Igor Drljaca’s meditative puzzle looks at a Bosnian-Canadian’s fractured immigrant experience.


There’s a minimalist revival of sorts going on in the new wave of Canadian filmmaking, and along with recent titles from both established (Denis Côté) and new (Kazik Radwanski) talents, Igor Drljaca’s auspicious feature debut Krivina is at the forefront. Rigorously framed in long tracking shots, and subjective in its recreation of its protagonist’s trauma-addled mind through repetitive cutting and inventive sound design, Krivina is the work of a director in control of his craft and unafraid to take the slow route to his destination.

Unfolding according to an elliptical, almost free-associative logic, rather than by a straightforward narrative, the film is about Miro (Jasmin Geljo), a Yugoslavian immigrant who’s been uneasily living in Toronto since the late 1990s, after a troubling stay in Venice. Itching to leave a city that’s never quite embraced him as more than a guest, Miro heads back to Bosnia in search of an old friend named Dado, who’s apparently wanted for crimes committed in the Bosnian War. That mystery, compounded with Miro’s own nomadic past and sadness over a haunting dispatch from home about a horrific school bus accident—the news pulses out of his glowing white MacBook like a signal beamed from another planet—kicks around in his mind, becoming an unruly obsession.

More than Miro’s search for his old friend, it’s the enigmatic mental process by which he comes unglued that interests Drljaca. That will make the film a difficult sit for some, but patient viewers will find much to admire in its deliberate pacing, as well as its unsentimental portrayal of a complex and under-represented Canadian immigrant experience.