L istings and commentary for Week 2 of the American Film Institute Film Festival of Los Angeles, which runs through March 26:
"Happy New Year, 1949" (Yugoslavia, 1986, 12:30 p.m.). Written by Gordan Mihic and directed by Stole Popov, this rich, harrowing family saga re-creates the postwar era, a time of political witch-hunting when Tito was still gathering strength to defy Stalin. Against this background, the film makers tell a classic Cain-and-Abel tale in which a decent older brother (Meto Jovanovski) is jailed on a flimsy political protest while his flashy, cynical younger brother (Svetozar Cvetkovic) drifts further and further into a life of crime. For all the suffering this film depicts, it is a vital, intimate epic of intense passion and stunning visual beauty. Recommended.