Original Title: Montevideo, Bog te video!
Director: Dragan Bjelogrlić
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
31.01.2020: This review was first published on 30.05.2018 and is being updated for a more complete review, together with the publishing of the YouTube Version (Copyright Claimed, in dispute).
Hello! Welcome to Ulven Reviews!
Montevideo, God Bless You! is a Serbian film by Dragan Bjelogrlić. The adventure, comedy, drama movie tells the tale of a mostly Serbian team fighting to represent Yugoslavia in the first-ever FIFA World Cup.
World Cup Historic
The first national team in the country was founded in 1919 and began activities in 1920, representing the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. That was the team participating in the first FIFA World Cup in 1930.
In 1941, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was dissolved. In 1945, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was established and qualified for seven World Cups. Its best record was in Chile 1962, reaching the fourth place.
In 1991, Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia and formed its own national team.
The Serbian played the 1998 Cup under the name of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and 2006 as Serbia and Montenegro, even though Montenegro was declared independent less than a week before the beginning of the World Cup.
Serbia, as an independent country, played the 2010 and 2018 World Cups. They were eliminated in the group stage both of the times.
Let’s talk a little about the historical facts permeating what today’s movie is about. Going back to before the first FIFA World Cup, when the tournament was still being organized.
For the first edition of the FIFA World Cup in 1930, there were no qualifying tournaments, and every country affiliated with FIFA were invited. However, no European country accepted the invitation until the deadline.
With the refusal, Jules Rimet, FIFA president at the time, had to intervene, which led to four acceptances from affiliated European teams. The countries were France, Belgium, Romania, and Yugoslavia.
The Yugoslavian football association, with the Kingdom under the rule of King Alexander I, had difficulties in making their World Cup project feasible.
The Croatians were boycotting the Yugoslavia National Team, and the King refused to finance the project without the representation of the Croatians. So the association, based in Belgrade, formed an all-Serbian squad that had to finance their trip to Uruguay some other way. That’s what the movie is about.
Started with the narration of the young Mali Stanoje (played by Predrag Vasić), an orphan boy with only one functioning leg, who dreamed of becoming a football player, but can’t for obvious reasons.
Aleksandar Tirnanić known as Tirke (played by Milos Biković) is the tutor and best friend of the little Stanoje, he’s the best footballer in the street, and dream in going pro. One day, Boško Simonović (played by Nebojša Ilić) discovers him and takes him to his first steps in Beogradski sport klub (known as BSK).
The team, formerly known as BSK, gave origin to Metalac after the Second World War. Years later, they changed the name to OFK Beograd, the current successor of the historical BSK. Today, they play in the third tier of Serbian football ranks.
In BSK, Tirke meets Blagoje “Moša” Marjanović (played by Petar Strugar), a star player in the team and the country, after a minor rivalry between the two, they end up going along well.
As his test to join BSK, the rookie will face the rival team, SK Jugoslavija, now extinct, in a Derby. A very heated match that ends up with red cards, hard fouls, and lots of animosity between the players.
The two teams, even hating each other, have to solve their differences, and unite forces when they get the chance to represent their country in the first-ever FIFA World Cup.
Montevideo, Bog te video!
The movie focus on the star players, Moša and Tirke from the attack, and Milutin Ivković A.K.A. Milutinac (played by Viktor Savić) from the defense. Different from Heleno, Montevideo is more football-focused, but also have a little bit of personal drama and romance.
The movie has a clear path and well-defined three acts. The storytelling is efficient and satisfactory, portrays the historical facts with accuracy, but making decent and compelling use of the artistic license.
The length of the movie is 2 hours and 20 minutes, a very reasonable length, allowing the plot and subplots to develop naturally, without being rushed or tiresome. That makes the watching experience more enjoyable.
The movie is funny and light, it’s an excellent experience to have some fun watching and also being informed about a real story. However, sometimes the funny parts are a little silly, especially for a movie that’s not aiming at a younger audience.
Now, let me explain how do I know the film is not aimed at younger audiences. Even though I could not find any age recommendation, the movie has Female-presenting Nipples, as Tumblr said when they banned adult content.
And Female-presenting Nipples lead me to the next topic, the romantic relationships. Valerija (played by Nina Jankovic) is the romantic pair of Moša, and Rosa (played by Danina Jeftic) is Tirke’s pair. I believe both girls are fictional characters, but they make splendid additions to the film.
The characters are really positive, each one with its particular personality. Tirke is high-spirited and inspired, Moša is a leader and fascinated with luxury, Milutin has a revolutionary spirit, the coach Boško is a clumsy and kind, so on.
The real Milutin Ivković played football until 1934, and after, became a progressive political activist. He boycotted the 1936 Olympic Games, used by the Nazis as a propaganda tool. Later, he resisted the same Nazis during the occupation of Serbia and was executed by them “for communist activities”. He was only 37 at the time of his death.
One thing I immediately noticed was how well the period was represented. The costumes, the buildings, the kids playing in the streets, all that with a beautiful color palette that suited this feeling really well.
The score is not amazing, but it’s good enough. It’s not distracting, blending well it the feel and the ambient of the movie, especially regarding the period the film is set. Sometimes it sounded a little exotic for my ears, in a positive way, maybe it’s something traditional Serbian, it was interesting.
One thing I usually don’t talk about it is the Special Effects, maybe, it’s the first time I’ll mention in the here. The scene that opened the video has a CGI egg, and it looked odd, I could see it was CG, but it was the only instance I can recall seeing something like this in the movie.
Montevideo, God Bless You! has likable characters and competent acting, very good work overall. It was slightly better than Heleno, and it was a good thing to revisit this movie I had watched some time ago, and I will give it 8 Moons.