Murina, a riveting new coming-of-age drama

Cliff Curtis and Gracija Filipovic in Murina.
Image: Antitalent

Coming-of-age movies established at seaside locales are virtually their individual subgenre by now, but rarely are they as intoxicatingly existing as Murina. Croatian director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović’s debut element (which won the Digital camera d’Or for Ideal Very first Film at Cannes final calendar year) plunges us into the head of a teenage girl battling to absolutely free herself from her domineering father, and it does so by immersing us in the quick physical world encompassing her. Among the other issues, it’s a film about the lapping of waves on the shore, about the roar of boat engines, about the way the rocks and crags of the Dalmatian coast discuss to the uncontainable restlessness of youth.

When we initial fulfill Julija (Gracija Filipović), she and her father Ante (Leon Lučev) are out spearfishing morays (“murina”). The brash, impatient Ante thinks almost nothing of bellowing orders and pushing his daughter out of the way any time he thinks she’s undertaking a thing completely wrong. His aggression can manifest as boisterousness or enthusiasm, and a single can see how in smaller doses Ante may well feel charming to outsiders. But for his family, residing with him is a lot more a reign of terror. Julija’s compliant, fatigued mother, Nela (Danica Curcic), desperately appears ahead to the several times when Ante may well be in a fantastic mood.

The daughter is the 1 accomplishing the increasing up below, but there is one thing fundamentally childish about the father as properly. As played by the veteran Croatian actor Lučev, Ante has anxious, hungry eyes and a predatory grimace. He’s a patriarch who principles about practically nothing, substituting rage for electrical power – which proficiently can make him a pathetic, overgrown toddler. This gentleman views all the things as a dare: A reminder from his daughter that their boat at the time got ruined when he tried to steer it among two large rocks is a challenge to endeavor it once more. Ante could take into account this delight, but to anyone else, it feels like juvenile boastfulness. We’ve all regarded folks like this, and a single of the far more heartbreaking facets of Murina is the deep chasm in between the way Ante sees himself and the way he’s found by people closest to him.

The father’s attitude obviously puts him on a crash training course with his daughter, who has just begun to assert her independence. In sharp contrast to Lucev’s chatty, upper body-thumping vanity, Filipovic maintains a silent, rigorous target on everything around her — just about like a captive waiting around for the suitable opportunity to escape. And the girl finds an prospect with the arrival of Javier (Cliff Curtis), a gazillionaire family mate checking out for the very first time in several years, who arrives with claims to enable Julija get into Harvard, wherever he’s endowed a library.

Seeing her mother and father with Javier, Julija glimpses paths not taken and lives still left unlived. It’s very clear that Javier was at the time in love with Nela, and that his friendship with Ante has had its share of pressure above the several years. Sensing this, Julija develops a nearer relationship with Javier (even referring to him as her father at just one issue) while also hoping to engineer a rekindling of his enthusiasm for her mother. In the girl’s intellect, it should not acquire too considerably hard work to escape with her mother and Javier to forge a new family members, leaving Ante guiding. It’s a child’s absurd extravagant, to be absolutely sure, but inside of the heated immediacy of the motion picture, it would make some twisted emotional feeling. Kusijanović conveys all this as a result of the way her actors move in opposition to and look at just one another. That is filmmaking of the highest buy — intimate and gripping.

For his component, Ante has a 50 percent-baked system about convincing Javier to invest in significant blocks of land so they can open a vacation resort for Italian travelers alongside one another — a vacation resort in which Julija will, of system, have to work ultimately. “Dreams die in paradise,” the infinitely affected person Javier tells Ante, making an attempt to influence him to permit the female go abroad to analyze. That line could be the governing aesthetic of the film. The configurations of Murina are undoubtedly wonderful, but Kusijanović avoids the siren get in touch with of the picturesque. The sea is metal blue, the terrain arid and lunar the landscape has been stripped of risk. Even the expertly-shot underwater sequences have a odd, surreal desolation to them only all those haunted, serpentine morays feel to exist in this barren blue world. (We see practically no other fish.) The daughter’s desires can not be contained by this spare shoreline, although the father’s desires have curdled listed here into empty grandiosity. The whole area is suffocated of everyday living. And nonetheless, somehow, the image itself is splendidly alive.

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