Tito i ja (Tito and Me) (1992)

 

 

Director:  Goran Markovic.

Starring:  Ilija Basic (Prvi agent), Olja Beckovic (Djurina majka), Vojislav Brajovic (Josip Broz Tito), Branimir Brstina (Strahinja), Milutin Dapcevic (Kengur), Bogdan Diklic (Teca), Anica Dobra (Majka), Ljiljana Dragutinovic (Tetka), Nebojsa Dugalic (Milicioner), Dusan Jaksic (Drugi agent), Miki Manojlovic (Otac), Olivera Markovic (Baka), Rade Markovic (Deda), Jelena Mrdak (Ljilja), Dragan Nikolic (Ganetov Otac), Uros Nikolic (Djura), Lazar Ristovski (Raja), Goran Smigic (Zoranov kolega), Milivoje Tomic (Kustos), Miodrag Tomovic (Brozov adjutant), Vesna Trivalic (Uciteljica), Dimitrije Vojnov (Zoran), Tamara Vuckovic,  Milena Vukosav (Jasna), Jelena Zivkovic (Svetlana).

a small boy writes the best essay in honor of Tito, Yugoslavia's strong man

 

 

1954.  Zoran is a young, plump, cute boy.  He lives in an apartment in Belgrade, Yugoslavia with his father, mother and grandmother, along with his aunt, uncle and cousin.  His mother is a ballerina and his father is a musician.  There is a great deal of tension between the two different nuclear families living in the apartment which results in a lot of fighting.  The grandfather lives alone, but he often comes over for meals, which Grandmother pays from her small inheritance. 

Zoran and his friends often get into a little mischief.  And Zoran likes an older, taller girl named Jasna who is a war orphan and lives in the nearby orphanage. 

Tito rules Yugoslavia with an iron hand and some say that Tito is a person more important even than God.  Tito is Zoran's hero.  In school one day Zoran day dreams that Tito enters his classroom, goes to the window and points to Jasna outside on the playground.  When Zoran stares out the window, the teacher reprimands him.  One morning Zoran gets up very early and walks to the center of town passing the prostitutes along the way.  He has heard that Tito will be in a procession downtown and he wants to get a good position in order to see the great man.  The problem is that he did not tell his family who become very worried about his absence.  They are very relieved when he finally returns home.  His father does not really reprimand him when he hears that Zoran just wanted to see Tito. 

Jasna tells Zoran good-bye because she will be leaving on a group trip for a "March around Tito's Homeland."  Only the best among the patriotic youth group Young Pioneers are chosen for the march.  Zoran would sure like to go on the trip with Jasna.  Then he gets his chance.  The writer of the best essay honoring Tito will be able to go on the March.  Zoran's poem is judged the best in all of Belgrade and he is able to go on the March.  In the poem Zoran says he loves Tito more than his mother and father, which is a bit upsetting to his parents. 

Zoran gets on the train for the trip to Zagreb.  When it is time for lights out, he tries to visit Jasna, but the biggest boy won't let him into the compartment where Jasna is staying.  From Zagreb they will hike to different places famous for being associated with Tito.  Their leader is Raja, who is not the most stable of men.  When his group is heckled, Raja knocks out an innocent waiter standing between the two hecklers.  Hiking along they come to an area where Tito was active with the partisans resisting the Germans in World War II.  At Medvednica they start climbing the mountain.  The plump Zoran has a large pack and soon starts falling behind the group.  A nice girl who likes Zoran is the only one who tries to help him, but Zoran just rejects her out-of-hand.  When Zoran stops for a little rest he gets separated from the group.  He then proceed to get himself lost, but does manage to find a shelter in which to get out of the rain.  Raja has finally realized that Zoran is missing and he and a few "volunteers" head back down the mountain to find him.  They finally find him after more than six hours of searching.  Raja is now really mad at Zoran and tells him: "You'll pay for this!"

The young people stay in an old castle.  They sleep on cots in a large room, but are worried about ghosts haunting the castle.  Raja gets the bright idea to scare the fear of ghosts out of them by pretending to be a ghost.  When lights are out Raja and a few volunteers dress in sheets and scare the young people, who start running through the castle to get away from the ghosts.  The students enter a dark room where a priceless collection of old armor is on display and completely wreck the display.  The curator of the castle turns on the lights and demands to know who is responsible for the wreckage.  He tells Zoran that they are responsible for destroying an important collection, but Zoran points to Raja, still in his ghost sheet, and says its the fault of the ghosts.  The curator is very angry with Raja and reports him to the authorities.  This makes Raja hate Zoran even more. 

Jasna tells Zoran she is breaking up with him because he squealed on Comrade Raja.  This makes Zoran very sad.  He begins to think that God is punishing him for his sins.  He writes a letter to his parents explaining his situation and mails it.  He then goes to church and leaves a donation to "pay" for his sins.  Raja finds Zoran at the church and tells him to come with him.  Raja is holding a sort of mock trial of Zoran in front of all the young people.  Somehow Raja has gotten hold of Zoran's letter and he reads it out loud to the group, making fun of the various passages.  Since the letter tells the truth, it makes Raja look like a fool and he claims that Zoran's purpose is to get him in trouble.  Jasna turns the ring Zora had given her over to Raja.  Zoran tries to take it from Raja, but he is not strong enough.  Raja tells Zoran he will be send on the first train back to Belgrade. 

At the train station the isolated Zoran gets into more trouble with Raja when he throws the sandwich Raja had given him for lunch into the garbage.  Raja makes a big deal out of it in front of the entire group.  But then something surprising happens.  The one girl who likes Zoran walks over to his side.  As Raja looks on, more and more of the young people walk over to Zoran's side of the platform leaving Raja by himself.  So Raja has no choice.  He has to let all the group members take the train and he has to accompany them. 

The group disembarks at Kumrovec, Tito's hometown. This is will be their last stop.  The authorities gathered there ask which of the young people will be giving the speech.  They point to Zoran and two men grab him and put him up on the speaker's platform.  Zoran says he is not worthy to present a speech for he told a lie in his poem.  He had written that he loved Tito more than his own parents, but that was just an exaggeration.  He loves his parents more.  And he even loves all his friends more.  And he even loves his group of Young Pioneers more.  This excites the group of young people and they mob Zoran and slap him on the back for his great speech.  Meanwhile, Raja has gotten drunk and is taken away by two men.  

Back in Belgrade the Young Pioneers and Zoran have the great honor of meeting with Tito himself.  But Zoran holds back as his compatriots fawn over Tito.  Instead, Zoran walks into the dining hall where there are scores of cakes and other treats for the children.  He starts digging his fingers into the frosting of the cakes in order to taste the different flavors. 

 

I enjoyed the movie, but my wife just said it was o.k.   It was a funny movie I thought.  The fellow playing the part of Zoran was very good and he was awfully cute.  He fit the role perfectly.  The character Raja was over the top and the actor who played him was also very good.  No matter what was said to Zoran, he never really faltered.  He kept his own sense of right and wrong despite the public humiliation he suffered.  And he also kept his curiosity and his determination to do his own thing.  Good movie. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 

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