top of page

The Diary of a Machinist


Serbia/Croatia, 2016

Original title: Dnevnik Masinovodje

Direction and screenplay: Milos Radovic.

Cast: Lazar Ristovski, Petar Korac, Pavle Eric, Mirjana Karanovic, Jasna Djuricic, Mladen Nelevic, Nina Jankovic, Danica Ristovski.

Distribution: A2 Filmes.

Duration: 85 min.

Simplicity and modesty to escape the mold

By Ricardo Pontes Nunes

    A good or at least useful definition of what cinema is is perhaps one of the simplest: one among many ways, albeit more complex, of narrating, of show up, a story. A mere format or technique. A mold. Which also doesn't help much in the attempt to refer less to its dynamics than to its content; moreover, these ways, as well as the stories themselves, can be as multiple and diverse as the moment they are told, the intentions of those who tell them and the perspectives of those who watch them.The Diary of a Machinist(Serbia/Croatia, 2016), makes this notion even more palpable, that cinema can be many things, however much its mold has been wasted, less something amenable to a univocal concept.
    Written and directed by Milos Radovic, its theme is based on a funereal statistic, the number of fatal victims from train collisions in the interior of Serbia. Hence, for the personal testimony of one of these old machinists, Ilyá (Lazar Ristovski), the inculpability that however fatalizes him and whose hard eyes behind the silent austerity set the tone of a good part of the narrative. He is joined by an orphan who sees the cure for his disappointments in the ungrateful job of a machinist. Thus, constricted, the plot is confined to dismantled wagons, tracks and stations in the middle of nowhere, but this modesty is one of the elements that give theThe Diary of a Machinistits surprising ability to show a subtle side of fatality but also its counterparts.


Ilya (Lazar Ristovski):  resignation to wait for the last train

    In a bright spot in the script there is an imperceptible inversion of what was then the fear of the fate of running over someone, at the moment when fear itself becomes a fate even more intolerable, and its climax takes place in an atmosphere blurred between drama and comedy. Comic jokes balance to the exact extent whatThe Diary of a Machinistthere is something ludicrous or even morbid about it, but they do not go so far as to make a comedy of it, as many may believe, but perhaps accentuate what is ridiculous about our behavior in the face of death. The very violent Bosnian War, in the 1990s, may have contributed to a certain coldness with which the people of that region began to face death, and this is also reflected in the disenchanted way in which they see life, which, unintentionally or no, it has also become a hallmark of director Milos Radovic's work. And the involuntary “murders” that haunt the machinist character Iliá are perhaps an instigating way of portraying that which drags us along in life and which we are incapable of avoiding.  



Milos Radovic and Lazar Ristovski on the unstoppable train of life

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
bottom of page