Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

(Balkaski Spijun)

Year: 1984
Country: Yugoslavia
Run Time: 99 minutes


THE BALKAN SPY is a fat-paced satire that takes more than a few swipes at Yugoslavia's socialist regime. Co-directos Bozidar Nikolic (who also manned the camera) and Dusan Kovacevic (who also wrote the script) don't hide their country's problems, such as gas rationing, chronic unemployment (even for young doctors!) and pervasive police surveillance - but they joke about them, undoubtedly to get past the censors. Kovacevic adapted the film from his Belgrade stage hit and Danilo Bata Stojkovic repeats his leading stage role as Ilija, a hothead who lives a quiet life with his wife and grown daughter - until he is questioned by the police chief about the new tenant living behind his place. The tenant (Bora Todorovic) is a Yugoslavian in the fashion trade who has been living in Paris for the last 20 years. Convinced the tenant must be a spy, Ilija becomes an obsessed paranoiac and soon his whole life is centered around recording his suspect's every activity, following him everywhere with his camera and tape recorder. He and his brother dig up their buried Stalinist relics and round up a posse of old Stalinists to kidnap the innocent tailor, after denouncing him and sending anonymous letters. The laught-a-minute hilarity takes on an ominous, black comedy tone once the zealots have captured their "agent of imperialistic forces" for a grueling interrogation; what seemed to be merely comic develops into a powerfully political statement.

". . .THE BALKAN SPY is a winner. . .sharply honed black comedy. . .As drama, the layers of spoken text have a tense snowballing effect." -Ron Holloway, Variety

Dusan Kovacevic

Union Films

Bozidar Nikolic

Principal Cast
Danilo Bata Stojkovic, Mira Banjac, Bora Todorovic, Zvonko Lepetic

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