A child gets taken away from its father, so he travels to New York to find it.
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Milorad Milinković’s film debut Frozen Stiff (Mrtav ladan) (Milinković wrote the screenplay himself) was made in 2002, in the last successful season of Serbian cinema, before the cinema network began to crumble: every movie intended to entertain an audience then garnered at least 100,000 viewers. Milinković’s black comedy had over 175,000 viewers and was co-produced by Viktoria Film, Radio Televizija Beograd and Media Film, with a fairly modest budget.
The lead characters of the movie are the brothers Kiza (Srđan Todorović) and Lemi (Nenad Jezdić), who experienced bad luck; their grandfather Ljubisav died (folk comedy veteran Bata Paskaljević); if they bury him in Belgrade, they will run into a lot of problems. So they steal a corpse from the morgue, smuggle it into the train that runs to Vršac, where they will collect their grandfather’s life insurance and get out of the debt. On the train there was also a small drug dealer Limeni (Nikola Đuričko, one of the favorite Serbian comedy actors of the period), who also travels to Vršac, and was very fond of the handsome traveller Maja (Sonja Kolačarić) and pays more attention to her than the little girl Ana (Tara Manić), whom his mother, a drug addict, foisted on him. The main character of the movie is by all means grandpa Ljubisav; everyone on the train thinks he is asleep and no one suspects they are traveling with a dead man. There are many funny situations that happen, at one point the passengers think they are guilty of his death, so they want to get rid of him as soon as possible.
The patterns of Milinković’s film debut are obvious, first and foremost Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry (1956), followed by Ted Kotcheff’s Weekend With the Dead Man (1989). Although the Serbian film lacks the production and directorial smoothness of the mentioned comedies, movie was well-rated by the film critics accepted by the viewers. Milinković later directed a lot for film and television, but his biggest success was certainly his crime comedy Obituary for Escobar (Čitulja za Eskobara).
Author: Nenad Polimac
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