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


Year: 1982
Country: Yugoslavia
Run Time: 110 minutes

As the possibility of a smallpox outbreak looms ominously on the American horizon, VARIOLA VERA, a chilling film about a mysterious virus that spreads through Belgrade, serves as a prophetic warning. A chilling lesson on the politics of containing an epidemic, the film scrutinizes the alternately selfish and selfless behavior of people under a great deal of pressure. After visiting a distant land, a pilgrim returns to Yugoslavia with a sweet-sounding flute, and with it a fatal, highly infectious disease. Nearly comatose, the unfortunate traveler is deposited at Belgrade General Hospital where intrigues among the staff rival the spiciest soap opera. No one pays attention to the dying patient until it's far too late. Word of the plague spreads wildly and the hospital is entirely quarantined by bumbling government bureaucrats trying to save their nation. Tension and fear build to epic proportions within the hermetically sealed hospital as the disease spreads; some doctors keep to their physician's oaths, others succumb to selfishness. A fascinating film inspired by Albert Camus' The Plague, VARIOLA VERA raises the questions of borders, containment, infection and the way a government makes crucial, life-changing decisions without involving its citizens, a consistent theme running through most of Goran Markovi_'s work: the effect of repressive regimes on a people's spirit, consciousness and actions. (In Serbian with English subtitles)

Goran Markovic, Milan Nikolic

Goran Markovic

Aleksandar Stojanovic

Radoslav Vladic

Vuksan Lukovac

Principal Cast
Erland Josephson, Rade Markovic, Semka Sokolovic-Bertok, Vladislava Milosavljevic, Peter Carsten

Film Contact
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