Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘Wongar’

Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘Wongar’

It only takes one person…

Wongar introduces us to writer Sreten Božic who was barred from journalism in his native Yugoslavia and fled to France in the 1950s and contributed to Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre’s publication Les Temps Modernes subsequently relocating to Australia.  Now 87, and living on secluded bush territory south of Melbourne and still publishes under the pseudonym of B. Wongar.  As filmmaker Andrijana Stojkovic observes him caring for his beloved dingoes, one of whom has fallen deathly ill while waiting on the publication of his newest works, the vet and those around him urge him to put the animal down, but Sreten is looking to a different power from the lands the he has called home for all these years.

Wongar is a simple but beautiful film that alludes to not only the beauty and the mysticism in the aboriginal culture but also at the incredibly pain that they have endured.

It’s the reveal of the film in which its ultimate power lies because beforehand it just feels like we are watching a cranky old man who doesn’t want to let go of his beloved pets and seemingly only companions, but it is so much more then that as it all makes a beautiful kind of sense in observing the slice of life of a man who is incredibly unassuming but who has done so very much.

Wongar is a reminder to never judge a book by its cover because we get to glimpse a subject that really has a beautiful relationship with his surroundings which have truly defined his entire life. This is thanks to a slow and ultimately lovely revelation from the director that allows us to simmer with the experience of this man, rather than club us over the head with it.

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David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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