The Constitution is set in contemporary Zagreb in a large apartment building which has definitely seen better days. Its the tale of 4 of its inhabitants who have been neighbors for several years, but have been careful to remain complete strangers to each other.
On one floor in a very spacious apartment lives Vjeko Kralj (Nebojsa Glogovac) a 60-something-year-old a relatively affluent schoolteacher. By day he leads a highly disciplined life between teaching and caring for his elderly senile father, but at night he dons women’s clothing and hits the local bars.
Downstairs in a very cramped small apartment lives Maja Samardzic (Ksenija Marinkovic) a middle-aged nurse with her policeman husband (Dejan Acimovic) who struggle to make ends meet each week. Their paths never cross with the teacher until one night he is brutally attacked by a bunch of homophobic thugs, and he is brought into the hospital where Maja is on duty.
Now that Vjeko is temporary unable to be his father’s carer, Maja takes over the role, and in return she asks that Vjeko helps her dyslexic husband study for a exam on the Croatian Constitution that he needs to pass to be promoted to Sergeant. The two men do not get along well at all as asides from their different social backgrounds, the policeman is Serbian whilst Vjeko is a Croat, and there is still no love lost between these two nationalities.
The odd part is that Vjeko is not just openly gay but he shares extreme right-wing views with his father who was a a former member of the pro-Nazi Ustahses in WW2. The policeman is really offended by the teacher’s bigotry, and when he finds that nothing has officially been done about the attack, he takes it upon himself to investigate and bring the culprits to justice to prove that all Serbs are simply not as bad as charged.
There is also a slightly odd side plot that muddies the water slightly as it is about a local psychopath who has been planting dog sausages with glass in them all over town, and the Policeman is worried about his pet poodle which is his child substitute.
The intriguing movie is directed and co-written by Award-winning Croatian filmmaker Rajko Grlic, and is unusual for the fact that the anger and hatred directed as ethnic Serbs seem to be worse than the physical violence meted out to an LGBT person. His extremely talented cast made up of experienced local veteran actors do an exacting job portraying the resentment that seems like it will never ever dissipate completely even if the fighting has ceased. The story may not be subtle but it is nevertheless totally compelling, making this a really enjoyable unusual view.