Projections - Movie Reviews

Beautiful People Beautiful People

Beautiful People may be lightly construed as a cross between Cabaret Balkan and the recent magnum work, Magnolia, as the frenetic, disturbing behavior melds with the idea of disparate lives interlocking in strange ways.  And it joins risible moments with pathos that demonstrates why the first-time director of Bosnian decent, Jasmin Dizdar, picked up the "Prix Un Certain Regard" at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.  Working from his U.K. home for 10 years, he's able to instill a vibrant ethnic conflict that is oddly moving, even when the class division encounters appear far-fetched.  In present day London, Beautiful People is never less than a gritty human drama about ordinary folks who are involved in turmoil on different levels.

Dizdar also makes his film ring true with an inspired narrative that traces the convergent lives of four British families and the effects of unexpected meetings with Bosnian war refugees.  He uses a World Cup qualifying match to set up a wild chase sequence between a Serb and a Croatian who could care less about soccer, and their union at a crosstown bus leads to brutal blows, and their stay in adjacent hospital beds, next to a Welsh anarchist, Nicholas McGaughey, who injured himself when attempting to detonate English-owned holiday cottages at his Wales hamlet.  The intertwining screenplay, the Bosnians milieu abuts an overworked Dr. Mouldy who aids the delivery of an unwanted child of a Bosnian refugee, a Scottish BBC war correspondent showing high anxiety as he prepares to cover the Bosnian war, and the most revealing of all is a heroic addict named Griffin whose closed eyes culminates in his parachuting into the volatile former Yugoslavia.

Dizdar, like P.T., Anderson, keeps offering unknown occurrences to add to his tormented views of his original homeland.  And, like Anderson, he has a cast that thrives under his sprawling, sometimes mad-cap direction that see people fall down, but look up for forgiveness, in almost operatic fashion.  The most recognizable person is the talented Charlotte Coleman, vivacious as a rebellious, upper-middle class intern who's attracted to an uneducated, hunky ex-basketball star.  Nicholas Farrell brings warmth to the tired Dr. Mouldy, left by his family for neglect.

Even if its title offers up an anomaly at first, Beautiful People finds a poignant way to join the will of those with diverging mores with the social and political upheaval in the world outside them.

Beautiful People

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