Archive Cinema City 2009.

Sveti Georgije ubiva azdahu

St. George Shoots the Dragon

Genre: Drama / War
Country: Serbia / Bosnia and Herzegovina / Bulgaria
Year: 2009.
Duration: 120 min

Director: Srdjan Dragojevic
Scenario: Dusan Kovacevic

Cast: Lazar Ristovski, Milutin Milosevic, Natasa Janjic, Bora Todorovic, Zoran Cvijanovic, Dragan Nikolic, Predrag Vasic, Branislav Lecic, Boris Milivojevic, Milena Dravic

Programme selection: National Class

The year is 1914. The place: A village in Serbia on the bank of the river Sava, the natural border with the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire. The population of the village is divided into two radically opposed fractions - the able-bodied potential army recruits and the invalid veterans from the previous two Balkan wars. There is bitter animosity between the two groups. At the start of the First World War, the healthy population is mobilized. The invalids left behind in the village try to take advantage of the soldiers' wives and sisters. News of this reached the Serbian soldiers in the trenches a few days before the expected enemy attack.
To prevent a munity, the Serbian High Command decides to take the invalids to the front line and thus deal with "the inconvenience". These extraordinary events, based on a true story, form the backdrop for and ill-fated love triangle between a young war invalid, a local policeman and his wife, a story that unfolds with all the epic power of ancient Greek tragedy.

Director's statement:
"In my film Pretty Village, Pretty Flame I struggled against the war in Bosnia and the absurd militaristic frenzy that seized the people of this region. Here I am, ten years later, facing a similar task. From the end of the centruy I travel to its beginning, I am convinced that, although the First World War was the only Serbian war victory in the 20th century, it was its greatest defeat. The country lost almost half of the male population (unprecedented in the history of modern warfare) and almost a hundred years later is still not able to recover.
The story, unwindling among the disabled war veterans/smugglers on the eve of the Great War, offers a rich and appealing background, but the most important element of the film is - melodrama. The impossible and fatal love triangle involving Gavrilo, a young man maimed in the previous war, Katarina, a young woman who moves from the city to the country to be near him and who marries Djordje, a local gendarme so obsessed with her that he will allow anything, even adultery - a transgression that inevitably led to death at the time.
All three heroes possess a characteristic deeply rooted in the people in this part of the world: they are all, in a way, fanatics. Thus, St. George Shoots the Dragon becomes a story about fanaticism: Katarina - a fanatic of love, Gavrilo - a fanatic of self-destruction, and Djordje - a fanatic of bearing. Other characters in this drama are also obsessed, also fanatiscs - the blind socialist, Teacher Micun is a fanatic of idea that has cost his and other countries of East Europe dearly, while Captain Tasic is a fanatic of militarism.
My task to explain and justify my characters and their irrational behaviour was not an easy one - but I did my best. I love them despite their irrational, impulsive and self-destructive conduct. Or maybe precisely because of it.
Across the river, along with pigs in their smuggler's boat, our heroes carry the assassin of the century, Gavrilo Princip. The next day he will assassinate the Archduke of Austro-Hungary, Franz Ferdinand. At one point, the young man tells his "hosts": "The pig is the only animal with a neck that prevents it seeing the stars... The pig is confined to looking at the mud as long as it lives."
It seems to me that our heroes, as well as this whole nation, are bound by these two extremities - we are capable of seeing either the mud or the stars. Somehow, we cannot force ourselves to look straight ahead of the future. This film is, to certain degree, about that too..."

Official site


(click to enlarge)