The Samurai in Autumn rules the Serbian box office
by Vladan Petkovic
- The new film by the team behind Little Buddho has sold 120,000 admissions over five weekends and will be released in Croatia on 24 November
Since its release on 4 October, Serbian director Danilo Bećković's sports/action-comedy-drama The Samurai in Autumn [+see also:
film profile] has sold 120,845 admissions in Serbia and Montenegro, and another 10,000 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, earning €350,713 in Serbia, or a total of €368,432 in all three territories.
The film comes from the same team that made the 2014/2015 smash-hit comedy Little Buddho, which earned €991,901 (see the news). Producer Marko Paljić of Gargantua Films again brought together Bećković, writer Dimitrije Vojnov, DoP Bojana Andrić, editor Aleksandar Popović, composer Marko Kon, and actors Petar Strugar, Sergej Trifunović, Hristina Popović, Andrija Milošević and Tihomir Stanic.
The story follows Vladica (Strugar), a karate fighter who enjoys booze, cigarettes and weed a little too much, so he returns to his hometown, where his dad Miloje (one of Serbia's biggest stars, Nikola Kojo) runs a karate club. Joining Miloje in training young kids, he falls for Snežana (Popović), the mother of one of the boys, Vukašin (first-timer Petar Novićević). In an attempt to make some more money, Vladica ends up on the illegal fighting circuit, risking everything.
Unlike Little Buddho, a decidedly teen/young adult-orientated urban comedy, The Samurai in Autumn is much more of a family film. It brings back an almost forgotten genre, the kind of movie that its makers grew up with back in the 1980s, when quality local films in Yugoslavia aimed at the whole family regularly ruled the box office, as did the US blockbuster Karate Kid, an obvious influence. Kojo and Vesna Trivalić, who plays Vladica's mother, were young stars back then, acquired cult status in the Serbian films and TV series of the 1990s, and are still audience magnets, with an untouchable aura of cool.
While the film’s rhythm is modern, its atmosphere harks back to the time that local audiences will remember as “the days of real cinema”. This is strongly supported by Kon's music, with actual original melodies (as opposed to the current arthouse films' overused and abused atmospheric droning sounds) that are a nod to soundtracks ranging from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly to Chariots of Fire.
“We grew up on the films made in the 1980s, and we are trying to make the kind of movies we like to watch,” Bećković tells Cineuropa. “The influence that is felt in the film is not only stylistic; this is actually where our approach to cinema comes from. This was a time when cinema was important, when people trusted films and when they influenced our lives much more.”
The Samurai in Autumn will be released in Croatia on 24 November.