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FILMS Croatia/Slovenia/Serbia/Montenegro/UK

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Life Is a Trumpet: Normal people with everyday problems

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- Antonio Nuić’s third outing is a nice Christmas movie for nice people

Life Is a Trumpet: Normal people with everyday problems

In the last couple of years, some Balkan filmmakers have started making movies that do not deal with the scars of war, social hardships or criminal issues, instead showing everyday life in a realistic way, and focusing on the middle class. A few such examples are this year’s Bosnian Oscar hopeful Our Everyday Life [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ines Tanović
film profile
]
, 2013’s Sarajevo Cineuropa Award winner With Mom [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Faruk Loncarevic
film profile
]
and this year’s Panama [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Serbian director Pavle Vućković. From Croatia this year, we have the third feature film by Antonio Nuić, Life Is a Trumpet [+see also:
trailer
film focus
interview: Antonio Nuić
film profile
]
.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Nuic’s last film, Donkey [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, was an intense and dark family story set in rural Herzegovina in the summer of 1995, when the Yugoslav War was spilling over from Croatia to Bosnia. In Life Is a Trumpet, the writer-director opts for present-day Zagreb and a middle-class family.

Bura (Bojan Navojec, from Just Between Us [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and Children of Sarajevo [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Aida Begić
film profile
]
), a 35-year-old trumpet player with a jazz-rock fusion band, and his pregnant girlfriend Jana (Iva Babić, in her first big role after appearing in We Will Be the World Champions [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
and Vegetarian Cannibal [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) are getting married. The wedding expenses will be covered by Bura’s parents, Zdravko (veteran actor Zlatko Vitez, not seen on the big screen since 2003's Infection) and Marija (Mirela Brekalo Popović, last seen in The Reaper [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Zvonimir Jurić
film profile
]
). Jana’s folks, Slaven (regional star Filip Šovagović) and Klara (Ksenija MarinkovićJust Between Us), offer to chip in, but to no avail. Zdravko owns a slaughterhouse, and the family business is successful and stable. His elder son Dragec (Goran Navojec, Bojan’s real-life brother, most recently seen in A Perfect Day [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Fernando León de Aranoa
film profile
]
and In Order of Disappearance [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Hans Petter Moland
film profile
]
) is the company director.

Zdravko’s present to the newlyweds is Bura’s piece of the family business – a large sum – despite the fact that the younger son is not interested in butchery. It seems like a perfect start for the couple. However, Marija, who takes care of the company books and family accounts, discovers that €40,000 are missing. It turns out that Dragec has been taking money to cover his gambling debt to the company's accountant, Piko (Filip Križan, seen this year in You Carry Me [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ivona Juka
film profile
]
). And worse still, Marija finds an old cheque for a large sum sent to Piko’s mother, who used to work for Zdravko. This gives her the idea that Piko is Zdravko’s illegitimate son, and so she decides to move in with Bura and Jana. 

Bura turns over his money to Dragec, which means he has to find a proper job. Of course, a position for an unskilled labourer is open for him in the family abattoir. The whole situation will come to a climax and be resolved at the Christmas party at Bura and Jana’s place. 

The tone of the film is light and bright, and the characters’ problems are realistic but treated as just a normal part of life. The society that the characters belong to is one of decency and culture, incorporating the kind of people who can at least grasp the concept of “jazz-rock fusion”. This is a nice film for nice people, quality Christmas family fare (though not for very young children) that will leave audiences in a good mood without insulting their intelligence. 

The city of Zagreb and the affectionate way it is treated by Nuić (who was born in Sarajevo) is key to achieving this atmosphere. DoP Radislav Jovanov Gonzo, one of Croatia’s top music-video directors, gives it a decidedly urban touch, supported by a feel-good soundtrack featuring popular music belonging to both generations represented in the film.

The movie world-premiered recently at the Warsaw Film Festival and will be released in Croatia on 1 December. It is a co-production between Croatia's Propeler Film, Slovenia's Staragara, Serbia's Baš Čelik, Montenegro's Artikulacija, and the UK's Film and Music Entertainment

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