“Our kids will leave us—and you and I will be alone,” says a teary father-of-the-bride in Honeymoons’ most difficult moment, set at a rollicking wedding. He offers a bottle of alcohol to another man, his estranged neighbor standing in the front yard. The bushy-bearded fellow takes it, pauses for a moment and smashes it. Their feud will go on. And their kids will leave them.
Amazingly, it should be noted that these guys are brothers. Family doesn’t seem to be much of a salve in Goran Paskaljevic’s tragic, humane border drama—and woe be to those bumping up against the deep-seated cultural clash between Serbia and Albania. (This movie represents the countries’ first coproduction: a suitably dark appeal to the heart.) Strongest in evidence is the region’s unavoidable racism, a ruiner of life’s most joyous moments. Not one but two young couples get hitched in the film, with two more pairs—a union of poor Albanian runaways, plus some sophisticated Serbian elopers—fleeing to Italy and Vienna, respectively. There, they hope to find an easier life. Paskaljevic can’t allow them that paradise, a credit to his unsettling effort’s thorough sense of precious blood wasted.—Joshua Rothkopf