Presented by American Cinematheque, in collaboration with Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in Los Angeles, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, HAVC – Croatian Audiovisual Center, with support from E.L.M.A. (European Languages and Movies in America)
Only months after the Lumiere Brothers dazzled Paris with their tiny magical moving pictures, cinema arrived in the Croatian capital of Zagreb on October 3, 1896. Ever since, the Croatian film industry has persevered, and neither political, societal nor financial hurdles were able to silence the voices of Croatian filmmakers. Deeply rooted in the country’s national literature, Croatian films reflect Central European attitudes about artistic expression. Life is typically portrayed realistically and budgets are slim. In the 1990s, a new era of cinema emerged within a newly independent Croatia.
This year’s Kino Croatia new film series lineup includes first-time director Vlatka Vorkapić’s charming romantic sparring match SONJA AND THE BULL, Branko Schmidt’s chilling Oscar-nominee VEGETARIAN CANNIBAL, Tomislav Radić’s acclaimed domestic drama KOTLOVINA, Dražen Žarković’s hit family adventure THE MYSTERIOUS BOY and Igor Mirković’s seniors-on-the-road comedy NIGHT BOATS.
Opening Night, Friday 21 @ Egyptian Theatre: SONJA AND THE BULL (SONJA I BIK), 2012, Croatian Radiotelevision/HRT, 106 min. This romantic comedy, directed by first-timer Vlatka Vorkapić, is set in the world of bull fighting. An animal rights activist, Sonja (Judita Franković) is caught up in the battle to pass a bill making bull fighting illegal. Her work raises a red flag with a big-time fight organizer, who sends his insurance agent son (Goran Bogdan) to deal with the woman. A Croatian box office hit, SONJA AND THE BULL is a sexy and sweet look at tradition, differences and how opposites really do attract. Reception following.
Kino Croatia will continue at the Aero Theatre:
Saturday, June 22 –7:30 PM
NIGHT BOATS (NOĆNI BRODOVI). 2012, Studio Dim, 101 min. Dir. Igor Mirković. This delightful comedy approaches old age with a sense of optimism and hope. Anna Karic (Best Actress winner at the Pula Film Festival) plays Helena and Radko Polič plays Jakov, both residents of a dull retirement facility. When they fall head over heels for each other, they decide to run away from the dreary rest home to explore a life of adventure and romance in this charming crowd-pleaser.
VEGETARIAN CANNIBAL (LJUDOŽDER VEGETARIJANAC), 2012, Telefilm, 91 min. Dir. Branko Schmidt. The official Croatian nominee for the 2013 Academy Awards, this dark drama stars Rene Bitorajac as Danko Babić, a corrupt gynecologist at a high-end fertility clinic. Like some of the movies’ most notorious sociopaths, Babić masks his sinister side with innocent charm, doing whatever gets him more sex, power and money without regard for the suffering of others. An unflinching and unforgettable portrayal of a man utterly beyond redemption.
Sunday, June 23 – 5:00 PM
THE MYSTERIOUS BOY (ZAGONETNI DJEČAK), 2013, 2i Film, 88 min. Dir. Dražen Žarković. This hit family film succeeds both as a mystery and a coming-of-age tale. Fourteen-year old Koko (Antonio Parač) and his friends Tomo (Karlo Maloča) and Marijana (Vanja Markovinović) are intrigued by another student’s strange behavior. Always up for an adventure, the three investigate – only to discover that their new classmate’s secret is more disturbing than it initially appears.
Sunday, June 23 –7:30 PM
KOTLOVINA, 2011, Korugva, 120 min. Dir. Tomislav Radić. This family drama swept Croatia’s Pula Film Festival, taking home awards for Best Film, Screenplay, Actress, and more. As three sisters and their families reunite for the first time in many years, tensions, unspoken hurts, and political and moral disagreements bubble to the surface. While this layered and thought-provoking film touches on angry moments of conflict, it gives equal time to the quieter moments when people manage to connect despite their differences.