I love Slobodan Sijan’s movies and I saw almost all of them. Maratonci Trce Pocasni Krug or The Marathon Family is considered to be a cult movie in Serbia. It contains humor specific for this country and therefore a good translation (subtitle) for this movie is simply a must. Some of the jokes are untranslatable. Some of them have deeper meaning only for the people in Serbia. However, it is possible to watch this movie and to grasp a bit of a different mentality. Sijan’s movies are generally very refreshing and interesting.
The Marathon Family is based on Dusan Kovacevic’s theater play. Set in the little town in inner part of Serbia, this is the story about Topalovic family that is into funeral business for generations. Their company name is Last Lodging and they are making coffins because, as Laki Topalovic said, everything can fail and disappear, only death is a steady job.
This is not an ordinary family. Oh no! Topalovic women “fade away like flowers” after giving birth to a boy so basically there is no female member in the family. What we see are six generations of men and the oldest member is 120 years old Pantelija.
The movie is centered around the youngest family member Mirko. As the representative of the new generation, Mirko had enough of the coffin business. He is in love with mafia boss daughter Kristina while she is after cinema owner and movie maker Djenka.
Most of the actors are well known and highly respected in Serbia, often playing in comedies but they are also brilliant stage actors. I had luck to get to know Zoran Radmilovic who played the mafia boss in this movie. As actor, he was well known and famous for his improvisations in several theater plays. He died in 1985. I will always remember his cheerful nature.