Serbian Director Darko Lungulov Fronts London’s Balkan Cinema Showcase

Monument to Michael Jackson, Wild Rooster, Marcus AgarAward-winning Serbian director Darko Lungulov will be at London’s Raindance Film Festival to celebrate the UK premiere of his latest lauded movie, A Monument to Michael Jackson (Spomenik Majklu Džeksonu).

International critics and festival audiences have praised this charming and socially cutting tale of a man’s attempt to revive the fortunes of his small Serbian town and rekindle the spark in his marriage by erecting a statue of the king of pop.

British audiences can make up their own minds when Darko comes to London to see his film screened as a serious contender in competition for the best movie award at London’s Raindance Film Festival (24 Sept – 5 Oct).

US-based Serbian director Darko Lungulov recently screened his film for Wild Rooster and discussed his motivation behind A Monument to Michael Jackson.

We don’t know the good guys from the bad guys in Serbia

“The heroes of socialist Yugoslavia are not politically correct anymore,’ he said. Their monuments are being removed,’ said Darko. “The recent civil wars in the Balkans did not leave any new heroes to celebrate.

“Our citizens are not clear who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. Xenophobia, racism, homophobia and extreme right-wing nationalism are alive and healthier then ever.

“I wanted to make this film to address some of these dark issues by telling a bizarre, quirky story rather than a purely dark one.”

Another Serbian film is also in the running for an award. Ivan Ikic’s Barbarians (Varvari) is nominated as best debut by a director.

London audiences are regularly treated to the best of Balkan cinema and this year’s Raindance Festival continues the tradition with a programme boasting new and acclaimed films from Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Macedonia, as well as Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Turkey.

Bosnia will not repeat last year’s trophy-winning success of Halima’s Path, as the country is not represented at Raindance 2014.

Balkan cinema represented at Raindance 2014 Film Festival

The screening programme at London’s Vue Piccadilly cinema:

Children of the Sun (Macedonia 2013. Dir Antonio Mitriceski):  Love, loss and loyalty set to the story of a diver’s search for lost treasure. Thursday 25 Sept at 18:20 & Friday 26 Sept at 16:00

Monument to Michael Jackson

Monument to Michael Jackson (Serbia/Germany/Croatia/Macedonia 2014. Dir Darko Lungulov):  To save his dying hometown and impress his wife, Marko builds a monument to MJ. In Competition: Best MovieFriday 26 Sept, 18:20 & Saturday 27 Sept, 13:00.

– Heavenly Shift (Hungary 2014. Dir Mark Badzsar):  A dark comedy about corrupt paramedics in post-communist Budapest. Thursday 25 Sept, 15:40 & Saturday 25 Sept, 20:40

– Istanbul United (Turkey/Germany 2014. Dir Olli WaldHauer & Farid Eslam):  A documentary about three football teams, Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas, and the rivalry and brotherhood of their fans. Saturday 27 Oct,  20:40

– Barbarians / Varvari (Serbia/Montenegro 2014. Dir Ivan Ikic):  Pushed to the limits by family, being on parole and love for a girl he cannot have, troubled teen Luka goes off the rails. Nominated as Best DebutThursday 2 Oct, 21:00 & Friday 3 Oct, 13:40

Chefurs Raus! (Slovenia 2014. Dir Goran Rajnovic):  A love of basketball, the grim reality of urban life and typical Balkan humour.  Sunday 28 Sept, 20:40 & Monday 29 Sept, 13:00

Vis-A-Vis (Croatia 2013. Dir Nevio Marasovic):  A first-time director, a difficult lead actor and an isolated island location impact on a film’s plot. Saturday 4 Oct, 21:00

One Shot (Croatia/Slovenia 2013. Dir Robert Orhel):  One accidental gunshot from the past connects the destinies of two young women in the present, with dramatic repercussions. Sunday 5 Oct, 14:50

Number 55 (Croatia 2014. Dir Kristijan Milic):  Based on true events from the autumn of 1991. A small group of Croatian soldiers is ambushed and forced to take refuge in a house, leading to unexpected discussion and discoveries. Wednesday 1 Oct, 21:00 & Thursday 2 Oct, 15:30

–   So Hot Was The Cannon (Serbia 2014. Dir Slobodan Skerlic):  A war drama, based on a controversial novel by Vladimir Kecmanovic, set in Sarajevo 1994. A ten-year-old boy who goes mute after losing his parents and is adopted by neighbours as the effects of war pile up around him. Sunday 5 Oct, 14:20

Clownwise (Slovakia/Czech Republic/Luxembourg 2014. Dir Viktor Taus):  A comedy about the reluctant reunion of a once-popular trio of clowns. Monday 29 Sept, 20:20

Project Cancer (Slovenia 2014. Dir Damjan Koole):  A documentary film about a year in the life of Ulay. Thursday 25 Sept, 18:10 & Friday 26 Sept, 18:10

For ticket and screening details see here.

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