The Optimists (Optimisti) (2011)
The five stories in The Optimists are inspired by Voltaire's famous satirical novel Candide and its motto: "Optimism is insisting everything is good, when everything is bad." The setting is present day, post-Milosevic Serbia. Painted with black humour, these stories reflect a time filled with hope and despair, real optimism and false; a time when fiction and reality co-exist side by side, and when many people fish in the troubled waters of lost illusions. The acclaimed actor Lazar Ristovski ("Underground", "The Powder Keg" aka "Cabaret Balkan" in the USA, "Midwinter Night's Dream") takes a role in each of the five stories. -- (C) Zillion … More
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Critic Reviews for The Optimists (Optimisti)
The screenplay is blunt and to the point, and the performances are subtly tinged with a surreal comic edge.
These five stories set in post-Milosevic Serbia are unrelated beyond their general air of disillusionment, providing little satisfaction individually or as a whole.
Audience Reviews for The Optimists (Optimisti)
Goran Paskaljevic is a well known name as one of the best directors from the Balkan. He directed this movie, which is presented as five unrelated narrative sequences, inspired by my favourite writer of all times - Voltaire, especially his satirical work Candide. The Optimists features an impressive cast from this part of the world, and one of the best of them - Lazar Ristovski - is appearing in all five storylines. This film premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival and was subsequently screened at several other film festivals earning multiple awards. Ristovski was named Best Actor at the 51st Valladolid International Film Festival while the film won the Golden Spike award as the best film of the festival also earning the Youth Jury Award. The Optimists was included as part of a retrospective exhibition on director Goran Paskaljevic at the Museum of Modern Art in 2008 which is undoubtedly telling us about the real value in it - and I won't question that - I'll confirm that it was smart, deep, multilayered and thoughtful work of real art with lots of black comedy in it even in the most emotional parts of the drama. My only problem with this movie is that there is no divide between the stories, and having the same main lead in all of them contributed to the confusion during the first few minutes of the new story which took out a little of the appeal for me.
There is a little bit of gloominess in all of the situations presented in the stories but it was so good to see that a director is able to pronounce his compassion as well as his sarcasm. Paskaljevic has sympathy for his characters and that was evident as was his derision for them! I would do something with this movie - maybe give hope with a quote after each part instead of deadending every single one when situations have achieved their equilibrium of hopelessness and defeat. But, life in that part of the world seems like a dead end most of the time - hopelessness could be a wilful choice of the director.
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