in the credits, just so as not to miss a single tone of it.

It is also interesting how differently the film is announced. In Germany, the distribution company relied on a combination of a halo, angel wings and a hundred mark note as the image on the cinema poster, in Serbia on a drawing in which the protagonist staggers towards a cross with two light girls in his arms and clear intentions in his heart and below the belt.

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