Beautiful People

on February 18, 2000 by Bridget Byrne
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This is a whirling, gurgling melting-pot of a movie, bursting with surprises, infused with almost every condition the human spirit experiences--birth, death, hope, fear, hatred, passion, sorrow, suspicion, fate, chance. Name any emotion you can think of, "Beautiful People" contains it. Writer-director Jasmin Dizdar throws together, tears apart and reconnects a large assortment of characters living in England, where the political and military conflict in Eastern Europe impacts their lives whether they're participants or observers, indifferent and ignorant or caring and informed. London, already struggling with a multi-culture born of history, integration and devolution, is now an often unwilling and even unsuspecting host to those who have fled the war in Bosnia. Their needs are obvious, but need is personal, and the residents they encounter--whether druggy skinhead, National Health medic, debutante volunteer, BBC cameraman, Welsh anarchist, artist, teacher, lover, foe, journeyman, bus conductor, et. al.--have their own load of problems to solve before buying in emotionally or practically to additional ones concerning the troubled immigrants.
Dizdar handles what could have been a confusing hodgepodge with confident style, wicked hilarity, deep sensitivity and only a very few lapses into cliche. Sometimes the sheer weight of characters and ideas slams him into what seems a dead end, but his escape-artist imagination and sense of the full possibility of life always allow him to come up with something unexpected to keep the kaleidoscope whirling into a seductively new pattern. He has drawn realistic performances from both his professional and amateur actors, most notably Nicholas Farrell as a decent doctor struggling not to be overwhelmed by the conflicts both between and within work and home, and Walentine Giorgiewa as the Bosnian woman who wants him to abort her child conceived of rape. This a movie that plunges in, bold and willing, embracing both horror and blessings with equal vigor and buoyant intelligence. Starring Charlotte Coleman, Danny Nussbaum, Nicholas Farrell and Edin Dzandzanovic. Directed and written by Jasmin Dizdar. Produced by Ben Woolford. A Trimark release. Drama/Comedy. Not yet rated. Running time: 107 min.
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