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Idyll: A butchered but effective horror film


- The unexpected winner of the Best Slovenian Film Award is an effective horror film by first-time writer, director and editor Tomaž Gorkič

Idyll: A butchered but effective horror film
Jurij Drevenšek and Lotos Vincenc Šparovec in Idyll

The 18th Festival of Slovenian Film in Portorose ended with an unexpected victory for Tomaž Gorkič's Idyll [+see also:
film profile
(see the news). The fact that the jury chose a clear B-horror movie for the country's film of the year over Montreal title Šiška De Luxe [+see also:
film profile
by Jan Cvitkovič, the critics' favourite Case: Osterberg, or audience-pleasers Julija and Alfa Romeo and The Beat of Love speaks more about the relations within its industry than about the film itself – especially as last year, all the awards went to a documentary (A Fight for) and a short student film (Springtime Sleep). 

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However, this is not to say that Idyll is not an effective film despite its shortcomings. If the first-time feature-film writer, director and editor aimed to scare and disgust, he has succeeded in more than one instance over the course of the film's slim 83-minute running time. If he, however, also wanted to create suspense, he fell short largely due to obvious inexperience in the editing department. 

The hero of the film, Zina (Nina Ivanišin, who marvellously debuted in Slovenian Girl [+see also:
film profile
), is a model who goes for a photo shoot in the green Slovenian mountains with another girl, Mia (Nika Rozman), a photographer with a strangely spelled nickname, Blitcz (Sebastian Cavazza), and make-up artist Dragica (Manca Ogorevc).

They are soon abducted by a pair of local hillbillies who do not only act, but look like monsters. Franci (Lotos Vincenc Šparovec) is a corpulent fellow in traditional irharce (the Slovenian version of lederhosen) with half of his face burned and in blisters, while his sidekick Vintlr (Jurij Drevenšek) is a slobbering giant with a disfigured nose and chin, who wants to "show the whores what a real man looks like". 

Franci and Vintlr take the four, after little resistance, into the makeshift catacombs that they inhabit, and quickly do away with Blitcz. Then they take Dragica and plug her into some complicated apparatus for brewing rakija, using a long needle it is unclear if they only use the blood, or also brain and/or spinal cord matter.

Zina and Mia will fight them with all their might, but the director treats his characters almost sadistically, so no real happy ending is ever to be expected – although Zina's spirit gives the viewer a measure of hope.

The film follows all the conventions of its genre, combining “lost in the woods” and The Hills Have Eyes/The Texas Chainsaw Massacre approaches. The director makes sure to include enough irony, but fails to offer a more substantial social commentary.

The actresses do what they can with their thin roles, as is obvious from the performance of the otherwise more than reliable Ivanišin.

But the biggest pitfall of the film is the editing – Gorkič manages to ruin whatever tension he has built up through not only illogical, but also rather nonsensical cutting. In the hands of a more experienced editor, Idyll might have been more than a passing curio as the “first Slovenian horror ever”. 

Idyll was co-produced by Blade Production, Strup Production and NuFrame.

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