Go West (2005)




Director:     Ahmed Imamovic.

Starring:     Mario Drmac (Kenan),  Tarik Filipovic (Milan),  Rade Serbedzija (Ljubo),  Mirjana Karanovic (Ranka),  Haris Burina (Lunjo),  Jeanne Moreau (Journalist),  Nermin Tulic (Priest Nemanja),  Almedin Leleta (Alen),  Almir Kurt (Drago),  Milan Pavlovic (Milo),  Orijana Kuncic (Posilna).

a homosexual couple wants to flee Serbia for western Europe to escape all the violence


Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire film.

"In the early 90s of the 20th century what was once the most open socialist society disappeared in bloody interethnic conflicts.  The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the central republic in the Yugoslav Federation, started in the spring of 1992.  Following the Serb aggression, its nations started a war of extermination, a war where ethnic identity represented both a ticket to life and a shortcut to death.  Two homosexuals, a Muslim and a Serb, are trying to save their lives and their binding love.  This is their story."

On a television show Kenan Dizdar says his name and tells the audience that he was born a Muslim in Bosnia.  A war was going on at the time.  The Serbs, who are Orthodox, hate the Muslims.  The Muslims don't like Serbs.  The Croats are mostly Catholic and have an on and off relationship with the Muslims.  During that time they hated Muslims.  He adds that the war will end, but they'll still hate homosexuals. 

Flashback.  Kenan is part of a musical performance.  The host tells the audience that they should not allow war in Bosnia-Herzegovnia.

Milan practices judo with a rather hostile partner.  He wants Milan to take a rifle to fight. 

The musical group is the String Quartet from the Academy of Music. 

Milan's judo partner head butts him.  Bleeding, Milan says:  "F your rifle and your war."   His partner then has the nerve to says that "Serb should not fight Serb."

Milan shows up at Kenan's concert, "A Musical Prayer for Peace".  Toward the end of the show Milan leaves.  Kenan hurriedly gathers his things and chases after him.  Milan tells Kenan that they should leave the country:  "Everyone is preparing for war, you fool!  We should run away."    Kenan as narrator says that he should have believed Milan and gone.  But he didn't believe Milan's pessimism until the war actually started. 

Kenan's hometown was attacked by the Serbs.  They killed every male who was circumcised.  Kenan cries asking "Where are my parents?"  Milan keeps insisting:  "We have to go west."  The two men get onto a train outward bound.  They see the United Nation's vehicles in town.  Scenes are shown of great human slaughter.  Everyone is forced off the train and placed in one room.  Kenan is very scared saying:  "They'll kill me."  The Serb soldiers pick out two Muslims and beat them.  Milan, with the help of a couple of women, dresses Kenan as a woman and Milan tells everyone that he's his wife.  The trick delivers them safely from that room of death.  They walk through a now destroyed Muslim neighborhood.  Milan meets two his his friends.  The "husband" and "wife" are going to see Ljubo, Milan's father.  When church gets out Milan greets his father and introduces his wife "Melina" to him.  Milena is also introduced to the very colorful, bosomy Ranka, the waitress working for Ljubo.  Milan's brother Lunjo arrives to welcome him and Milena.  Milan tells Lunjo that Milena is actually a man, but the secret must be maintained.  Lunjo readily accepts Milena/Kenan.  Milan tells Milena that his father worked almost all his mature life in a mine in Texas, USA.  Lunjo gets Milena a good wig.  He takes her picture in order to get the papers for them to go west. 

Ranka takes a liking to Milena.  Milena asks her why there is no water in the immediate village.  She says that their well has dried up.  They were getting water from the Muslim neighbors.  Ranka says that the Muslims were good neighbors.  In fact, her young son's father was Muslim.  Ranka is very forward and she asks Milena to tell her how Milan is in bed.  She further embarrasses Milena by taking her upper garments off to give herself a sort of "sink " bath. 

Much to their discomfort, Milena and Milan suddenly discover that the village is going to marry them.  (Ranka made the arrangements.)  A band is brought in on a huge earth moving truck and the priest marries them. 

Milena says that "Everyone is full of hatred."  She prepares lunch for Ljubo, who enjoys it very much.  Later Milena tells Milan that she does not know if she can take all this or not.  She is afraid that the bold Ranka might find out and blow her cover.  She is also still worried about her parents.  Milan has to go to the front lines.  He marches out with his unit.  To help calm herself, Milena plays her cello.  As soldiers arrive at night in the village, Ljubo sends Milena to get Ranka to feed the visitors.  Milena finds Ranka masturbating in her bathtub.  She waits until Ranka is finished. 

Serb soldiers come across Milena and Ranka.  A soldier beats Ranka because he suspects she is Muslim.  Milena asks the soldier to please spare Ranka and uses the term "sir".  The pleasant way Milena asked for Ranka to be spared impresses the soldier and he and the others leave them in peace.  As if possibly saving Ranka's life wasn't enough, Milena saves Ranka's son from being burned at the stake for being Muslim.  In the process Milena catches on fire.  Ranka jumps on her to put out the fire and, while patting her down, discovers that Milena is a man, not a woman.  The very horny Ranka is very pleased at this discovery.  She promises she can keep a secret and then gives Milena a hand job/blow job. 

A number of bodies of dead Serb soldiers are brought to the village.  The women cry over the bodies.  Milena plays the cello.  A funeral service is held.  Ljubo tells Milena that he paid his son's commander to let Milan go on leave.  Milena plays the cello for her "father-in-law".  Milena has sexual intercourse with a clothed Ranka, probably at her insistence, while she is spread eagle over a wheel barrow.  She asks Milena to take her to the west along with Milan.  She adds:  "You're mine now."

Milan arrives back home.  Ranka spills the beans to him that she knows Milena is not a woman.  This upsets Milan a great deal.  Back together with Milena, he scolds her.  He says:  "They'll kill us because you can't keep your dick in your pants."  Milan then decides to tell Milena that her parents are dead.  Milena cries and says:  "I have no one."  Milan decides to go back to the front line rather than keep fighting with Milena.  He says he will be back when their papers are ready to go west. 

Ranka is very jealous of Milan, so she steals his military cap, cuts her hand to drip blood on it, says some curse and then buries the cap. 

News soon arrives that Milan has been killed.  Milena is crushed.  The war hawk priest appears at this time in his wheel chair.  He tells Ljubo that his son, having shed his blood for his country, is a hero.  This enrages Ljubo who grabs the legless priest and throws him to the ground saying:  "Whose blood is it?  F...king war monger."  Ljubo then just walks away.  He goes to the top of a hill where a number of scarecrows have been placed.  With an axe he knocks down every one of the scarecrows.  Milena plays her cello.  She tells Ranka that she loves Milan and that she never loved a woman.  This absolutely infuriates Ranka and she throws Milena to the floor and jumps on top of her.  She takes out her knife and (I think, because it's not actually shown clearly) that she cuts of Milena's penis.  She then puts Milena in a wheel barrow and takes her over to see Ljubo.  Ranka tells Ljubo the truth about Milena and Milan.  But this only infuriates Ljubo.  He says:  "You can't disgrace Milan like that!"  He hits her over the head so hard that he kills her.   Ljubo then gives Milena all his money and her papers to go west and tells her:  "Go!"

Lunjo drives Milena to the train station and waits with her.  He cries over the waste of war and promises that he won't fight anymore either.  Milena leaves on the train.  Ljubo kills himself with his shotgun. 

Back to the present.  Western Europe, 1993.  Kenan says that he has no house, cello, country, parents or Milan.  He only has his music.  He tells the hostess of the program that he will play his cello even though he has no cello.  He plays a sort of "air cello". 

Flashback.  A man collects Ljubo's and Ranka's bodies. 

Back to the present.  Kenan finishes his fake playing.  The TV hostess says:  "I am so sorry.  I didn't hear anything."  He replies with a smile:  "You should have told me to play louder."


Good movie.  My wife and I both enjoyed it.  It was interesting following the travails of two people in love through a real horror show in the old Yugoslavia.  And they had a lot of travails.  It was a bit like trying to survive in a country filled with rabid KKK members.  The Serbs were filled with ethnic hatred and would kill any one Muslim or any one even suspected of being Muslim.  The couple's entire attempt to escape was filled with one threatening situation after another, which kept the tension going.  I loved the character of the female Ranka.  Yes, what a character she was!  Good acting in the film. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


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