"Isn't the theft of a mans soul, worse than the theft of his cattle?.
- Dmitar (Ljuba Tadic)
Having lost the love of his cheating wife Milja, and bond with son Micko fifteen years previously, Dmitars become a flea bitten hermit. Hes been living a life of solitude on a barren snow capped mountainside with only the wolves, his pet dog Falcon and idiots guide to yodeling handbook to keep him company. When a war breaks out in his mountain range, hes forced to guide a wandering troop of soldiers and a former friend Petre safely across the Treskavac mount during a savage winter blizzard. But learns his sons now a member of a pursuing troop of opposing fascist soldiers, along with the man whom his wife cheated with. Dmitar becomes morally tied in either helping his friends party or his enemies and son.
Radivoje 'Lola' Djukic's Balada o svirepom that I caught under the title The Ballad of the cruel one, in such a washed out print, it was like watching a b&w movie for the majority of the film (beggars can't be choosers though). Its an interesting sad parable of a man versus his conflicting emotions, the savage elements and ultimately his soul. It has a very pedestrian pace (in truth the 80+ minutes seemed more like 2 hours) but I enjoyed it largely down to the rugged, sort of a Jason Robards type performance from Ljuba Tadic as Dmitar and the very John Mills looking actor Rade Markovic who played his enemy. Was also down to the fact the wilderness truly looked remote, instead of these usual type of films locations, that leave you suspecting theres a McDonald's 3 minutes down the road. Not a groundbreaking movie, but a worthwhile lowkey foray into world cinema, all the same.
The extremely cheesy moment Dmitar walks in on his wife with another man, while his 6 year old sons sitting on his shoulders (a scene thats repeated far too many times btw, I almost expected it to be in a Cannonball Run style gag reel during its credits). Dmitars fiddler on the roof style folk song. The haunting ethereal fade to whack.
Originally taken from Letterboxd