Lazar (Svetozar Ristovski, 2015): Republic of Macedonia | Croatia | Bulgaria | France

Reviewed by Justin Richard. Viewed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2016.

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A man named Lazar (Vedran Zivolic) is professional immigrant smuggler and is heading towards large financial gains; however, love steers his actions differently. He discovers an interest for a woman who reminds him of the simple pleasures of life. Consequently, the joy of her presents navigates him to confusion and great danger.

The movie opens during a late night where Lazar is later pulled over by an officer. The cars begin to drive down the highway and Lazar is first. He speeds down the freeway over the speed limit alone. Lights flash behind him and he steps on the gas peddle. After time he eventually pulls over.  As the officer speaks to him in confusion thinking Lazar was drunk a van and other cars pass by. Later, the viewer realizes he was speeding as a distraction for any authority to focuse on the one speeding not the cars behind who had cars packed with citizens illegally immigrating into the country bordering theirs.

Furthermore, the human traffickers repetitively shows similar tasks and the correlation of the lifestyle. Lazar being one of the significant members of the business portrays unhappiness until he finds his lover. Oppositely, her endeavours consist of attending school and having a simple job selling tiles. They become closer within one another to the point they are living together. Lazar locates happiness in his life but it is easily taken away by his boss. His life becomes split.

Handcuffed to a chair, Lazar is forced to party with the crew. Drinking, blowing cocaine, and toying with strippers as it became obvious there is no escape of leaving the business. As close as he was with his boss he tried his best negotiating his way to leave but to only find rejection. Lazar faces his largest decision to sneak away from his family, business friends, and the worst, his lover in hope of finding a better life. Psychologically, this was an impossible task as he loved his girlfriend too much. He met with a man to provide false identification paperwork for him to leave the country. Afterwards, he had to be tested to prove his identification and purposely failed as he could not leave with the one he loved. Depending on the viewer’s interpretation this could have been the best or worst decision for Lazar. However, for his girlfriend it was definitely the most dreadful.

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