I’ll confess, I was a little surprised when this film was chosen as a selection for the Sci Fi London Festival some years ago and learned that it had been made in Croatia.
It’s true that world class movies are being made in more and more places these days. Still, it doesn’t seem that long ago that what was once Yugoslavia was embroiled in what appeared to be an endless war.
And I suspect that those wars may be at least part of the inspiration for this film.
Now, if I say this is a post-Apocalyptic game show movie, you would get the completely wrong idea. We’re not talking about The Running Man or The Prize of Peril (let alone Endgame – Bronx Lotta Finale). Instead the show itself is more like Big Brother, with a group of people locked in together, facing challenges and voting someone out now and then.
In other words, a very familiar, and yes, reassuring sort of program. One which, as the world lurches toward war, suddenly draws in huge audiences thanks to its very ordinariness in bad times, making it the most popular and successful show on the air.
So successful, in fact, that the contestants have not been told what is going on, and the network — and, ultimately, even the government — is sinking every resource they have into keeping it all going.
At the heart of all this is the show’s producer and creator, Filip Dogan, a man whose career wasn’t going anywhere, who got stuck with a show no one expected much from — and is in competition with his ex-wife’s top-rated news show. Nor does he have much time left for his son, no matter how import Filip may say he is.
This is really Filip’s story, which we see from his point of view. In fact, we see very little of the show itself. Nor do we learn too much about the political maneuverings and military conflicts going on in world outside. And despite a few well-made sequences, we don’t see much of the war, either.
Instead, this is a thoughtful and serious film with strong characters and even a tiny shred of hope.
It is well worth a look — and for now you can even see it for free at Vimeo, thanks to the Croatian Audiovisual Center.
Hopefully you won’t be voted out of the house.