Montenegro: Dusan Makavejev, Director; Fox Lorber Home Video; Letterbox
1.66:1; English Dolby Digital mono; 97 Minutes
Written and directed by the same man who made The Coca Cola Kid, Montenegro chronicles the brief straying of a bored housewife (Susan Anspach into the company of a band of Yugoslavian immigrants. Like Wag The Dog, Montenegro was made long before that region or its people became daily news fodder. It’s a charming film, with many funny moments. I didn’t realize that Makavejev was behind both this film and the Coca Cola Kid, which I look forward to seeing out on DVD. Not only is Kid hilarious as a sincere southern cracker tries to crack Australia’s soft drink market, and runs into the local brew, it offers a first look at all of Greta Schacchi in a lingering shower scene. I eagerly await the DVD, having just about worn out the video tape.
But I digress. Makavejev’s comedies are very warm spirited and full of touching as well as erotic moments. I first saw Montenegro on Canada’s long defunct C-Channel, a Bravo predecessor that was way ahead of its time, and couldn’t survive without today’s cable subsidies and satellite access. It’s nice that such a little gem of a movie can reach a greater audience on DVD, and see Anspach in a far better performance than that of Five Easy Pieces. Here she is much more human, and interesting for it, and carries the film convincingly.
Set in Sweden, it pays a gentle homage to Ingemar Bergman at the beginning, almost an ironic wink, as Anspach and her repressed husband seek marriage counselling, but as she gets lost in the airport and finds herself with the fun-loving Yugoslavs, the film takes on an earthy but surreal air. It’s a fun movie.