Every now and then, a film comes out that seems to slip completely through the net. Not picked up by the festival circuit, the major distributors or even the more cultish elements of the genre scene, it washes up on the shore of DVD review sites unloved and largely ignored. Kristjan Milic’s The Living and The Dead is the kind of film that provides a compelling argument for the continued existence of DVD review sites as it is not only unloved outside of its native Croatia, it is also genuinely brilliant.
Set in two different time-frames, the film explores the idea (much beloved of Nigel Kneale) that certain places in the world have a memory of their own. A memory so deep and so dark that it curves the emotional space around it. Sucking in positive emotions and leaving only misery and death in its wake. Despite clearly being a work of fantastical cinema, The Living and The Dead is relentlessly mundane in its focus… in fact, you could quite easily read the film as just the story of two groups of soldiers fighting and dying for the same insignificant scrap of land. But to do that would be to ignore some beautifully evocative ideas.
Videovista has my review.