QUIT STARING AT MY PLATE
NE GLEDAJ MI U PIJAT
2016, 105 min, Croatia, Dir: Hana Jušić

Echoing early Todd Solondz and Aki Kaurismäki, this humanist character study never wallows in its depressive subject matter or misses a chance for mordant humor. Mia Petričević stars as a 24-year-old woman who becomes the sole breadwinner for her poverty-stricken family after its patriarch has a stroke. Ultimately a tale of interdependence and our protagonist’s sexual awakening and newfound freedom from generational, psychological and physical abuse, PLATE serves up a uniquely nonjudgmental and compelling story of how we’re all just trying to survive and find happiness as best we can. Winner of six awards at the Pula Film Festival, including Best Director and Best Actress.


HANDYMEN
MAJSTORI
2013, HRT/Croatian Radiotelevision, 75 min, Croatia, Dir: Dalibor Matanić

Though housewife Keka (Areta Ćurković) feels her marriage to Baja (Nikša Butijer) may be out of steam, the attentions of inept handyman Ilija (Goran Bogdan) are little consolation. After a warring Baja and Ilija practically destroy her home, Keka escapes to a coastal village, where a third man (Bojan Navojec) enters the picture. As in his earlier CASHIER WANTS TO GO TO THE SEASIDE, writer-director Matanić mines plenty of humor from these characters’ mundane lives, including some wonderful slapstick sequences. In Croatian with English subtitles.


THE PRIEST’S CHILDREN
SVEĆENIKOVA DJECA
2013, InterFilm, 93 min, Croatia, Dir: Vinko Brešan

Catholic priest Don Fabijan (Krešimir Mikić) is distressed to see his island parish shrinking in population, so he enlists a condom vendor (Nikša Butijer) and a pharmacist (Dražen Kuhn) to sabotage birth control methods - a plan that produces quite a few unintended complications. Working with frequent collaborators including writer-composer Mate Matišić, director Vinko Brešan handles a touchy subject with humor that shifts from whimsical to sardonic, making this comedic cautionary tale one of the year’s biggest box office hits in Croatia. In Croatian with English subtitles.


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