Toronto On My Mind
You may have noticed I had nary a thing to say about the other Kate and Bobby the version of them that doesn't find a cell phone in a cab and try to extort $500,000 from the Russian mob. That's because those other two bitches leave Manhattan and don't do NOTHING.
Even the hardiest film festivalgoer might balk at the notion of a film described in the official TIFF '08 as, "[A]n allegorical fantasy about the Balkan nightmare seen through female eyes, in which meaningful lives are remade from scratch and the joys of life must be celebrated, even in the hardest of times." Let's recap some of the buzzwords that might keep you from attending this film: "Balkan." I think that brings us up to speed. So after a disastrous morning (for the makers of Uncertainty...it was actually a hilarious morning for us), we walked into a 9:45 p.m. screening of Tears for Sale with a bit of skepticism. And let's face it. A Serbian film with a title like Tears for Sale sounds more like a joke about a festival movie than the movie itself.
Tears for Sale was, in a word, freaking amazing, and it was this year's Film You Thought Would Be Too Weird And Foreign To Love But Was In Fact Totally More Accessible Than Most Hollywood Films But Better.
It is one of the biggest-budget Serbian films of all time, in which director Uros Stojanovic almost single-handedly revived a film industry that, outside of his movies, consist almost exclusively of government propaganda films. Tears for Sale is not a government propaganda film, but instead one the best Hollywood movies not to come out of Hollywood. And when quirky, hat-wearing Stojanovic admitted his naked ambition to escape Serbia and start making films in L.A....well, let's just say that if you're a bored customs official reading this at work, by all means LET THIS MAN IN. He could easily direct the next Harry Potter movie. Y'know, the one that would actually get released on time.
For the apparent enormous culture divide between America and Serbia, Tears for Sale is the shockingly accessible story of a Serbian village in 1918. All of the men have been killed in various wars, so the women are left to impregnate themselves by one old man named "Grandpa Bisa." When two sisters accidentally kill him, the village casts them out and gives them three days to return with a new man. End of act one.