Films of love, religious intolerance and survival

Gugu Sibiya

Gugu Sibiya

Croatia will once again attempt to showcase that country's cultural heritage with the Croatian Film Festival 2008.

Boasting a number of captivating flicks, the festival starts this Friday at the Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria before moving to Johannesburg's Rosebank Mall from April 25 to 28.

On show will be fascinating films such as Sleep Sweet, My Darling, Border Post and The Horseman.

Sleep Sweet, My Darling is set 10 years after the Second World War. It takes you through the impoverished neighbourhood of a struggling shell-shocked community still coming to grips with their new-found freedom. Along with the excitement of coming out of a war alive is the reality of poverty, mustering the will to rebuild and generally to get through the day.

With no pretences the community, which is made up of various fascinating characters, tells the story of people who burst into song as easily as they do into a conversation. In that desolation they make do, finding strength in love and laughter.

Border Post, on the other hand, is a comedy about soldiers on the verge of tragedy. War weary and longing for the warmth of loved ones, the soldiers are literally counting the days to when they can pack away their uniforms and ammunition.

But Lieutenant Safet Pasic's anticipated leave suddenly turns into a desperate bid to prolong his stay at the Yugoslavian and Albanian border. The reason is that the army doctor, Sinisa Sircevics, diagnoses him with a sexually transmitted disease. In a bid to find a less suspicious manner of dealing with his situation, he declares a state of emergency that puts a halt to plans to return home.

Conflicting civilizations, irreconcilable religious beliefs and immoral political ambitions are the backdrop of The Horseman. Set in the mid-18th century, the storyline is the result of individual insecurity about religion in the south of Europe.

Caught between the Venetian Republic and the Ottoman Empire, people will do anything to deal with their state of fear, hunger, war and love.

To catch these fascinating films revolving around the lives and times in Croatia and Bosnia, and the conflict between Christianity and Islam, check out the Croatian Film Festival.