The Great Tram Robbery gets on track
by Vladan Petkovic
- The new effort by director Slobodan Šijan and The Samurai in Autumn producer Marko Paljić has secured funding from Croatia
The Great Tram Robbery, the new, epic project by legendary Serbian director Slobodan Šijan, known for a slew of cult movies, including the "best Yugoslav film ever", Who's Singin’ Over There?, has received €67,526 (HRK 500,000) from the Croatian Audiovisual Centre in its competition for minority co-productions.
The only project awarded in this round of financing by the Croatian body is being produced by Marko Paljić, of Belgrade-based Gargantua Films, whose recent record includes the blockbusters Little Buddho (see the news) and The Samurai in Autumn [+see also:
film profile] (see the news). The Croatian partner is Damir Terešak, with his Maxima Film.
The Great Tram Robbery is a story about the golden age of Belgrade in the roaring 1920s, set against a backdrop of court intrigue and communist plotting in the then Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The main character is a historical figure, the poet, film critic and director Boško Tokin, who gathers together a group of idealistic young artists in an attempt to make the first avant-garde film in the Balkans. The film was made but later mysteriously disappeared, and the story continues in 1946 when Tokin is imprisoned by the new communist regime as a collaborator for writing film reviews during the German occupation, and his film is, strangely, the focus of his interrogators' questions. The script is populated by such characters as the Yugoslav Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andrić, legendary painter Sava Šumanović, King Alexander I Karađorđević, his brother Prince Paul, Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito, and even Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
Prior to the Croatian funding, The Great Tram Robbery received €200,000 from the Film Center Serbia, and is currently taking part in the Galway Film Fleadh's Film Fair, before going to Sarajevo's CineLink in August (see the news).
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