Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
As tense as its title is spare, Serbian director Ognjen Glavonić’s first dramatic feature burns like a lit fuse with the explosive force of an entire nation’s history behind it. Serbia, 1999: NATO’s air-strike campaign against the Slobodan Milosevic regime is underway. A middle-aged truck driver Vlada (Leon Lučev) is given a vehicle, an unknown cargo, and instructions to drive from Kosovo to Belgrade. No questions, no stops—just drive.
Recalling the deranged, white-knuckle set-up of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear, Vlada’s trip through the war-torn landscape is supremely gripping—yet at every moment, the film’s stripped-down action resonates beyond its immediate context. Explosives light the sky; fog shrouds the road ahead; a young hitchhiker (Pavle Čemerikič) tags along, with the ultimate aim of escaping to Germany. But for Vlada, there’s only the cargo and the reward. The nature of his task is ultimately not hard to intuit, but the reveal is brutal and chilling nonetheless. How much is one person willing to bear? And at what cost?
"Harshly intelligent and uncompromisingly spare… [T]his impressive new filmmaker illuminates a painful truth that inculpates more of us than we’d like to believe…"—Jessica Kiang, Variety