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FILMS / CRITIQUES Slovénie

Critique : It Was a Beautiful Day

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- Le premier long-métrage de Perica Rai, un thriller solide et bien interprété, met face à face citadines et péquenauds

Critique : It Was a Beautiful Day
Katarina Čas et Jure Henigman dans It Was a Beautiful Day

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

For a small country with, at least numbers-wise, a modest film-production scene, Slovenia has something of a tradition in indie films. Movies realised without support from the national cinema institutions tend to be braver in playing with genre-cinema tropes, sometimes resulting in better-than-average audience numbers. The latest example of this could be the debut feature by Perica Rai, It Was a Beautiful Day, which has just premiered at Grossmann’s Fantastic Wine and Film Festival in Ljutomer, Slovenia. National distribution later this year should be expected, as well as some exposure at international festivals specialised in genre cinema.

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The backstories of both the filmmaker and the film itself are quite interesting. Rai is not a trained filmmaker, and before getting into cinema, he worked as a police detective. He already has some shorts, music videos and TV documentaries under his belt. His debut feature spent ten years in production, switching genres from slasher-horror to backwoods thriller in the process. One more thing worth noting is that it is also one of the rare Slovenian (genre) films centred around female characters that could, like its predecessor, Maja Weiss’s Guardian of the Frontier (2002), send a message of empowerment.

Three friends – devoted family woman Manca (Katarina Čas, glimpsed in John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard [+lire aussi :
critique
bande-annonce
interview : John Michael McDonagh
fiche film
]
), party animal Iza (Tina Vrbnjak, usually active on television) and Taja (Ula Furlan, seen recently in another Slovenian indie flick, Something Sweet [+lire aussi :
critique
fiche film
]
) – meet at the latter’s weekend holiday home, located in a remote forest area. Their relationships are not perfect and their lifestyles might not be compatible, but they have been friends since secondary school, so meeting up every once in a while is a tradition for them. However, this meeting is something special, built around the secret that a fourth friend, Trina (Nina Ivanišin, of Slovenian Girl [+lire aussi :
bande-annonce
fiche film
]
fame), is also coming. Trina is a deeply traumatised woman who has trust issues with strangers, especially men, and as we can see in the flashbacks, Manca contributed to this years ago, so she feels particularly uneasy about meeting her.

After Trina’s car breaks down, she has no option but to ask the local mechanic (Janez Starina) for help, which he sees as an opportunity to relieve the city girl of any extra money she is carrying. Triggered by his crude remarks, Trina decides to run away without paying, which puts her at odds with the mechanic and his mute and aggressive daughter, and she only manages to give Taja some basic information about her situation before her phone battery dies. The rest of the girls decide to come to her aid, and so a game of cat and mouse between the city girls and the redneck clan (the third member of which is a hunter engaging in some strangely brutal practices, played by Jure Henigman) ensues.

The opening part gives the trio of actresses an opportunity to establish their characters and their dynamics, while Nina Ivanišin gives a one-woman show with her lived-in performance, and the “villains” are also serviceable in their varied menacing presences. Rai also uses the tool of flashbacks in a sure-handed manner, but the inclusion of a teaser for a possible sequel at the end might seem over the top. Vladan Janković’s camerawork captures the Slovenian woodlands in all their beauty and scariness, thereby contributing to the atmosphere, but the hand-held approach to the action sequences, which are also dimly lit and feel slightly rushed, is a telltale sign of a very modest budget. In the end, It Was a Beautiful Day is a solid debut by a filmmaker who certainly has a future in genre cinema.

It Was a Beautiful Day is a Slovenian production by Vertigo, in co-production with Mediaspot, NuFrame, 001 and Kreativist. It has been picked up for national distribution by Fivia.

(L'article continue plus bas - Inf. publicitaire)

(Traduit de l'anglais)

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