TIFF 2012: Meditative road trip ‘Krivina’ offers ghostly goodness

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Written by Igor Drljača
Directed by Igor Drljača
Canada/Bosnia/Herzegovina, 2012

For many, to be in any major city can be at once unusual, intimidating, awesome and inspirational in its pace, arrangement and overall mentality. Walking streets is a humbling experience as you learn your given metropolis’ endlessly stacked ins, outs, corners and nuances – either arms-length hovels or comfort zones you simply haven’t yet had the pleasure of comforting yourself in.

Toronto is a perfect place to see gracious young Sarajevo-born, Canada-raised director Igor Drljača’s debut feature which succeeds a recent history of shorts at TIFF. Though the increasingly popular festival seems to draw its majority of attendees locally, a considerable number of us are strangers in the quintessentially Canadian hub. For the greater part of its length Krivina (roughly translated to “the curve” or “the bend”, but holding far greater weight in its original Serbo-Croatian) takes us much farther than North America, but it makes its first impression in Toronto itself.

A lovely sequence of generous shots tracking behind its protagonist Miro’s (Goran Slavkovic, a protégé of nationally infamous co-star Jasmin Geljo) quiet, introspective steps introduces our tranquil journey – in instantly relatable quest that evokes whatever it is we as individual viewers may attach to such subject matter. Less ambiguously, Krivina explores the headspace of one indirectly affected by the Bosnian War, similar to but more specific than depictions of post-Soviet despair in such films as Sokurov’s Days of Eclipse and Béla Tarr’s Damnation. We remain in Miro’s shoes as he embarks upon a wild goose chase for elusive friend Dado. As we learn more and more about the two, we become less and less sure what their precise nature of existence may be – a ponderous position priming us for the expertly sly and cathartically vigorous execution of the film’s final shot.

As if Jon Jost visited Bosnia, Krivina itself is an inspired and sentimental road trip – a truly personal undertaking with a gentle narrative built around it, seamlessly integrating even a certain headline event from the time of the shooting. Understandably eager for more, Sound on Sight approached Drljača following the screening to learn that his next film is prepping to shoot within the year for a 2014 debut.

Tom Stoup

Learn more about Krivina at TIFF 2012 here and the Toronto International Film Festival here.

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