Heartbreak, melodrama and alcohol: the life trajectory of popular Serbian singer Toma Zdravković was no more linear than the lyrics of his folk songs, which enthralled the whole of Yugoslavia. In 1991, while war was bringing his country to the verge of collapse, he died of cancer, having previously only been able to tour with the help of a drip. In a work that is grippingly emotional, star actor and director Dragan Bjelogrlić pays fitting tribute to his life and times.
In his songs Toma sings about unfulfilled love, lost happiness and eternal longing. Beautiful kitsch at its finest, from romance to glimmers of hope, all drawn from life. One that was lived to the full: the self-confessed bohemian played the field, rarely missed a party and yet continued throughout life to long for his first great love from the Roma district of Leskovac in southern Serbia. A lifestyle that led straight to his downfall; ultimately, it is his family doctor and, in the end, best friend who holds his hand and heals his broken soul when the body has already given up. Bjelogrlić tells his biopic on several levels, all of which play out in parallel, both from the end and from the beginning, connected by the tension of a music that even self-declared opponents of folk cannot escape. Magnificent, emotional cinema that incorporates elements of biopic, buddy movie and love story; down-to-earth and eccentric, with high production value and formed from an adrenaline-filled dramaturgical cast.
Text: Bernd Buder
Weltspiegel: Original version with English subtitles + German simultaneous translation
Glad-House/Obenkino: original version with English subtitles
Nikola Pejaković, Zoran Lisinac, Dragan Bjelogrlić
Jovana Cvetković i Jelena Sopić
Dragan Bjelogrlić - Dragan Bjelogrlić is a Serbian actor, director and producer.
Apart from a successful acting career that lasts 40 years, the last two decades he also devoted to producing and directing movies and TV shows, consequently becoming one of the most recognized and successful cinematographic creators in the entire region.
He started directing in 2009. He directed three films, with more than 2.5 Million admissions.
His last film “Toma” closed the 2021 Sarajevo Film Festival and attracted over 1.1 Million spectators in cinema, which makes him the most successful director in the Balkan in this Century.
He also directed the 2 seasons TV series “BLACK SUN", which is the first regional series streamed on the “AMAZON PRIME”.
His directorial debut “MONTEVIDEO, GOD BLESS YOU” was shown on over fifty international festivals (Beijing - Grand Prix, Moscow - Audience Award, Warsaw - Audience Award, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, etc.) and was the Serbian candidate for the Oscars.
So far, he has played in almost 60 films, 30 TV shows and dramas and 11 theater plays.
At the beginning of 1994, together with his brother Goran Bjelogrlić, he founded the production company "COBRA FILM", which has produced some of the most famous films and TV series in Ex-Yu region. Dragan produced six films that won over thirty awards on various film festivals as well as five TV series.
Two years ago, he established Master class at Faculty for media and communications, Singidunum University Belgrade.