“The World Is Big And Salvation Lurks Around The Corner,” Stephan Komandarev’s 2008 drama, a Bulgarian-German-Slovenian-Hungarian co-production, is a modest drama about loyalties, to state, to ideology and, especially, to family. Miki Manojlovic’s performance as a wise man who takes his grown grandson on a road trip via tandem bicycle from Germany back to their home village, through a series of backgammon games, is the strongest part of a surprisingly direct story with an unforgettably cumbersome title. (The Serbian Manojlovic is best known for his roles in several Emir Kusturica films, especially “Underground.”) The grandson is amnesiac; the complications are sentimental. It’s a crowd-pleaser. Remember those? “Who am I, what are my roots, how should I live my life?” is Komandarev’s summary of the story, but its anecdotal specificity filigrees that simple synopsis. Based on a novel by Ilija Trojanow inspired by the author’s own life, the personal feeling shines through with winning warmth. With Carlo Ljubek, Hristo Mutafchiev, Ana Papadopulu, Stefan Valdobrev, Blagovest Mutafchiev. 35mm. (103m.) (Ray Pride)
“The World Is Big And Salvation Lurks Around The Corner” opens Friday at Facets.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published later this year.