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Film / Tri

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Tri ("Three") is a 1965 film from the former Yugoslavia, directed by Alexsandar Petrovic.

It is set in during the German war with Yugoslavia, 1941-45. It consists of three vignettes, all centered around a Yugoslav soldier named Milos.

  • The first segment is at the start of the war, April 1941. Milos, in civilian dress, is part of the crowd milling at a train station. The crowd is panicking and looting, and everyone is afraid of the Germans and supposed fifth columnists.
  • The second segment is set at some point during the 12-day war, when the Yugoslav army swiftly collapsed. Milos is on foot, trying to make it to the coast and escape, running from a whole squad of German soldiers chasing after him. On the way, he meets another soldier at loose ends.
  • The third segment is set quite a bit later, at some time frame around the end of the war. Milos, who wound up commanding a unit in Tito's army, is compiling an after-action report and having to deal with Yugoslav collaborators that his unit captured.


  • The Bus Came Back: In the third story, Milos is shocked to see Vera, the widow of the man lynched in the first story. She's been arrested as a collaborator and is facing imminent execution.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Shot in black-and-white in 1965, no doubt to evoke a World War II feel.
  • Disturbed Doves: Pigeons and chickens are flapping their wings and flying away as Vera makes her abortive run for freedom in the third story.
  • The Dying Walk: In the first segment, the man unjustly accused of being a spy is still staggering forward with his hand outstretched even after the three guards have put a few bullets into him. After they put a few more into him he finally crumples to the ground.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Part one is real time, while parts 2 and 3 both cover events of no more than a few hours.
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  • Face Death with Dignity: In the second segment, the Nazis are trying to execute the Yugoslav soldier. Four times, they set him up facing the wall of the hut. Four times, he turns to face them. Eventually the Nazis change their mind, chuck the soldier inside of the thatched hut, and set the hut on fire.
  • It's Raining Men: Part of the opening montage of still photos of the war is a scene of German parachute troops jumping out of a plane.
  • Meaningful Look: Vera shares several long looks with Milos in the third segment, showing that she remembers him from the incident four years prior when her husband was lynched.
  • No Name Given: For the Yugoslav soldier that Milos encounters in the second segment. Lampshaded when the other soldier asks Milos his name and then says it's not important.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: The first sequence ends with the street performer and his dancing bear ambling away down the railroad tracks.
  • Real Time: There's no obvious time skip in the first story, which seems to actually be something less than a half-hour elapsing at a train station.
  • Rule of Three: Three vignettes demonstrating the horror of war.
  • She's Got Legs: In the third story, Vera is wearing a mid-length skirt, and the camera lingers on her bare knees as she sits and waits.
  • Skyward Scream: The second segment ends with Milos looking up to the sky and screaming "GOD!", after watching the SS murder the other Yugoslav soldier.
  • Street Performer: There's a guy with a dancing bear at the train station in the first act. It's disturbing as all dancing bear (not Dancing Bear!) acts are, and it's even more surreal to see a dancing bear act amdist the fear and chaos of the war.
  • Vigilante Execution: The climax of the first segment has a man at the train station unable to produce ID when the guards ask for it. He says he lost it when his apartment was bombed, but he's also carrying a camera. He says his wife and son are there, but no one answers when he shouts "Vera!". The frightened crowd on the platform starts yelling that he's a spy. The three militia guards at the station promptly take the man aside and shoot him. Moments later Vera and her boy walk up and she asks where her husband went.
  • Wedding Finale: The last scene of the film has Milos, after he's watched Vera and the other prisoners marched away towards their execution, leaving the camp. He ambles to a roadside where he sees a joyful wedding procession pass, and on that the film ends.