Of course it is difficult to write about a film on the for me unknown singer, composer, poet and actor Arsen Dedić, who is very well known in the ex-Yugoslav countries, 76 years old and still going strong, as the film shows so well.
I don’t get the nuances of the language reading English subtitles and I don’t have the background knowledge needed to enjoy fully, as I understand the audience has done in Sarajevo (premiere at the festival), Zagreb and Belgrade, the home town of director Mladen Matičević. And as the audience in the film does.
No more excuses, I wanted you to know my starting point and I did watch the film with great pleasure. Dedić is charismatic, sings in a way that brings memories of my personal hero Yves Montand, the songs are about love (“I also have divorce on my repertory”, he says), the film is in black & white, like that, the man has irony, he is a charmer and dares to be pathetic, has big affection for his family…
Mladen Matičević has luckily avoided a portrait, where other people tell the audience, how great this man is. He lets him sing his songs in a café with an audience, that reacts, close-ups of faces, mostly women, lets him finish the songs (bravo!), we see him in Sibenik at the coast, from where he comes, we see him in his home, walking in the streets, in a hotel, the camera likes him and he likes to pose and perform, and talks openly about hard times in his life – it is not difficult to understand why he was so popular then and now. He performs with his wife, also in archive, there is a lot of that from television shows, and it is great to be in his company, especially in the room where he composes and writes and smokes.
Croatia/Serbia, 2014, 72 mins.