I'll Marry the Whole Village
Peca, an accordion player, have decided to marry all the unmarried men in his village. His motto is „I’m going to marry the whole village, even if I regret it“
He is naive, he is a modern Don Quixote.
Doccomedy – a music documentary about a Serbian village
and an ordinary man who wants to change the system.
Jan Vrijman Fund, IDFA
City Municipality Pantelej, Niš
City of Niš- culture department
Ministry of Culture Republic of Serbia
Thanks for support
City Municipality Medijana, Niš
Composer: Dejan Ilijić
Music played by Band „Rana Zora“
Choir SKC Niš
Conducter Zoran Stanisavljević
Sound recordists: Goran Štifanić, Srdjan Bajski, Vladimir Stanojević
Camera: Dejan Petrović, Željko Mirković, Darko Ković
DoP: Darko Ković
Editor: Pavle Nikić
Script writter, director: Željko Mirković
Project manager: Tamara Dinić Mirković
Producer: Željko Mirković
Production: Optimistic film
Duration: 57 min.
The village of Matejevac, in the south of Serbia, has over 300 unmarried men (almost one third of the men living there.) The village is only a ten-minute drive from the city of Niš with the population of around 400,000 citizens, but the women there do not want to live in the country.
This is not just a local problem; everywhere in Serbia there are a lot of unmarried man and women, who never get together.
Villages die out, cities become overcrowded, and there are less and less marriages.
Peca, an unmarried accordion player, has decided to take the matter into his own hands and to carry out a great project aiming at marrying the young and old by attracting women to the village. And to get married himself in the end.
Peca, an unmarried accordion player, has decided to carry out a project „I’m going to marry the whole village“. There are over 300 unmarried men between 20 and 50 years of age in the village, almost one third of the local residents.
Peca has presented his project to the president of the Pantelej Municipality to which Matejevac belongs. The municipality should give logistic support to the project.
Peca is going to animate the unmarried residents to present themselves in video ads and say who they are, what they do, what kind of women they want and what they can give to them. He will take the five-minute-long video ads to the municipality which will provide a room equiped with a TV set and DVD player, where interested women can come and watch the ads. Eventually, the women may contact the unmaried men through the municipality which will keep files on applicants.
We follow Peca from the start as he presents his idea to the village residents and the municipality president. His first assistant is Mile, a chimneysweep, who rides his old bike with a broken seat around the village and promotes the idea as he cleans the chimneys. The unmarried residents present themselves on camera. The video ads are being shown in the „room for future marriages“. The municipality advertises the project in the local media and women slowly start to come. Simultaneously with the project we follow life in Matejevac, a village only a ten-minute drive from Niš. Besides all public utilities, the village has its own soul.
Selomir Marković, a self-appointed custodian of the Čegar historic monument, speaks of the village history. Selomir has been a volunteer custodian of the monument for 20 years. The Čegar monument celebrates the great Serbian battle against the Turks where the famous military leader Stevan Sinđelić decided the battle by blowing up a gunpowder storage, killing himself as well as many Serbians and Turks. Selomir supports himself by selling food and refreshments to the visitors. He works when he is wanted.
50 to 100 village hunters go hunting every Sunday. We follow them on a hunt and try to find out who the best hunter is as there is a saying in Matejevac:
„It costs much to be called the best.“
There are carbines and other arms, various optic and communication equipment... and also famous hunting stories:
„I was alone and there come a wild boar and two sows – five of them in total!“
One in every two houses in the village has hunting dogs and there are always arguments over whose dogs are the best. Everyone has reasons to support their claims. Some claim Balkan hounds are the best, the other prefer Bosnian hounds... Anyway, we try to establish who the best hounds are.
One of the villagers is Draksa, a herbalist familiar with medicinal herbs that grows abundantly in the village area. He carefully collects them when the time is right. And the nicknames... The village is full of various nicknames: Kerba, Zoš, Keša, Trta, Šaća, Skublja... Everyone has a nickname... we reveal their background. Along with all these stories, there is a pervasive story in the background about giving back nationalized property to the villagers. They own 40 hectares of the city estates and they say if they get it back or recieve some money in compensation, they’ll be the richest people in the area and the women will come to the village on their own accord.
Between all these sequences we follow a song called „I’m going to marry the whole village, even if I regret it“ which is composed for the film and performed by Peca and his band. As the story about the video ads unfurls, we get to know the village during the film and we end it with the weddings. Until now, Peca has played at many weddings...
He might end this project with his own.