‘The Line’ (‘Ciara’): Film Review | Karlovy Vary 2017

Slovak executive Peter Bebjak casts Emilia Vasaryova and Tomas Mastalir as mom and son in this sprawling nonetheless insinuate play about smugglers on a Slovak-Ukrainian border.

The attainment of a Schengen Agreement in Europe did not usually lead to a practical disappearance of limit checks and stops between states within a Schengen Area, though also to a exceedingly reinforced outdoor border. The latter is a useful fact to keep in mind when examination a sprawling nonetheless frequently heated thriller-drama The Line (Ciara), that focuses on a squad of smugglers funneling Ukrainian prohibited into a European Union in a tumble of 2007, usually before Slovakia assimilated a Schengen Area. Directed by Slovak actor incited filmmaker Peter Bebjak, this is gorgeously filmed and strenuously acted mainstream party that should do plain business in Central Europe and competence torment a imagination of distributors serve afield as well, generally if it gets some awards adore during Karlovy Vary, where it premiered.

The rugged and bearded Adam Krajnak (imposing museum actor Tomas Mastalir), who lives on a Slovak side of a Ukrainian-Slovak border, is a conduct of a tiny squad concerned in transporting prohibited cigarettes into a European Union. Bribes, lies and danger are a collection of his trade. In what amounts to one of a character’s fascinating paradoxes, given he’s perplexing to make a indicate about usually wanting to filch in comparatively trusting contraband, Krajnak mercilessly snaps off a finger of one of his group with a shaft knife when he discovers they’ve personally been holding meth opposite a limit as well. The summary is clear: He has his possess rules, and he’ll mangle any order to make them.

Krajnak is not so many a protagonist of The Line as a vast cast’s pivotal executive character. His possess house includes a unrelenting family mama Anna (Emilia Vasaryova, from new Slovak Oscar acquiescence Eva Nova), his mom (Zuzana Fialova) and their children, teen Lucia (Kristina Kanatova) and her child sister (Vanessa Antovska).

Lucia has been personally dating a vast internal youngster Ivor (Oleksandr Piskunov), and one of a film’s early standout sequences involves a wiry immature man. Awkward and nervous, he asks Adam, a large alpha-male type, for his eldest daughter’s hand. As if that isn’t formidable enough, a review takes places usually outward a trailer in that some of Adam’s henchmen are exceedingly roughing adult one of a smugglers concerned in a meth deal. It’s a rarely effective manoeuvre de party from Bebjak and screenwriter Peter Balko, as it illustrates so many things during once. On a surface, it suggests Krajnak’s station during a tip of a food chain, as good as Ivor’s plucky, if clearly also rather naive, character. And on a some-more subterranean level, a quarrel inside seems to visually advise something about Ivor’s conflicted and even aroused feelings about what he’s about to do, while also presumably indication what competence occur to a immature male should he not provide Lucia to Krajnak’s liking.

Besides a Krajnaks, a film also follows Jona (Eugen Libezniuk), an associate of Krajnak’s whose son, Luka (Makar Tikhomirov), is being hold in a Ukrainian jail and who is tighten to a violation point. Jona is perplexing to get Krajnak to determine to a idea of a Ukrainian crime boss, Krull (Stanislav Boklan), to distinction from a final integrate of months of a comparatively open limit between a dual countries and also start relocating quantities of drugs, though Krajnak stays unconvinced. And a hurtful internal conduct of military (Andy Hryc) has his possess ideas and a few astonishing associates.

There’s a lot to juggle here, though Bebjak familiarizes a assembly with a vast expel really fast and afterwards starts to engage and bond their stories in ways that are fascinating. For a many part, a account moves along with a noble gait and incontrovertible proof of destined tragedy, though generally in a shutting reels, a perfect apportion of characters starts to intermix a work’s focus. Not each delegate impression needs a entirely finished arc — differently we finish adult with some-more endings than The Lord of a Rings: The Return of a King — and there are a few too many moments when Bebjak seems to be revelation a story from somewhere tighten to a indicate of perspective of someone who has many no temperament on a story, generally when tellurian trafficking becomes partial of a tract and a story moves to a wooded limit area between a dual nations.

The characters live an eat-or-be-eaten world, and for a actors in such a vast cast, there is a identical risk of vanishing into a credentials unless they scratch their approach into a audience’s alertness in their few vast scenes. Mastalir and Vasaryova, who both come from a theater, are masters during this, and their common scenes are among a many striking. Krajnak is many some-more of a doer than a talker, though cinematographer Martin Ziaran wisely showcases his fluent face in a film’s quieter moments, that mostly pronounce louder than words. The similarities between Krajnak and his mom aspect organically, and Vasaryova manages to do a lot with really little, generally in a set of astonishing confrontations, initial in a attic and afterwards in an industrial kitchen. There’s not a diseased couple in a vast ancillary cast, with immature Piskunov generally considerable as a in-love — or during slightest in-lust — youngster whose destiny in-laws competence be a whole lot some-more than he bargained for.

As a mainstream entertainment, The Line includes a lot of a informed tropes from a crime, thriller and family-drama genres. But Bebjak and Balko use these in duty of a privately internal story, with a cinematography showcasing a region’s dim forests, dilapidated, neon-lit gas stations, mediocre villages, large limit crossings and one generally scary location: a entirely flooded chase that manages to demeanour generally foresight in extended daylight.

The filmmakers so honour a manners of a genre, though also a really medium place where a story is set, with Bebjak wisely avoiding crazy automobile chases, large explosions or epic shoot-outs. That doesn’t meant that there is no assault — quite a contrary, indeed — though rather that it sticks to a kind of savagery that feels plausible in a context of the parochial setting. Slavo Solovic’s swirling, increasingly sinister measure serve completes what is an impressively fabricated package.

Production companies: Wandal Production, Garnet International Media Group, RTVS, HomeMedia Production
Cast: Tomas Mastalir, Emilia Vasaryova, Andy Hryc, Eugen Libezniuk, Zuzana Fialova, Stanislav Boklan, Rimma Ziubina, Kristina Kanatova, Oleksandr Piskunov, Filip Kankovsky, Milan Mikulcik, Volodymyr Helyas, Makar Tikhomirov, Vanessa Antovska, Nela Porkertova
Director: Peter Bebjak
Screenwriter: Peter Balko
Producer: Wanda Adamik Hrycova
Director of photography: Martin Ziaran
Production designer: Vaclav Novak
Costume designer: Jan Kocman
Editor: Marek Kralovsky
Music: Slavo Solovic
Venue: Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Official Selection – Competition)
Sales: Ameline Thomas

In Slovak, Ukrainian
108 minutes