The 7 Best Serbian Movies of All Time
When it comes to mastering a difficult language like Serbian, immersion is the key to success. Checking out our list of the best Serbian movies of all time can be an engaging and effective way to become familiar with the sounds, intonation patterns, and expressions of this captivating but challenging language while exploring different aspects of Serbian culture.
Serbian cinema has a long and storied history, with filmmakers from this Balkan nation leaving an indelible mark on the global cinematic landscape. From powerful dramas to thought-provoking documentaries, Serbian movies offer a unique opportunity for language learners to enhance their listening skills and cultural understanding.
In this article, we’ll take you on a cinematic journey through some of the best Serbian films you can stream in 2023.
Are you ready?
1. Parada (The Parade, 2011)
“Parada” (2011) stands as a cinematic landmark, addressing a previously unexplored topic in Serbian films. The story revolves around Radmilo and Mirko, a gay couple facing relentless harassment in their town. Mirko, an educated gay rights activist, dreams of organizing Belgrade’s first gay pride parade. Their lives take a twist when they meet Limun, a homophobic gangster, and his fiancée Biserka. Radmilo persuades Limun to provide protection during the pride in exchange for organizing their wedding. Limun assembles a protection team, leading to unexpected challenges.
The film sheds light on LGBTQ+ struggles in Serbia, highlighting the hurdles faced by the community in a conservative society. “Parada” portrays the evolution of societal attitudes, emphasising themes of unity and acceptance.
2. Mrtav ‘ladan (Frozen Stiff, 2002)
In “Mrtav ‘ladan” (2002), two brothers, Lemi and Kiza, face a unique predicament. Tasked with transporting their deceased grandfather from Belgrade to Vršac, they employ an unconventional plan. Disguising him on a train and convincing fellow passengers that he’s sleeping, their scheme goes awry when a suitcase falls on his head. Passengers think he’s dead, leading to a chaotic series of events. Unbeknownst to all, a drug package in the grandfather’s pocket adds complexity to their search.
The film humorously portrays life in Serbia, capturing the absurdity of everyday situations. “Mrtav ‘ladan” highlights the ability of Serbians to find humour in unexpected circumstances.
3. Karaula (The Border Post, 2006)
“Karaula” (2006) unfolds at a Yugoslav-Albanian border post in 1987, revolving around Lieutenant Safet Pašić’s bizarre ailment. Suffering from a mysterious groin issue, he seeks help from the post’s sole doctor, Siniša, who diagnoses him with a sexually transmitted disease. To keep it secret, Safet declares a state of emergency, warning of an impending Albanian attack. The prank escalates into war hysteria, causing chaos.
The film provides a satirical take on the military and the Balkan region’s complexities. “Karaula” explores themes of secrecy, panic, and the absurdity of wartime preparations in a darkly comedic fashion.
4. Crna mačka, beli mačor (Black Cat, White Cat, 1998)
Directed by the renowned Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica, “Crna mačka, beli mačor” (1998) is often considered one of the best Serbian films of all time. The story unfolds around Matko, a small-time hustler living along the Danube River with his 17-year-old son, Zare. After a failed business deal, Matko finds himself indebted to the formidable gangster Dadan. In a desperate bid to avoid repayment, he offers Zare as collateral. Dadan, eager to arrange his sister Afrodita’s marriage, forces Zare into an arranged union. However, Zare is in love with Ida, and Afrodita awaits her dream suitor. This uproarious and heartfelt film explores the chaos and charm of human relationships against the backdrop of the Danube.
Emir Kusturica’s “Crna mačka, beli mačor” is a testament to the director’s storytelling genius. The film encapsulates the essence of Balkan culture, vividly portraying the region’s colourful characters, chaotic weddings, and the fusion of superstition and daily life.
5. Klopka (The Trap, 2007)
“Klopka” (2007) is one of the best Serbian films ever made, a cinematic tour de force that deftly combines various genres but ultimately emerges as a gripping noir, offering an unflinching look at Eastern European society’s true face. Set in post-war Serbia, the film revolves around an ordinary couple faced with a harrowing decision concerning the fate of their child. As they grapple with this moral dilemma, they become embroiled in a series of events that reveal the harsh realities ordinary people endure in the Balkans.
This poignant film serves as a mirror reflecting the struggles of regular people in the Balkans, where individuals must contend with societal expectations and make difficult choices. “Klopka” offers a sombre yet compelling exploration of the human condition against the backdrop of post-war Serbia.
6. Šišanje (Skinning, 2010)
In the aftermath of the conflicts that defined the 1990s in Serbia, a sense of disillusionment gripped a generation of young men left adrift by the ravages of war. For many, football emerged as a refuge, but it also gave rise to a troubling issue – right-wing football hooliganism. This enduring problem finds a stark portrayal in Stevan Filipović’s unflinching 2010 film, “Šišanje”. The narrative centers on Novica, a talented yet socially awkward high school student. Faced with the allure of acceptance and the romanticisation of violence, Novica finds it increasingly difficult to resist the pull. “Skinning” offers a raw and unvarnished depiction of this challenging reality, refusing to romanticise any aspect of it.
“Skinning” delves into the unsettling underbelly of Serbian society, where disillusioned youth turn to violent football hooliganism for a sense of belonging. The film provides an unapologetic glimpse into the dark and uncomfortable aspects of this social issue, shedding light on the struggles faced by a generation scarred by war.
7. Krugovi (Circles, 2013)
The tragic murder of Serbian teenager Srdjan Aleksić by Bosnian Serb soldiers in the town of Trebinje during the Bosnian War is a well-documented and deeply emotional story. The aftermath of this heart-wrenching event unfolds in the exceptional 2013 film “Krugovi” (Circles), one of the best Serbian films ever made. The film weaves three interconnected stories, all rooted in the murder of Aleksić. While any movie based on a true story from the Bosnian War is inherently challenging to watch, “Circles” distinguishes itself through its stark yet emotionally resonant storytelling.
“Circles” confronts the harsh realities of the Bosnian War and its enduring impact on individuals and society. The film provides a powerful exploration of the consequences of violence and the quest for justice, offering a poignant and unfiltered perspective on a deeply tragic episode from the region’s history.
By immersing yourself in some of the best Serbian movies of all time, you not only gain insights into the rich cultural tapestry of Serbia but also the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the sounds and nuances of the Serbian language. Watching these Serbian films can be an engaging and immersive way to enhance your language-learning experience, allowing you to understand the cadences, expressions, and linguistic intricacies that are unique to Serbian.
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