DVD Review: Cirkus Columbia

Cirkus Columbia DVDSTUDIO: Strand Releasing | DIRECTOR: Danis Tanović | CAST: Miki Manojlović, Mira Furlan, Jelena Stuplijanin, Boris Ler
DVD RELEASE DATE: 5/1/2012 | PRICE: DVD $27.99
SPECS: NR | 113 min. | Foreign-language comedy drama | 2.35:1 widescreen | stereo | Bosnian with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall


Written and directed by Danis Tanovic (whose 2001 war drama No Man’s Land won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film), 2010’s Cirkus Columbia is set in Bosnia-Herzogovina during the brief respite between Communist tyranny and the horrific civil war and unfolds with a deceptive simplicity until the emotional climax explodes like the war itself.

Cirkus Columbia movie scene

Miki Manojlović (r.) takes flight in Cirkus Columbia.

Having fled the communists and gone to German twenty years earlier, Divo Buntic (Miki Manojlović, The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch) returns to his hometown a wealthy man with a new Mercedes, a young mistress (Jelena Stuplijanin) and a black cat named Bonny. Upon arriving, he proceeds to evict the wife (Mira Furlan, TV’s Lost) he abandoned and the son (Boris Ler) he’s never known from the house they’ve been living in while he was away. Not surprisingly, conflicts arise. When Bonny disappears, Divko offers a large reward for the cat’s return and the town abandons sleep (and, in some cases, reason) to collect the money. The impending cataclysm, however, forces everyone to decide where their true loyalties and loves lie.

The acting in Cirkus Columbia is of the highest order: inspired buffoonery in comedy and soulful passion in drama. Mira Furlan (TV’s L is unafraid to be shrewish and ugly when appropriate and later, tender and romantic. Miki Manojlovic brings stature to a man finding his way home geographically and emotionally. And Boris Ler is sprited and winning as the conflicted son.

Tanovic’s visual reflect the director’s documentarian roots. The objective style doesn’t dramatize but seems to accept the cycles of violence that have gripped the Balkans since before Alexander. The “cirkus” of the title goes round, a bomb explodes and is met with a fatalistic shrug. It’s all too familiar to all its victims and witnesses…

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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.