All through Murina, the to start with element by Croatian director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic and winner of the Caméra d’Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Pageant, Ante (Leon Lucev) oscillates between remaining terrifying and hilarious. His outbursts to guard his pleasure and superiority about his 17-12 months-outdated daughter Julija (Gracija Filipovic) are often so explosive as to be laughable. But her reactions to his impulses maintain the audience in suspense. Could it be that he seriously usually means his insults and stands by his vicious contempt for her? Julija has no preference but to endure her father’s control and threats every single moment of each and every day on the wonderful but isolated island they simply call household. With each dawn, she has to accompany him to hunt the murina (eel), constantly at his service.
Kusijanovic expertly breaks down the compelled servitude and the brutal familial mechanisms of this distinct sort of patriarchy. To this author, whose individual father grew up in the Balkans, these machismo and ruthlessness is all as well common, however Ante is considerably additional intense (thankfully). When Kusijanovic is not pursuing an anthropological or socio-historical venture, her tale can make clear the inferiority elaborate that usually prospects gentlemen in the location, still suffering from its war wounds and shame, to develop hypocritical defenses towards their own weakness and vulnerability. When Javier (a sensitive and charming Cliff Curtis), an outdated family members buddy and millionaire, visits to possibly purchase the land from Ante and drastically support the household financially, Julija witnesses her father lose all self-respect to remember to him. Next to Ante, Javier seems a beacon of reality and tenderness. And subsequent to Julija’s mom Nela (Danica Curcic), whom Javier admits he used to have a crush on, he appears to be like like a a great deal extra suitable husband or wife, at the very least in Julija’s eyes. For the initial time, she witnesses a partnership exactly where obligations of care and psychological openness are not reserved for the lady. Javier is at once the father and the lover that Julija never ever experienced, so constrained and repressed are all her normal instincts for link and enjoy in this ecosystem.
As Ante shrinks more and far more in entrance of Javier, driven by his desperation to move up in culture and really feel greater about himself, and as her own mother retains patiently tolerating his arrogance, Julija acknowledges that all her lifestyle, her father has made use of her to fill some void and have somebody to stand on, and that she deserves better. Her emancipation is significantly extra complex and serious than the stereotypical and gendered variety that flicks are inclined to depict. Her oppressor works by using her femininity as an excuse, when what he is actually focusing on is her organic need to have for independence. And not like most coming-of-age tales, Murina is not worried to faucet into the deep wells of despair and loneliness that normally come with development. Kusijanovic toes the line between classical epic tragedy and a much more reasonable type of drama, with a type that is watchful but direct. She’s aided by the delicate cinematography of Hélène Louvart, who frames Julija like a sea creature, a lot more relaxed in the depths wherever only she can go, but often on your own.
Murina opens in find theaters July 8.