This year’s jubilee edition of the Pula Film Festival will be celebrated with the largest number of films in the National Programme ever! The well-deserved title of the longest-lived Croatian film festival and the most visited national world festival will be justified with a record of twenty-four films in the national programme. Fourteen films will be presented in the main section and ten more as co-productions with a minority Croatian share. The 60th Pula Film Festival kicked off on July 13 and the National Programme starts today (Saturday 20 July) with a premiere of comedy Handymen by Dalibor Matanić. The premiere of another comedy, Tomislav Mrsic’s Cowboys is going to wrap up the festival on July 27. With the dates slowly approaching and trailers for opening and closing films released, Croatia Week team brings you an overview of recent Croatian film production that is going to be screened this year in Pula.
Along with some recent Croatian films that have already had their cinema release like Vinko Bresan’s smashing hit The Priest’s Children (Svećenikova djeca, currently screening in the feature film competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival) and Drazen Zarkovic’s The Mysterious Boy (Zagonetni dječak), a family adventure and sequel to the box office hit Koko and the Ghosts, or their prestigious festival premieres like Bobo Jelcic’s A Stranger (Obrana i zaštita) that premiered at this year’s Berlinale, eleven Croatian films will have their long-awaited premieres in the Main Section of National Programme at the Pula Film Festival.
Croatian director Dalibor Matanic, whose dramedy The Cashier Wants to go on a Holiday (Blagajnica hoće ići na more, 2000) and drama Fine Dead Girls (Fine mrtve djevojke, 2002) are among the best films of the new millenia in Croatia, will present his new flick Handymen (Majstori) which will open the National Competition on 20 July. Handymen is centered around an unusual love triangle consisting of Keka (Areta Curkovic), a virtuoso housewife who suffers because of the lethargy of her marriage, clumsy handymen Ilija (Goran Bogdan) who generously court Keka and Keka’s husband Baja (Niksa Butijer), a concerned railway worker. Things get even more serious when Lujo, a untypical lonely fisherman-flirter enters this triangle. Besides being a filmmaker, Matanic is also a quite successful DJ (which explains a brilliant exploitation of the popular eighties song Dzeni nosi kecke by Daniel Popovic).
One of the Handymen stars, Nikša Butijer also plays the lead role in the thriller Not All About The Money (Nije sve u lovi) written and directed by Dario Pleic, who is, according to Croatian film Critic Nenad Polimac’s recent text in Globus, the first heir of the late thriller master Zoran Tadic. Film’s protagonists Robi and Ines, a young couple, have seven days to clear Robi’s debt to a loan shark or they will both be killed. When they meet a well-off banker Marko (Butijer) who could save them by lending them some money, Ines and Marko become close. In this mad race with time a romantic triangle of unusual emotions, lies and passions is created.
Croatian actor, playwright and film director Filip Sovagovic has wrapped up his long-awaited art comedy The Bug (Visoka modna napetost) which is now ready for its Pula premiere. The Bug is an island comedy revolving around Pero’s (Goran Navojec) efforts to change the status of his village into a town. In order to do so, he has to overcome some boundaries: raise the number of inhabitants from 99 to 100 and turn his villagers into citizens. Pero’s already complicated life and family situation gets even more complicated when a famous Italian fashion designer (Petar Miso Mihocevic) and his favourite model (Miran Kurspahic) come to town, turning Pero’s intentions to making their visit into a marketing opportunity for the village into a nightmare.
Among other domestic titles that will be screened in Pula is an out-of-the-competition omnibus Short Circuits (Kratki spojevi) directed by some of Croatia’s most talented young film makers Hana Jusic, Sonja Tarokic, Dario Jurican and Andrija Mardesic. Vis-aVis by young Nevio Marasovic, who proved himself as a serious director with the SF drama Show Must Go On, dark comedy Simon Magus (Simon Čudotvorac) by Petar Oreskovic, The Farewell (Oproštaj), a drama directed by Dan Oki, Projections (Projekcije) by Zrinko Ogresta, a drama that takes place during one of the sessions of a final-year group therapy programme, Hush, a drama based on a true story that deals with violence and suffering interwoven into generations of one family and One Shot (Hitac), a drama by Robert Orhel in which an accidental shot links the destinies of two young women.
The closing film of 60th Pula Film Festival is a comedy Cowboys (Kauboji) by Tomislav Mrsic, based on a hit Croatian theatre play by Sasa Anocic that was seen by more than 100,000 viewers, Cowboys focuses on eight people facing a lifetime opportunity to put on a theater production. The merry bunch then decide to take the opportunity, using a western as the genre.
The complete list of films in the National programme is available here.