Serbian films are mostly filled with great content, with very difficult stories that revolve around family drama and harsh social conditions.
There are many old movies made in Serbia that I could have included but I decided to focus on fairly new movies, made in the last 20 or so years (these movies are not really new in the strict sense but in terms of cinema history they are).
The new Serbian cinematography differentiated itself from the old tradition by focusing more on family drama, political and societal themes.
Family complexities and a new way of looking at wars in the nineties are the most used themes in movies made in Serbia.
These movies, apart from their sometimes violent content, offer a way of looking into the past in order to better understand current troubles that have plagued Serbia.
1. The Wounds (1998)
I am starting this list with one of the best Serbian films ever made. Srdjan Dragojevic is responsible for creating this masterpiece. The film is a comment on the political situation of the post-socialist Yugoslavia.
It’s not a surprise that among many Serbian films, the “Serbian Trainspotting” (as the Variety journalist called it) is the first on the list .
The film tells a story about two teenagers (Pinki and Svaba), whose adolescence coincides with the political transition from socialism to harsh capitalism and democracy.
While the country is dissolving into crime and chaos, the societal values of solidarity, unity, etc are being replaced by new values. These new values are brute violence, thirst for a quick buck and easy success.
Criminals and war thieves are the new role models. Not many film directors had the courage to comment on the political situation (at the time) and the Yugoslav wars.
The movie won many awards but the most prominent one is the Bronze Horse from the Stockholm International Film Festival.
This is not really a film for the family but if you want to see something new and are open-minded to experience something truly edgy, this is the film you have to see!
IMDB score: 8.0/10
Make sure to watch this trailer to get more information:
2. Pretty Village, Pretty Flame (1996)
Lepa sela lepo gore
This is one of the best films from Serbia.
This masterpiece comes from the same director (as the previous film) and is also a movie you must watch!
In this film, Srdjan Dragojevic tried something quite new and revolutionary: He was making a movie about the war that was happening at the same time the movie was being made (It’s not confusing. Just read the sentence a couple of times, you’ll get it).
The story is based on the book by Vanja Bulic, a journalist from Serbia. It’s a movie about the war (I know, war again, but this is one of the best Serbian films!)
The main character (Milan) is in the hospital with his fellow soldiers. Together, they are reminiscing about the war. We see flashbacks from the war zone, which are there to help us get new perspective characters and their situation.
The crucial value of this film is the new angle on the Bosnian war and its neutral perspective. If you want to see a powerful war movie with great content then this is the film you have to watch!
IMDB score: 8.7/10
Check out this video for more information:
3. The Tour (2008)
What happens when a group of broke theatre actors leave the stage and go into the open to help the soldiers on the front (war again, come on..) and earn some money?
They try desperately to decrease the violence and stop the war with art (this idea is not new but it’s quite ridiculous).
They arrive at the front lines and immediately start to perform. Their theatre plays are not what the soldiers want to see and their compensation is missing because of it. On top of that, they found themselves deep inside the enemy lines.
The idea of the movie is that art can and must bring more peace to the world. This is probably one of the most entertaining Serbian films to watch.
Even though like many Serbian films, the Tour is about war times, it is still a movie that you can watch with your family and have a wonderful experience (there are no explicit scenes of violence in the film).
IMDB score: 7.2/10
To get a sense of the movie, see this video:
4. Circles (2013)
Finally a film about something other than the war. Well, not exactly. This is the story of the soldier Srdjan Aleksic who protected a civilian from his fellow soldiers (I promise, this is the last movie where a soldier is one of the characters).
It all happened in the winter of 1993 in Trebinje, a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A couple of soldiers from Serbia attacked a Bosnian civilian and Srdjan intervened.
Unfortunately, this cost him his life (this is a spoiler alert. I should have written this earlier but I am terrible with planning these things..)
Twelve years later, those who were involved in the incident meet under different circumstances. I am gonna stop here because I learned my lesson about spoilers.
The main characters are Ranko (the father of Srdjan), Haris (the witness of the act), Nebojsa, (the best friend of Aleksic) and young Bogdan.
There are movies that can open an old wound and cause more damage but not this one. Despite the horrible act, this movie is about forgiveness, love, understanding and unity.
Critics from Serbia have chosen this movie for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy award. Also, it won many prizes, from which the most notable is the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury from the Berlin International Film Festival .
You can watch it with your family and friends to feel the truly remarkable emotions and get the most of what a film experience can offer.
IMDB score: 7.8/10
If these kind of movies are your cup of tea, then watch this trailer:
5. My Morning Laughter (2019)
Moj jutarnji smeh
And now, finally, the movie about a truly new topic on this list and not about war. My Morning Laughter is easily one of the best films in the last 10 years.
The new and quite remarkable way of making movies is what characterizes this family movie. It’s not just a family drama, it’s a story about a school teacher Dejan, who is desperately trying to find love in his thirties.
The only problem is that Dejan is still a virgin. His family, but mainly his mother, have kept him protected from the outside world and made him a man without confidence.
In order to get the girl he wants, Dejan needs to remove the influence of his mother and stop being so desperately attached to his family and their problems.
If you want to watch a film that is a truly remarkable analysis of the generation of young people who grew up in small Serbian cities, then this is a must-see!.
Also, open your eyes and experience new theatrical tendencies by watching a movie that is slow and gives you time to absorb its content. It’s not a typical drama but a story made for new generations with an old-styled cinematographic technique.
IMDB score: 7.3/10
To get the sense and have some content in front of your eyes before actually seeing the movie, watch this wonderful video: