‘murina’ Assessment: A Sinister, Sunny Croatian Coming-of-ager Makes For An Remarkable Debut


If Patricia Highsmith had ever written a coming-of-age story set on the rocky, clear-watered Croatian coastline, it’d have appeared lots like Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović’s vibrant, brooding debut, “Murina,” which quietly, with a sinister Adriatic sparkle, makes the compelling case that even with out labyrinthine homicide plots or tough-bitten personal eyes, a young girl’s passage into adulthood can be the ideal, darkly spectacular automobile for a sunshine noir.

As at home inside the water as out of it — in fact the sea is maybe her safe haven from greater risky currents of life on land — Julija (Gracija Filipovic) is the lithe, surly teenage daughter of beautiful, sad, trapped Nela (Danica Curcic). The important source of hysteria in the circle of relatives is Julija’s controlling, domineering father, Ante (Leon Lucev), the extent of whose abusiveness is hard to gauge, however who without a doubt expects submission and obedience of his womenfolk, and who diminishes Julija and scorns any aims she would possibly have for some thing however the destiny he has planned for her. Julija is beginning to bristle below his despotic rule over the secluded cove in which they stay their frugal lives. Kusijanović and Frank Graziano’s sharply observant script, delivered to scintillating life by using DP Hélène Louvart’s gorgeously stopped-down, moody cinematography, is specifically attuned to the torpor and frustrations of dwelling ordinary life in an area a passing tourist may mistake for paradise.

Julija’s rebel manifests in small methods. She sulks about having to move spearfishing with Ante, and whilst he has her recite a poem as an entertainment for his guests, she deliberately omits the road wherein she must beg the sea to go back her voyaging father to her. But the chafing also encroaches on her relationship together with her mother, whom Julija seems to blame for being with Ante in any respect. “You’ll simply wear some thing he tells you to anyway,” she snaps contemptuously as Nela tries to select an outfit for the night meal Ante has organized, at which Julija herself, a good deal to her seen soreness, can be compelled to wear a dress instead of her widespread ensemble of simple bathing fit and salt-mussed hair.

The Electra-complex undercurrents simplest get more potent with the appearance of the charismatic, wealthy Javier (Cliff Curtis), an old associate of Ante’s who also has a romantic history with Nela. Julija doesn’t seem to know if she’s attracted to Javier as a potential lover or as a capability father parent — she both encourages her mother to return his glaring enchantment and pursues opportunities to be alone with him herself — but it’s clean that for her, he symbolizes break out, and the bigger lifestyles that she’s positive lies in look forward to her just over the blue horizon.

“Murina” is rife with symbolism, however it’s a mark of Kusijanović’s command — an magnificent first-class for a first-time function director — that the ordinary motifs and metaphors are worn so lightly and feel so natural to the movie’s microcosmic universe. The moray fish that gives the movie its identify, for example, isn’t always handiest a nearby delicacy for which Ante and Julija regularly move looking; it is also a solitary, territorial species, with sharp teeth and a chew that may be toxic to people. The ocean, too, holds contradictory meanings that tug at the edges of the movie just like the tides: The glistening expanse shot by way of Louvart as though it have been its personal dwelling entity with changeable moods and capricious persona, is Julija’s freedom, however it’s also her prison. And like her overbearing father, it presents for her even as being eternally, powerfully risky.

All this surroundings, the evocative sound layout and the occasional dreamlike underwater series make what is quite a Spartan, truely plotted movie sense whole, sleekly changeable in one of a kind mild, like an eel. The uniformly tremendous solid breathe life into characters who would possibly at the page appear underdeveloped, with the two ladies outlining a uniquely ordinary and strained mom-daughter bond (“One day you may understand all I do for you,” Nela says cryptically to Julija in an uncommon flash of temper). And the two guys, buddies who’re definitely rivals for alpha popularity, come to be representative of the differently poisonous masculinities that outline the patriarchal person global that Julija is set to enter, and wherein Nela has lived for see you later: the man who comes wreathed within the glamour of promises he will in no way maintain after which disappears, as opposed to the person who promises nothing however domination and cruelty however remains the course. It is, in this stretch of sunny, spooky, glittery coastline, a preference between the devil and the deep blue sea.elective screen readerRead More About:


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