Reel Life: Flick Pix
BURIED LAND (ZATRPANA ZEMLJA)
Written & Directed & Produced by Steven Eastwood & Geoffrey Alan Rhodes
UK/USA/Bosnia. 86 min. Not Rated in the U.S.
In English and Bosnian with English subtitles
With: Emir Z. Kapetanovic, Geoffrey Alan Rhodes, Avdija Buhic, Amir (Zombi) Suša, Goran Cakic and Semir Osmanagic
Seen at 2010 Tribeca Film Festival
Buried Land is an odd, gently mocking quasi-documentary (the Festival considered it in the narrative category) about how people cling to their land, and its mythical heritage, to recover from the ravages of civil war (and to goose some tourism revenue).
Co-director Geoffrey Alan Rhodes plays a fictional American filmmaker loose in the town of Visoko, north of Sarajevo in Bosnia, to prick how the townspeople may have seized on a fringe archeologist's claims that the mountains that surround their valley are really ancient pyramids.
While the shaggily appealing actor Emir Kapetanovic engagingly plays a returning émigré rediscovering his roots and ethnic identity (while flirting with a comely tour guide), the real story of desperate dreams is entertainingly insightful without overplaying the uncomfortable effort to create a cross between Christopher Monger's The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain and Borat, with the villagers frequently referring to the latter uneasily.
Did the filmmakers resort to fictional elements when there was just not enough substance for a documentary? Or maybe I, too, was being punked?
(May 14, 2010)
Nora Lee Mandel is a member of New York Film Critics Online and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists. Her reviews are counted in the Rotten Tomatoes TomatoMeter:
Complete Index to Nora Lee Mandel's Movie Reviews
- Since August 2006, edited versions of many of my reviews of documentaries/indie/foreign films are at Film-Forward; since 2012, festival overviews at FilmFestivalTraveler; and, since 2016, coverage of women-made films at FF2 Media. Shorter versions of my older reviews are at IMDb's comments, where non-English-language films are listed by their native titles.
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