Wednesday, October 03, 2012


One of the things I love about film fests is seeing movies from other countries that give us a look at their culture - but in an easy to digest manner. The boring dramas that make you nod off due to jet lag don’t usually work for me, but a genre film can keep me awake through entertainment - but still take me into another world and make its point.

STATE OF SHOCK is Rip Van Winkle in what used to be Yugoslavia. In Communist Yugoslavia Peter and his wife Marica are poor but happy - living in a very very small apartment with two children and dreaming of saving up enough to buy a washing machine. Both work full time, but have learned to enjoy their jobs. Peter is a factory worker who carpools to work with his best friend Jovo every day. Though Jovo is a bit of a screw up - he can always work slower, Peter is a happy hard working employee (hoping that the factory manager will recommend him to the Local Party Official to move up to a larger apartment). On Labor Day, the factory is closed - but open later for a celebration where the Local Party Official will award the Factory Worker Of The Year Award. When Peter is chosen for the award, and the prize - a huge apartment - he faints... and goes into a coma for a decade.

When he awakens, Communism has fallen, Yugoslavia is no more (he now lives in a county called Slovenia) no one is a “comrade” and capitalism is king. Oh, and his wife has divorced him and married Jovo - and they live in the huge apartment *he* was awarded ten years ago. Nothing is the same. The factory he used to work in is now robotized and computerized - his job no longer exists... but the *company* (now run by the Local Party Official) offers him $1,000 for every year he was in a coma. But Peter doesn’t even understand money in this new world.

The film is great fun - and the lead actor (Martin Marion) reminded me of Peter Sellers as he stumbles through this new consumer oriented world - seeing it through his old communist ideals. Lots off laughs... but the underlying point soon becomes clear - they may now be able to buy designer shoes, but everyone is so money oriented that they have lost the ability to just be happy. People don’t have time to love. It’s very much a “simple things in life” type movie - but the great device of the fall of communism in Eastern Europe creates hundreds of small things that have changed big time. A charming film - really liked it.

- Bill

1 comment:

Martin_B said...

Similar plot device as that lovely movie "Goodbye Lenin!"

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