by Matt Levine
Anthology films are a tough undertaking, often prone to a measure of unevenness and redundancy; maybe no other narrative structure is more difficult to sustain. This is true of The High Sun, a Croat-Serbian-Slovenian co-production with three parts linked by the theme of love during wartime. The same two actors, Tihana Lazovic and Goran Markovic, appear as starcrossed romantic protagonists in three different time periods a decade apart—1991, 2001, and 2011. Each story has something to do with deep-seated hatred between Serbs and Croats endangering love, and if each tale too often succumbs to predictable clichés—from snickering, gun-toting soldiers to hunky handymen to drug trips conveyed via blurry lenses and weird camera angles—they’re also enlivened by heated performances and some beautiful widescreen cinematography (by Marko Brdar).
Friday, April 15 2:10 pm
Director: Dalibor Matanić
Producer: Ankica Jurić Tilić
Writer: Dalibor Matanić
Cinematographer: Marko Brdar
Editor: Tomislav Pavlic
Music: Alen Sinkauz, Nenad Sinkauz
Cast: Tihana Lazović, Goran Marković, Nives Ivanković, Dado Ćosić, Stipe Radoja, Trpimir Jurkić, Mira Banjac
Obviously The High Sun’s ardent theme—that manmade hatreds shouldn’t threaten something as pure as love (though of course they always do)—is an admirable one. But the movie ultimately doesn’t have much to say about lingering resentment between Serbs and Croats aside from its aching plea for togetherness. Even so, The High Sun’s lack of depth is compensated by its sincerity and its occasionally beautiful moments, both visually and emotionally. Writer-director Dalibor Matanic is too self-indulgent at times (there’s no reason this should be more than two hours), but his guarded sense of hope remains effective; unlike many anthology films, The High Sun is better than the sum of its parts.