starring Jasmin Telalovic, Marija Tadic, Zlatko Crnkovic, Ivo Gregurevic
screenplay by Josip Mlakic & Zrinko Ogresta
directed by Zrinko Ogresta
by Walter Chaw Six loosely-connected vignettes form the body of Zrinko Ogresta's Croatian film Tu, a study in six parts of the difficulty of communication in a modern age (Hopper's eternal verities of nature and technology askew) and the scars left by the Balkan War on the lives of the collateral chaff. It opens with a simpleton at the mortar-torn front finding hope in the life of a bird that he saves, and ends with an old veteran unable to sleep because of his memories of conflict. Ogresta's strength isn't subtlety, clearly, but a sort of Kieslowski-esque interest in morality plays illustrated in brief and painted with a pleasantly textured cinematic eye. Tu suggests timelessness in the inevitable progression of its hermetic capsules--moving into the lives of an addict rejected by her family, a television personality driven to drink, and a loner looking for anything to call family. Devastation is the most obvious side-effect of war, the film suggests, but the long half-life of societal disintegration is the lasting fallout. The picture is rhymed by its opening pull-outs and push-ins through long tunnels--the first leaving the light at the end of the tunnel, the last rushing towards it in a suggestion of a sentiment that must be optimism, courageous and flagging, in the midst of all that decay. Originally published: October 25, 2004.