Socialists, communists, Nazis, kings – when a person's country is constantly shifting allegiances and ruling powers, what's a little ethnic unrest? Cirkus Columbia concerns both a civil uprising and the search for a lost pet. Seeing it after the despicable Darling Companion and the wonderful Kinyarwanda, I might be forgiven for withholding my affection while this film finds its tone. But as directed by No Man's Land's Danis Tanovic, Cirkus Columbia finds sure footing as a dark wartime comedy. Miki Manojlovic stars as Divko Buntic, who returns to Bosnia with a new car and a younger girlfriend following 20 years in Munich, ready to claim the spoils for having waited out communism. Unfortunately for him – and his lost cat, in which Buntic invests superstitious interests – the Yugoslav Wars are brewing right underneath him. Next to Kinyarwanda, Tanovic's film seems almost old-fashioned (and a bit on-the-nose), but nobody knows this area and timeframe like he does, and the authenticity carries the flat humor more often than not. (available now)
Special Features: None
Decades after Rwanda's 100-day genocide, a massacre that claimed nearly a million Tutsi and Hutu lives, the country's first native feature film dealing with the matter – winner of the 2011 Audience Award at Sundance – is a quiet revelation. Told in vignettes from the viewpoint of a diverse faction, from a Muslim mufti to a Catholic priest, a teen survivor to a Romeo-and-Juliet-esque marriage, Kinyarwanda, the word for Rwanda's official language, is deeply personal and badly needed. Too many of us only know what we know about the massacre from Hotel Rwanda – the actual hotel is mentioned here – which was told from the outsider's baffled view of the U.N.'s non-response. This film gets in the mix. Forgiveness, love, hate and, above all, generational guilt pour out of Rwandans like a hot spring, providing a sense of baptism-by-bearing-witness. You won't likely forget the feeling. (available now)
Special Features: Audio commentary, featurettes, shooting script
Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, the surrealist creators of Adult Swim's Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! have no reservations about pushing boundaries or discarding altogether any semblance of narrative cohesion in their first feature film, and their fans wouldn't have it any other way. The pair star as the failed directors of a $1 billion-budgeted movie called Bonjour Diamond Dan which, due to extreme production excess, only has three usable minutes. Held over the fire by their producers, they escape to S'wallow Valley, where they hope to make up the billion or so by running a strip mall. Tim and Eric are at their best and most irreverent when lampooning the very idea of their own movie, as in the endless opening vanity cards (the movie's best jab at features) or the obligatory climactic shootout. They're less effective when it comes to scatological gags like a bathtub of diarrhea. By now, who hasn't seen that? (available now)
Special Features: Audio commentary, deleted scenes, interview, featurettes
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