Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Serbian director Goran Markovic's über-black comedy Turneja (The Tour), marks an anomaly: a war film that deliberately thrives on its audience's poor recognition of the nuances belying its central conflict; a tragicomedy at heart, it uses its lack of onscreen sociopolitical and historical exposition as an advantage that enables it to meditate on the pointlessness and anarchy of war per se. The year is 1993, the theater some of the dingiest and most poverty-stricken corners of the Bosnian War. At the heart of it all is a Belgrade-based theatrical troupe embarking on a risky stop-by-stop tour of Bosnia, trekking from city to city to city. Listless and bored, they spend the majority of their offstage lives frittering away every second by arguing and playing cards, save those rare occasions when the members march onto the stage to perform a production of Jacques Feydeau's play A Flea in Her Ear. Of the members: ex-husband-and-wife Zaki (Josif Tatic) and Sonja acrimoniously squabble with one another, much to the dismay of Misko (Dragan Nikolic), while skirt-chaser Lale (Gordan Kicic) nurses an unrequited love for neophyte actress Jadranka (Jelena Dokic). Meanwhile, tour manager Stanislav (Tihomir Stanic) drums up the idea of a "hard-currency payday" to keep the locals entertained - not simply non-military personnel, but worn-out, run down troops in the region of Krajina not far from Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Circumstances take a significantly negative turn, however, when an officer with less-than-pure motives suggests (beneath a guise of deceptive innocence) that they give their earned monies to charity and that they politicize and propagandize their dramatic material to increase the morale of men at the front lines. Before long, the soldiers find themselves trekking through the sub-zero Eastern European wilderness, marching from camp to camp to camp and witnessing barbarous acts of inhumanity unmatched by anything in their prior experience. The inability of the men to tell one side from the other, throughout the film, underscores the chaotic mess and ludicrousness of the war per se.
Bosnia, civil-war, innocence