Border Post unites former Yugoslav states

// 27th of April, 2007
Border Post [Karaula]

Border Post [Karaula]

Croatian director Rajko Grlic has scored a highly significant hit throughout the former Yugoslavian states with Border Post (Karaula).

Grlic was one of the most important representatives of the Prague film school who enjoyed a series of successes with You Only Love Once (1981) and In The Jaws Of Life (1984), and made influential movies such as Three For Happiness (1985) and Charuga (1991).

The significance of his new film is not about box office as much as the fact that it is the first film co-produced by companies from all territories of the country now long gone.

The production companies include main producer Bosnian Ademir Kenovic's Referesh Productions, Slovenian Danijel Hocevar's Vertigo/Emotion Film, Macedonian Vladimir Anastasov's Sektor Film, Croatian Boris Matic's Propeler Film, Serbian Milko Josifov and Zoran Cvijanovic's Yodi Movie Craftsman and UK's Mike Downey's Film & Music Entertainment, as well as Hungarian partner Pioneer Pictures.

The film was supported by the ministries of culture of all five former Yugoslav territories and Eurimages.

Based on bestselling novel Nothing Must Surprise Us by Croatian author Ante Tomic, the film takes place at a former Yugoslav army post on the border of Macedonia and Albania in 1987. It tells the ironic story of the local commander who closes his base for three weeks claiming Albanian forces are grouping on their side, when really he has to cure a case of syphilis.

According to the producer Ademir Kenovic, "There has been many movies about the war in former Yugoslavia, but Grlic decided to make a comedy about the tragedy that would occupy the whole region for next 10 years."

Border Post, shot at authentic locations over a period of nine weeks last summer/autumn,was first released in Macedonia on Mar 20 and opened in all territories by Mar 28, except for Slovenia where it opened on Apr 13.

With three prints in Macedonia, it has so far been seen by some 8,100 spectators, compared to Basic Instinct 2's 1,000 in the same period.

In Serbia and Montenegro, it opened on Mar 22 with excellent 10,591 admissions and is now at the mark of 81,000 on 15 prints, compared to Ice Age 2's 72,000 in a week less.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the Berlin winner Grbavica has been seen by almost 180,000 viewers in 9 weeks, it opened very well with 8,757 admissions on Mar 24 with 11 prints and now has a total of some 50,000 admissions.

In Croatia, Border Post was released on Mar 28 with 5 prints and another opening 10,064 spectators. It has so far sold 33,642 tickets in Croatia.

In Slovenia, which was the first territory to separate from the former Yugoslavia, it opened on three prints on April 13 with 2,076 admissions and now has a total of 4,467.

Overall the film has enjoyed 180,000 admissions from the total of 37 prints and gross box office of $470,000, which is very successful, particularly when one has in mind that it had competition in such hits as Grbavica, Ice Age 2, Basic Instinct 2 and Man Without A Moustache, the most popular film ever in Croatia.

This co-production is a result of many factors, including the Motovun Film Festival, started by Grlic and Downey among others seven years ago, Sarajevo Film Festival's CineLink, the regional co-production market and the connections of the producers and talent that the war in former Yugoslavia could not destroy.

It is also a chance to re-unite the former country in the artistic sense, to make a bigger market as all individual ones are very small, and it shows that there is still a common sensibility of peoples from the region ravaged by war.

The cast includes Bosnian Emir Hadzihafizbegovic (Fuse, Days And Hours, Grbavica), Serbian Sergej Trifunovic (Premeditated Murder, Gunpowder Keg, 3 A.M.) and Bogdan Diklic (Gunpowder Keg, No Man's Land, Red Coloured Grey Truck), Macedonian Verica Nedeska (Bal-Can-Can, Spare Parts, Czech The Great Water), Croatian debutant Toni Gojanovic and Slovenian Tadej Troha (No Man's Land, Bread And Milk).