Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' Cannes Review: Todd Haynes' 'Carol' Starring Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara Cannes Review: Todd Haynes' 'Carol' Starring Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara Cannes Review: Gus Van Sant's 'The Sea Of Trees' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe & Naomi Watts Cannes Review: Gus Van Sant's 'The Sea Of Trees' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe & Naomi Watts Cannes Review: Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone And Parker Posey Cannes Review: Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone And Parker Posey Simon Pegg Reveals Daniel Craig's Role In 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Simon Pegg Reveals Daniel Craig's Role In 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Cannes Review: Yorgos Lanthimos' Outstanding 'The Lobster' Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz & John C Reilly Cannes Review: Yorgos Lanthimos' Outstanding 'The Lobster' Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz & John C Reilly Watch: Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard In The Intense First Clip For ‘Macbeth’ Watch: Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard In The Intense First Clip For ‘Macbeth’ George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

TIFF Review: Goran Paskaljevic's 'When Day Breaks' Is Well Shot, But Overly Sentimental

The Playlist By Nikola Grozdanovic | The Playlist September 12, 2012 at 10:00AM

“With this film, I’ve attempted to do something very complicated,” says Goran Paskaljevic during his introduction to the screening of "When Day Breaks." “To make a simple film.” One of Serbia’s most prominent filmmakers, Paskaljevic’s films have been premiering at TIFF since the 90s, and his brand new one, about a 70-year-old man learning about his true identity, follows suit. Believing that nowadays world cinema is lacking in emotion and true feeling, the director hopes that "When Day Breaks" will prove different. This envelope of hope however, was pushed too far.
5
When Day Breaks

“With this film, I’ve attempted to do something very complicated,” says Goran Paskaljevic during his introduction to the screening of "When Day Breaks." “To make a simple film.” One of Serbia’s most prominent filmmakers, Paskaljevic’s films have been premiering at TIFF since the 90s, and his brand new one, about a 70-year-old man learning about his true identity, follows suit. Believing that nowadays world cinema is lacking in emotion and true feeling, the director hopes that "When Day Breaks" will prove different. This envelope of hope however, was pushed too far.

We follow Misha Brankov (Mustafa Naderevic), a retired composer, who gets a letter about out an old box that had been dug up in the Old Fairgrounds of Belgrade, a site used as a concentration camp during the Second World War. Brankov’s visit to the museum changes his life forever when he finds out that he was adopted, and is the son of Isaac and Sarah Weiss, a Jewish couple that died in the camps, concealing their son's identity in order to protect him. His father, a composer himself, left an unfinished piece in the box, and the film follows Misha as he attempts to play the finished version and premiere it live. After decades of life and nearing the end, how do you react to something that shakes up your birth and origin? It’s a solid premise but, apart from some stand-out factors, the story drowns in its own simplicity.

When Day Breaks

Naderevic carries the entire picture on his shoulders, and is certainly the film's MVP. In almost every frame of the film, his Misha is a touching and soulful old man, his face a mosaic of emotion. The confused son, the desperate composer, the hopeful old man, Naderevic has it all in his arsenal. The film's cinematography is terrific too, shot to show the isolation Naderevic is surrounded by, the bleak surroundings of barren lands and dilapidating buildings lensed with a misty brown tint. It could have been a festival darling this year, were it not for the clanking flaws at the center.

There is a certain kind of desperation that you notice in this film, an intense hope to be liked and this is, ultimately, what brings it down. The script pours sentimentality until it begins to seep through every facet, including the acting, and you realize very early on that you can tell exactly where this is going. There's not enough here to sink your teeth into because as soon as we find out about the unfinished piece his father left him, we know exactly what’s coming.

Unlike festival highlights "Tabu" and "Amour," which also focus on elderly protagonists, "When Day Breaks" uses a predictable and oversaturated story to support its characters. As touching as it has to be at times, finely shot with a good eye for faces, and acted with compelling eagerness by Naderevic, the film never surprises or, when is all said and done, moves the audience. We are forced into sympathy towards the characters by the desolation that surrounds them, whether in thought or in the physical world, but it mainly feels manipulative. As Serbia’s official selection for the Academy Awards next year, "When Day Breaks" will be trying to win over the hearts of the Foreign Language branch of the Academy, but if their heads have anything to say about it, its prospects aren't too bright. [C]
 

This article is related to: Review, TIFF, When Day Breaks


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates