Goran: A dark comedy about betrayal and vengeance
by Paraskevi Karageorgu
- At the 14th Zagreb Film Festival, acclaimed Croatian director Nevio Marasovic presented his third feature film, about one man’s struggle with doubt and suspicion
At the 14th Zagreb Film Festival, acclaimed Croatian director Nevio Marasovic (The Show Must Go On, Vis-à-Vis [+see also:
interview: Nevio Marasovic & Rakan Rus…
film profile]) has presented his third feature, Goran [+see also:
interview: Nevio Marasović
film profile], which was screened in the gathering’s “Together Again” competition programme. The film does not really fit into one specific genre, being a mixture of drama, thriller and dark comedy, and firmly establishes Marasovic's distinctive voice, making him a must-see underground filmmaker exploring a wide range of topics.
The suspense already begins to take hold in the opening scene: on a sunny winter's day, we see the Croatian coast and some beautiful red, wavy hair, leading to a close-up of a man with a beaten-up face. Immediately afterwards, the film introduces the dark, mountainous region of Gorski Kotar, covered in heavy snow, and follows Goran (Franjo Dijak) in his two most important relationships: his marriage to his blind wife, Lina (Nataša Janjić), and his friendship with Slavko (Goran Bogdan). The seemingly carefree and idyllic life of the protagonist is slowly revealed, but the murky and unsettling scenery haunts the viewer, instilling the feeling that something horrible is about to happen. Even though the natural setting is vast, its dark nature and the small number of characters depicted in this remote village create a tiny and suffocating universe. When Goran finds out about his wife’s betrayal, his struggle with self-doubt and suspicion will make him an innocent victim of circumstance, and this will severely affect the lives of everyone around him. Family and best friends turn against each other when the shallowness of their relationships is revealed, and brutal (and absurd) violence turns out to be the best way to resolve the characters’ frustrations. The film, with its brave visual approach, portrays a tormented conscience consumed by the primal human instinct for vengeance. For his performance as Goran, Dijak received the Best Actor Award at the Fantasia International Film Festival.
The unpredictable script is the fruit of the collaboration between Marasovic and Norwegian screenwriter and novelist Gjermund Gisvold. The central subject of betrayal and revenge is embellished with a sharp comic touch, inspired by customs and traditions from Croatian culture, or by the simple absurdities of life. A considerable contribution to this aspect of the film's tone comes from the sound mix, with one of the best moments being ahouse-party scene where electronic music is interrupted by a popular Yugoslav song from the 1960s.
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