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(aka "Obicni ljudi" )


directed by Vladimir Perisic
Serbia 2009


Dzoni (Relja Popovic), a young recruit, is one of seven soldiers bussed out into the placid Serbian countryside for an unknown mission. As the new guy, Dzoni is estranged from the other soldiers who are more efficient and seem generally to be "in the know" and Dzoni is left wandering and puzzling out the ways in which to behave. Dzoni wakes from a nap to see a group of civilian men arriving. The commanding officer Narednik (Boris Isakovic) explains to Dzoni and the other men that they are "taking care" of the enemy and uses Dzoni in a demonstration of how to dispose of them. When they are sent to perform their duties, Dzoni remains behind and tells his commander that he can't do it, but eventually caves to deafening silence and goes through with the act (although his comrade Ivan [Miroslav Stevanovic] has to finish off his prisoner). Over the course of a day, executions become routine and Dzoni begins to takes his conflicted emotions out aggressively on the prisoners until he is too tired to continue. Although only seventy-eight minutes, Perisic's film lingers a little longer than needed to make its points. During the protracted bus ride, we hear a news announcer reporting executions committed by terrorist groups (“The terrorists are using summary executions to terrorize the population,”), that the military have been called in, and that terrorists will be arrested and sentenced harshly; then, of course, we see people secretly rounded up and executed in secret by the military. Although the the setting and the ethnicity of the victims are never identified, we can assume that they are victims of "ethnic cleansing" (although it is never determined if this film is set during the Balkan Wars or now). After the near silent six minute bus ride sequence, the ennui of the soldiers (depicted in lengthy takes of Dzoni walking, sitting, smoking, and napping) could have been established in less than the subsequent twenty minutes of screen time. In terms of pacing, the film seems to be derivative of other art films rather than finding its own rhythm. The film is not boring, but incomplete. Although Dzoni never really engages our sympathies, Popovic is able to convey the character's conflicting emotions visually; yet, all the work that the viewer must do to ferret out Dzoni's growth (or perhaps regression) is really for naught. It's just not there (viewers will likely get only as much out of the film as they brought into it). The end result feels more like an easy festival prize winner overstating themes that it pretends to understate through mimicry of an art-house style.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 26 August 2009 (France)

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DVD Review: The Global Film Initiative (Global Lens Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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The Global Film Initiative

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:18:42

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.89 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Serbian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English (burnt-in)
Features Release Information:
Studio: The Global Film Initiative

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
• Global Lens Trailer (4:3; 1:58)
• Film Discussion Guide (PDF file)
• Global Lens Films gallery
• About The Global Film Initiative

DVD Release Date: September 27th, 2011

Chapters 12



The Global Film Initiative's DVD features a single-layer, anamorphic, interlaced presentation of this Serbian production with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio (the end credits feature a DTS logo) and burnt-in English subtitles. The sole film related extra is a 14-page PDF discussion guide. The questions that do not depend on exposition for the answers come across more as ponderable observations than questions capable of receiving definitive answers (and will likely depend more on what the perspective that the viewer brings going into the film rather than what s/he gets out of it). There is also some background on the Balkan War (even though the guide also points out that the period and setting are not directly established) and on film style.

The film style notations are rather entry-level (high angle powerless, low angle equals powerful), but then there are paragraphs about the film itself which point out the ways in which the film eschews traditional film language. It might have been edited better so that the list of elements to look out for and general questions were separate from the spoiler-some specifics, but they may be helpful to stimulate discussion if the film is actually watched in a group setting.

  - Eric Cotenas


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:


The Global Film Initiative

Region 0 - NTSC


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