Nesto Izmedju - Film (Movie) Plot and Review

(Something in Between)

Former Yugoslavia, 1982

Director: Srdjan Karanovic

Production: Yugoslavia Centar Film, Belgrade; running time: 107 minutes. Filmed in New York, Dubrovnik, Belgrade, and Istanbul, 1982.

Executive producer: Milan Zmukic; screenplay: Srdjan Karanovic, Milosav Marinovic, and Andrew Horton; photography: Zivko Zalar; editor: Branko Ceperac; art director: Miljen Kljakovic; music: Zoran Simjanovic.

Cast: Caris Corfman ( Eva ); Predrag Miki-Manojlovic ( Janko ); Dragan Nikolic ( Marko ); Zorka Doknic-Manojlivic ( Mother ); Renata Ulmanski ( Aunt ); Gorica Popvic ( Dunja ); Sonja Savic ( Tvigica ); Peter Ilic-Hajne ( Son ); Nina Kirsanova ( Grandmother ).

Awards: Golden Arenas, Festival of Yugoslavian Film.



Chion, M., in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), June-July 1983.

Coselli, L., in Positif (Paris), July-August 1983.

Chicoine, J. -F., in Séquences (Montreal), October 1983.

Chevrie, M., in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), February 1984.

Pratley, G., "No Censorship in Yugoslavia," in Cinema India International , vol. 5, no. 4, 1988.

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Srdjan Karanovic was part of a new wave of then-Yugoslav directors who trained at Prague's famous FAMU Academy, and who in their films, combined frivolous, seemingly superficial entertainment with a consideration of the current state of politics and society. According to co-screenwriter Andrew Horton, "The Prague Group shares a concern for the ways which a degree of social realism can be juxtaposed to an expanded reality reflective of individual freedom and the free play of the imagination; none of them preaches a political dogma. The film tends to be critical of all forces that work against individual fulfilment and happiness within a social context."

For his first film, Drustven Igra ( Party Games ), produced in 1972, Karanovic advertised for his cast in a newspaper, asking people to write why they would like to appear in the film, and what they would like to do. A script was constructed around the twenty "actors" chosen from the 4000 applications—what resulted was a playful combination of spontaneity and absurdity. Miris Poljskog Cveca ( The Fragrance of Wild Flowers ), his second film, continues the theme of "film as play." A middle-aged actor, fed up with marriage, gives up everything to live on a barge on the Danube, just as he is about to open in Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband. His action becomes a media event, and soon the small village where he comes to rest by the Danube is transformed into a Felliniesque circus as people gather, inspired by the actor, to live out their fantasies. The film won the FIPRESCI award at Cannes in 1978.

In Nesto Izmedju , Eva (Caris Corfman), a journalist from New York, splits up with her boyfriend and decides to go to Turkey. She has a stopover in Belgrade, and looks up an old surgeon-friend, Janko (Predrag Miki-Manojlovic). Arriving at his mother's house she finds that he is not at home, and she is taken care of by his playboy-businessman best friend, Marko (Dragan Nikolic), a charming good-for-nothing whose English comprises mostly film titles. Eva and Marko fly to Dubrovnik for lunch (there was a time when this would not have been unusual in Yugoslavia). They meet up with Janko, who is attending a medical conference there, and Eva and Janko embark on a serious love affair.

Nesto Izmedju is a bittersweet picture typical of Karanovic. It is set in former Yugoslavia which at the time of filming was literally "something in between"—neither East nor West, Catholic nor Muslim nor Orthodox, Balkan nor Austro-Hungarian. In the same way echoing this the characters are in limbo. Eva was on her way to Turkey and gets waylaid in former Yugoslavia; Marko wants to get to the U.S. and starts a business and is biding his time in the country; and Janko is a famous surgeon who wants a serious relationship with Eva but holds back from making a commitment.

This is Karanovic's fourth feature film. He wrote the first draft in Belgrade in 1980, and rewrote it extensively while on a Fulbright lecture visit to Harvard University in spring 1981. Shooting began in July 1982 in New York, Dubrovnik, Belgrade, and Istanbul. At the Festival of Yugoslavian Film, in Pula, it won the five top awards (Golden Arenas), as well as the jury prize in Valencia, the special jury prize in Bastia, and was screened in the "Un Certain Regard" section at Cannes, Montreal, and Cairo.

—Mike Downey

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