Two men on a crowded London bus suddenly recognize each other and begin a brawl that will land them in side-by-side hospital beds. Once neighbors in a small Bosnian town, this Serb and Croat grew into bitter enemies and their hatred remains intact even after emigrating to England as political refugees.
In writer-director Jasmin Dizdar’s ironically titled Beautiful People, their pitched (and often comic) battle is merely one expression of the lingering effects of the brutal civil war. Dizdar, born in Bosnia, educated in Prague and now a British citizen, has created an ambitious, high-energy and downright messy look at a host of war-scarred characters inexorably drawn to Brits whose own lives are in varying states of collapse.
During the painful dissolution of his marriage, Dr. Mouldy (Nicholas Farrell) counsels a young man (Radoslav Youroukov) whose pregnant wife (Walentine Giorgiewa) was gang-raped by enemy soldiers. Hospital intern Portia Thornton (Charlotte Coleman) introduces her new love, the sweet-natured Pero (Edin Dzandzanovic), to her upper-crust family (including a Tory member of Parliament). Layabout, football hooligan and heroin-user Griffin Midge (Danny Nussbaum) gets a jolt of real hardship when he inadvertently lands in Bosnia and visits a makeshift hospital with bullet-dodging United Nations peacekeepers.
The London of Beautiful People is a multicultural hodgepodge where established outsiders like a Scottish war correspondent (who develops "Bosnia syndrome" by identifying too strongly with the victimized), a Welsh firebomber and an Indian welfare official serve as examples of assimilation for the new immigrants.
Dizdar overstuffs the film with so many characters and situations that the challenge becomes sorting them out, yet by the film’s hope-filled conclusion, he’s managed to find a sense of order – and peace – amid the chaos.
Dizdar doesn’t assign blame for what happened in Bosnia to any specific group. Between the participants and those who stood around and let it happen, he finds enough guilt to go around.
Serena Donadoni writes about film for the Metro Times. E-mail her at email@example.com.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.