GO WEST seemed to divide the audience with whom I saw it at
NewFest. Like many films from the Balkan region, it mixes genres
and its humor is somewhat dark. Some I overheard were disturbed
by the shifts between comedy and drama while others seemed to go
along with it without any trouble. In my humble opinion, it was one of
the best films I saw at this year's festival.

   Set in 1992 as the ethnic wars that tore the former Yugoslavia
apart were raging, GO WEST centers on a gay couple: Muslim cellist
Kenan Dizdar (Mario Drmać), who serves as narrator, and Bosnian
Serb Milan (Tarik Filipović, who also enlivened the Tribeca film
TWO PLAYERS FROM THE BENCH). They live comfortably and
quietly in Sarajevo, but when the war begins to reach them and
the village where Kenan's family live, they decide to flee to Milan's
home village. But when the train is stopped by the Serbian militia,
Kenan fears he will be killed. (They will know he is a Muslim because
he is circumcised and the troops force any suspects to disrobe before
shooting them.) Milan hits upon the idea to disguise Kenan as his wife,
Milena. The ruse works and the pair arrive at Milan's rural home.

   Once in the village, it is clear that the Muslim residents have
been slaughtered and Kenan naturally becomes a bit distressed.
Milan has planned for them to flee to Amsterdam, but he first has
to put in mandatory military service. After that, he ezpects to tap his
aging father (Rade Šerbedžija), the village's founder for the cash
to head west.

   While it may require some to suspend disbelief to accept
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
Go West (Ideme na Zapad)

          GO WEST seemed to divide the audience with whom I saw it at
  NewFest. Like many films from the Balkan region, it mixes genres
  and its humor is somewhat dark. Some I overheard were disturbed
  by the shifts between comedy and drama while others seemed to go
  along with it without any trouble. In my humble opinion, it was one of
  the best films I saw at this year's festival.

          Set in 1992 as the ethnic wars that tore the former Yugoslavia
  apart were raging,
GO WEST centers on a gay couple: Muslim cellist
  Kenan Dizdar (Mario Drmać), who serves as narrator, and Bosnian
  Serb Milan (Tarik Filipović, who also enlivened the Tribeca film
  
TWO PLAYERS FROM THE BENCH). They live comfortably and
  quietly in Sarajevo, but when the war begins to reach them and
  the village where Kenan's family live, they decide to flee to Milan's
  home village. But when the train is stopped by the Serbian militia,
  Kenan fears he will be killed. (They will know he is a Muslim because
  he is circumcised and the troops force any suspects to disrobe before
  shooting them.) Milan hits upon the idea to disguise Kenan as his wife,
  Milena. The ruse works and the pair arrive at Milan's rural home.

          Once in the village, it is clear that the Muslim residents have been
  slaughtered and Kenan naturally becomes a bit distressed. Milan has
  planned for them to flee to Amsterdam, but he first has to put in
  mandatory military service. After that, he ezpects to tap his aging father
  (Rade Šerbedžija), the village's founder for the cash to head west.
  Complications ensue when the town outcast, a witch named Ranka
  (Mirjana Karanović), discovers Kenan's secret and exploits it for her
  own means.

          While it may require some to suspend disbelief to accept Drmać
  as a female, it's no more than was required to accept Dustin Hoffman
  in drag as
TOOTSIE. He does a terrific job in this difficult role and is
  ably supported by the fine cast. While the tone of
GO WEST veers from
  broad comedy to tragedy, co-writer and director Ahmed Imamović
  has crafted a superb tale with a message of tolerance for all, regardless
  of sexual orientation or religion.


                                   Rating:         A -