Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie

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