When Day Breaks…a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

March 18, 2014 by Roz Tarszisz
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When an unfinished piece of music – When Day Breaks – comes into his hands, it changes the life and perceptions of an elderly, retired music teacher living in modern Belgrade.

Music teacher Misha Brankov– often called Professor –is shocked to find out that he is not who he always thought he was, the son of a Christian Serbian family.

His birth parents were a Jewish couple living in Belgrade during the Second World War. When times got too dangerous they leave him with a Christian family as a two year old and he was brought up as their son.

During concentration camp incarceration in the city’s fairgrounds, his musician father buries a box with a letter to him, a photograph and a piece of unfinished music.

This inheritance is unearthed almost 70 years later and whilst the Professor is confused by what he learns of himself and his background, it sets him on a mission to complete the score and have the music performed.

The Professor is a gentle and kind man but is also rather naive.  He has good relationships with his older brother, Gypsy friends and music students but not with his son.  His son, also a musician, is bitter that his father spent much of his teaching career helping others and does not care to understand what his father now wants of him.

The Professor calls on favours from all his musical connections in his attempts to get the piece performed on the site of the old fairground.

As a way to focus on the past, the director has employed the use of dream sequences to go back in time to connect Mischa to his unknown parents. This well used device partially works, mainly as a boost in pursuing his quest to have the music performed.

During his search and quest,  there is talk of unpunished bad deeds, past and present, and as we leave the Professor and his friends there is sadness in the knowledge that general acceptance for Gypsies has not changed much in the past 70 years.  There are no surprises in this but the opportunity to learn about Serbian Holocaust history makes for worthwhile viewing.


Director – Goran Paskaljevic

Starring Mustafa Nadarevic

This film is part of the Holocaust Film Series to be screened in Sydney and Melbourne


One Response to “When Day Breaks…a movie review by Roz Tarszisz”
  1. Many Thanks for that.
    I love European movies. And this one is also about history. Even more interesting.

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