Serbian cinema, a cornerstone of the Balkan film industry, has forged a significant presence on the global cinematic stage.

Despite its tumultuous history, which includes the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the subsequent Yugoslav Wars, Serbian cinema has persisted, often using these experiences to inform its compelling and thought-provoking narratives.

The film industry in Serbia has its roots in the early 20th century, but it was during the Yugoslav period, particularly the 1960s and 70s, that it began to flourish.

During this “Golden Age,” Serbian directors, as part of Yugoslav cinema, produced films that delved into social and political issues, veering away from the earlier, more mainstream productions.

Post-Yugoslavia, Serbian cinema entered a new era. Despite economic challenges, filmmakers continued to produce impactful films that addressed the country’s war-torn past, socio-political transitions, and the complex identity of the Serbian people.

Serbian cinema became a platform for dissecting and discussing the nation’s tumultuous history and its consequences.

Best Serbian Movies

The following list introduces some of the most compelling films in Serbian cinema. Each one offers a unique exploration of the Serbian experience, reflecting the nation’s historical resilience and cultural complexity.

These films underscore the power of Serbian cinema and its ability to navigate challenging narratives with depth, humanity, and insight.

1. Underground (1995)

“Underground” is a Serbian film directed by Emir Kusturica and released in 1995. It is a dark comedy-drama set in Yugoslavia during World War II and the post-war period. The film explores themes of war, politics, love, and betrayal.

“Underground” follows the story of two friends, Marko and Blacky, who are part of the Yugoslav resistance movement during World War II.

They lead a group of fighters who use an underground cellar as their hideout. However, after the war ends, Marko convinces the group that the war is still ongoing, and they continue to live underground for more than 20 years.

The film spans three decades and depicts the political and social changes in Yugoslavia, including the rise and fall of communism. It also delves into the complex relationships between the characters and their personal lives.

The story is filled with dark humor, absurd situations, and surreal elements, reflecting the turbulent history of the region.

“Underground” received critical acclaim and won the Palme d’Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. It is known for its imaginative storytelling, strong performances, and powerful political commentary.

   

The film provides a unique perspective on the historical events in Yugoslavia and the consequences of war.

Please note that “Underground” is a distinct film and should not be confused with other movies that may have similar titles.

Underground
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Predrag 'Miki' Manojlović, Lazar Ristovski, Mirjana Jokovic (Actors)
  • Emir Kusturica (Director) - Emir Kusturica (Writer) - Karl Baumgartner (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

2. Black Cat, White Cat (1998)

“Black Cat, White Cat” (Serbian: “Crna mačka, beli mačor”) is a 1998 Serbian comedy film directed by Emir Kusturica. The film follows the comedic misadventures of two rival Romani families living in a riverside village near the Danube.

The main characters are Matko Destanov (played by Bajram Severdzan) and Dadan Karambolo (played by Srdjan Todorovic).

Matko is a small-time smuggler who dreams of striking a big deal to secure his financial future. Dadan is a wealthy and powerful gangster who controls the local criminal underworld.

Matko’s plan involves marrying off his teenage son Zare (played by Florijan Ajdini) to Dadan’s sister, in the hopes of gaining favor and an opportunity for a lucrative deal.

However, complications arise when Zare falls in love with Ida (played by Branka Katic), a beautiful and mysterious woman who becomes a catalyst for chaotic and humorous situations.

“Black Cat, White Cat” is renowned for its lively and energetic storytelling, eccentric characters, and vibrant depiction of Romani culture.

The film blends elements of comedy, romance, and farce while showcasing Kusturica’s distinctive visual style and his ability to create a unique atmosphere filled with music, dance, and memorable scenes.

It received critical acclaim and has become one of Kusturica’s most beloved and internationally recognized films.

Black Cat, White Cat
  • Bajram Severdzan, Srdjan 'Zika' Todorovic, Branka Katic (Actors)
  • Emir Kusturica (Director) - Gordan Mihic (Writer) - Dragan Djordjevic (Producer)
  • German (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

3. Skinning (2010)

“Skinning,” also known as “Šišanje” in its original Serbian title, is a Serbian drama film directed by Stevan Filipović. Released in 2010, the film tackles themes of youth subcultures, social tensions, and violence in contemporary Serbian society.

The story revolves around the character of Novica, a high school student living in Belgrade. Novica finds himself entangled in a violent and chaotic world as he becomes a member of a neo-Nazi gang.

   

The film explores the consequences of his involvement with the group and the impact it has on his relationships with friends, family, and himself.

“Skinning” sheds light on the issues of extremism, racism, and the influence of radical ideologies on young individuals.

It delves into the complexities of identity, belonging, and the allure of belonging to a group that provides a sense of power and purpose, even at the expense of moral compromises.

The film received critical acclaim for its bold and uncompromising portrayal of social issues. It offers a grim and disturbing depiction of the darker aspects of Serbian society and the challenges faced by its young generation.

“Skinning” serves as a thought-provoking exploration of the dangers of extremism and the struggle for individuality within a turbulent and oppressive environment.

4. Circles (2013)

“Circles” is a Serbian film directed by Srdan Golubović. It was released in 2013 and is a drama based on real events that took place during the Bosnian War in the 1990s. The film explores themes of guilt, forgiveness, and the consequences of war.

“Circles” is divided into three interconnected stories that span different time periods. The first story follows a group of soldiers during the war who witness an act of violence committed by one of their comrades.

The second story takes place several years later and focuses on the consequences of that act on the lives of those involved. The final story examines the impact of the past on the present and the possibility of redemption.

   

The film received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. It is praised for its powerful storytelling, nuanced performances, and its exploration of complex moral dilemmas.

“Circles” is known for its restrained and thoughtful approach to portraying the aftermath of war and the lingering effects on individuals and society.

Srdan Golubović, the director of “Circles,” is a prominent Serbian filmmaker known for his socially and politically engaged work.

He has directed several other notable films, including “The Trap” (2007) and “Krugovi” (1997). Golubović’s films often tackle challenging subjects and offer thought-provoking examinations of human nature and society.

5. Tito And Me (1992)

“Tito and Me” is a 1992 Yugoslav comedy film directed by Goran Marković. The film is set in Yugoslavia during the 1950s and follows the story of a ten-year-old boy named Zoran, who is fascinated by the country’s leader, Josip Broz Tito.

Zoran dreams of meeting Tito and becomes convinced that he is his biological father.

The film explores the complex political and social climate of Yugoslavia during that time, using humor to shed light on the challenges faced by ordinary people under Tito’s regime.

“Tito and Me” offers a satirical take on the cult of personality surrounding Tito and provides a glimpse into the everyday lives of Yugoslav citizens.

Please note that my knowledge is based on information available up until September 2021, and there may have been subsequent developments or details related to “Tito and Me” that I’m unaware of.

Tito and Me (1992) [DVD]
  • Vojislav Brajovic, Milutin Dapcevic, Nebojsa Dugalic (Actors)
  • Goran Markovic (Director) - Goran Markovic (Writer)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

6. When I Grow Up, I’ll Be A Kangaroo (2004)

“When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Kangaroo” (original title: “Quand je serai star”) is a French comedy film directed by Michel Blanc and released in 2004. The movie revolves around the lives of two close friends, Vincent and Antoine, who dream of becoming successful actors.

Vincent and Antoine have been aspiring actors for years but have yet to find any significant success in their careers.

Vincent is a struggling comedian who performs in small venues, while Antoine works as a bartender and auditions for various roles. Frustrated with their lack of progress, they decide to take matters into their own hands.

In a bold move, Vincent and Antoine decide to kidnap the famous actor, Georges Clou (played by Michel Blanc himself), and hold him hostage until he agrees to give them a role in his next film.

The friends’ plan becomes even more complicated when Vincent falls in love with Clou’s co-star, Alice, adding another layer of hilarity and complications to their situation.

“When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Kangaroo” is a light-hearted and comedic film that explores the themes of dreams, friendship, and the pursuit of success.

It offers an entertaining and often satirical take on the world of acting and the lengths some may go to achieve their dreams.

Please note that the availability and distribution of films can vary by region, so it may be best to check with local sources or streaming platforms to see if “When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Kangaroo” is available in your area.

7. The Marathon Family (1982)

“The Marathon Family” (original title: “Maratonci trče počasni krug”) is a Serbian comedy film directed by Slobodan Šijan and released in 1982. It is considered one of the most iconic and influential films in Serbian cinema.

Set in Belgrade during the 1930s and 1940s, “The Marathon Family” follows the story of the Topalović family, who run a funeral parlor.

The patriarch of the family, Bisa, is determined to organize a grand funeral procession in honor of his deceased father. However, the family faces numerous absurd and comedic challenges along the way.

The film uses humor and satire to explore various aspects of Serbian society, including family dynamics, social class, and the impact of political and historical events. It satirizes bureaucracy, corruption, and the influence of political ideologies.

Through its colorful characters and witty dialogue, “The Marathon Family” offers a humorous and critical commentary on Yugoslav society.

“The Marathon Family” gained both critical acclaim and popularity among audiences in Yugoslavia and beyond. It is known for its clever writing, memorable characters, and satirical depiction of society.

The film has since become a cult classic and is considered a significant milestone in Serbian cinema.

Please note that the availability of “The Marathon Family” may vary depending on your location and the platforms or sources you have access to.

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8. Hadersfild (2007)

“Hadersfild” is a 2007 Serbian drama film directed by Ivan Živković. The film is set in the town of Niš, Serbia, during the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

It explores the lives of several characters, primarily teenagers, who are trying to navigate the challenges and uncertainties of war.

The main protagonist is a young boy named Bane (played by Marko Živić). Bane lives in the Hadersfild neighborhood of Niš, which is heavily affected by the bombing.

The film delves into Bane’s personal journey as he copes with the destruction around him, deals with loss, and searches for a sense of belonging and meaning amidst the chaos.

“Hadersfild” tackles the themes of youth, friendship, survival, and the impact of war on everyday life. It provides a poignant and sometimes harrowing portrayal of the experiences and emotions of individuals caught up in conflict.

The film received positive reviews for its authentic portrayal of war and its impact on ordinary people. It was praised for its cinematography and the performances of its young cast. “Hadersfild” offers a thought-provoking exploration of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

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9. We Are Not Angels (1992)

“We Are Not Angels” (original title: “Mi nismo anđeli”) is a Serbian comedy film directed by Srđan Dragojević. Released in 1992, it became one of the most popular and influential films in the history of Serbian cinema.

The film follows the misadventures of a con artist named Nikola (played by Nikola Kojo) who poses as a well-known opera singer, while in reality, he is a gambler and a womanizer.

He ends up in a small town, where he falls in love with a local girl named Marina (played by Mirjana Joković). Nikola’s attempts to win her over and maintain his deception form the comedic core of the story.

“We Are Not Angels” is known for its fast-paced humor, witty dialogue, and satirical take on various aspects of Serbian society. It captures the spirit of the early 1990s in Yugoslavia, a time of political and social turmoil, and provides a lighthearted escape from the difficult reality.

The film was a major commercial success and achieved cult status in Serbia and the broader Balkan region. It spawned two sequels, “We Are Not Angels 2” in 2005 and “We Are Not Angels 3: Rock & Roll Strike Back” in 2006, further solidifying its popularity.

“We Are Not Angels” is often regarded as a classic of Serbian cinema and is appreciated for its entertaining storyline, memorable characters, and humorous commentary on societal norms and values.

It played a significant role in revitalizing the Serbian film industry and remains beloved by audiences in the region.

We Are Not Angels / Mi Nismo Andjeli PAL
  • Nikola Kojo, Milena Pavlovic, Branka Katic, Srdjan Todorovic (Actor)
  • Srdjan Dragojevic (Director) - Srdjan Dragojevic (Writer) - DELTA VIDEO, DELIRIUM, and AVALA FILM...

10. The Wounds (1998)

“The Wounds” released in 1998. It’s possible that the title or details might be different, or it could be a lesser-known or regional film.

If you have any additional information or if you could provide more context about the film, I’ll do my best to assist you further.

The Wounds [DVD]
  • Dragan Bjelogrlic, Miki Manojlovic, Gorica Popovic (Actors)
  • Srdjan Dragojevic (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

11.Pretty Village, Pretty Flame (1996)

“Pretty Village, Pretty Flame” (Lepa sela lepo gore) is a 1996 Serbian war film directed by Srđan Dragojević. The film is set during the Bosnian War and tells the story of two childhood friends, Milan and Halil, who find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

The movie explores the brutal realities of war, focusing on the siege of Sarajevo and the atrocities committed by both sides. It delves into themes of friendship, loyalty, and the dehumanizing effects of war on individuals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbdtdHhXqBM&pp=ygUtUHJldHR5IFZpbGxhZ2UsIFByZXR0eSBGbGFtZSAoMTk5NikpIHRyYWlsZXIg

“Pretty Village, Pretty Flame” offers a powerful and often harrowing depiction of the war’s impact on the lives of ordinary people.

Please note that as an AI model, my knowledge is based on information available up until September 2021, and there may have been subsequent developments or details related to “Pretty Village, Pretty Flame” that I’m unaware of.

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