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FESTIVALS Croatia

A Stranger Wins the Golden Arena in Pula

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- Among the other Croatian films recognised by the jury are the dramas Hush and Circles, a minority coproduction. The comedy Cowboys takes the Audience Award...

A Stranger Wins the Golden Arena in Pula

The Pula Film Festival is the most important in Croatia. It is also the oldest national festival in the world, and the most attended, with nearly 78,000 spectators celebrating this 60th edition in front of an impressive selection of national productions. Between the Croatian films and minority coproductions, it is no less than 24 films that competed for the Golden Arena in the national competition.

It is Circles (Krugovi) by Srdan Golubovic that wins the prize to the best minority coproduction (Croatia, France, Germany, Serbia, Slovenia) with, as a bonus, the prize for best direction and best male actor in the same category. Meanwhile, A Stranger (Obrana i zastita) is the happy winner of the Gran Golden Arena. “Happy”, that is, being a figure of speech given that Bobo Jelcic’s film, discovered in the Forum section of the Berlinale, is one of the heaviest dramas in the selection. It would seem, in fact, that the jury had decided to completely ignore the numerous comedies chosen by Zlatko Vidackovic (watch interview below) in his ninth year leading the artistic direction at Pula. We would take as proof the quasi total division of awards between two dramas deemed difficult by the audience: A Stranger (script, direction, artistic direction, photography, best actor for Bogdan Diklic, best actress for Nada Durevska, best film and best FEDEORA film) and Hush [+see also:
trailer
interview: Tihana Lazovic
film profile
]
(Suti)
, Lukas Nola’s film, which, by default of pleasing the greater audience (which also massively deserted A Stranger's public screening) earned the actress Tihana Lazovic the Breza Award for best prospect while Lana Baric was recompensed with the award for best actress in a supporting role. The film, inspired in a true story combining incest, infanticide, and other violent gaieties, also received awards for sound, make-up, music, and editing.

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The excellent comedy The Priest’s Children, discovered in Karlory Vary, is the exception that proves the rule with a single award, that for best actor in a supporting role for Niksa Butijer.

In this first year of Croatia’s entry in the EU, Pula will have been the best occasion for getting a sense of the national production, with the support of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre but also with the return of television in audiovisual funding. The festival actually opened the competition with a televised production, the unequal comedy Handymen (Majstori) by Dalibor Matanic, logically absent from the podium.

Nevertheless, since 2010, the festival in Pula had already been largely open to European productions in a reserved competition: Europolis. This year, it’s Antoinette Beumer’s Jackie [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
which was chosen best European film. The jury likewise recognised Bernardo Bertolucci with the best direction award for Me & You [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 (Io e te).

Cineuropa’s favorite, Nevio Marasovic’s Vis-à-vis, will have to content itself with the young cinephiles jury award, which brings a salutary break from the dramatic approach chosen by the official jury.

The public likewise distinguishes itself from the jury, offering its award to Tomislav Mršić’s comedy, Cowboys [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(Kauboji)
, an adaptation of the eponym play that was enormously popular in Croatia.

All awards and official motivation by the jury are on Pula International Film Festival's website.

 

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(Translated from French)

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