Tears For Sale on DVD

Tuesday, 21 September 2010 07:30

“Tears For Sale” is a quirky fairytale from Serbian first-time director Uros Stojanovic. Events take place in the 1920s in the little village of Pokrp, a settlement that shares a major problem with the rest of post-World War I Serbia. Two thirds of the male population have died on various battlefields, and the women that have been left behind are extremely desperate. Villages treat their men like gold dust and fight to retain them.

When Grandpa Bisa – Pokrp’s last man - is accidentally startled to death, two feisty but naive sisters in their early twenties are given an ultimatum. Either burn like witches or find a new man within three days. As luck would have it, their bizarre adventure leads them to not one but two eligible young men, but they find themselves torn between running off with their prizes or honouring their agreement with the village folk.

Tears For Sale on DVDThe movie has been likened to the works of Terry Gilliam and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and not without good reason. Visually it bears many of those directors’ hallmarks, such as leering close-ups on gurning faces, as well as wild flourishes with camera movements and special effects. The whole movie has a golden-brown tinge and is accompanied by a lively string soundtrack. The story sits on the line between reality and fantasy, and frequently teeters first one side of it and then staggers to the other like a drunkard.

Stojanovic successfully immerses us in his strange and wonderful matriarchal world by successfully imparting a fair amount of detail in a short space of time. Although the male narrator explains about the dearth of men, they are actually much scarcer than that, at least out in the sticks. The women swirl in an emotional state somewhere behind suicidal sadness and delirium, and resort to drinking heavily to survive. Their stocks of alcohol are always running low, and this often means that someone has to venture out into the local vineyard to fetch more grapes.

This is no walk in the park however, because the last male vintner mined his land for fear of being jumped on by all of the desperate women. At least the explosive results help to thin out the female population a little!

The two sisters central to the tale are Ognjenka (Sonja Kolacaric) and Boginja (Olivera Katarina). The actresses fill their characters’ shoes with heaps of life and fizzing, sexy energy, and are also very easy on the eye. The two male protagonists are equally loopy and cartoonish. Dragoljub is a slightly dim circus strongman who likes being shot out of the cannon they cart around on the back of their van, and Arsa is the “Duke of the Charleston” who keeps the crowds entertained with his vocal talents.

Together they help to keep the film buzzing along, which is just as well as it does start to wear a bit thin once the premise has been established. Even at a relatively brief 86 minutes, you might find you have just about had your fill of wackiness after the one hour mark, but thankfully the director manages to maintain your interest long enough to see where the yarn will end up.

Sadly there are no bonus features on the disc at all, which is a shame as I for one would have liked to have seen how Serbian film-making compares with that of Britain and the USA.

“Tears For Sale” (2008) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Icon Home Entertainment. The running time of the main feature is 86 minutes approx, certificate ‘18’ and the movie retails for £17.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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