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ZAGREBDOX 2024

Recensione: Beautiful Lovely People

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- Il documentario di Igor Mirković segue un fotografo di provincia con un'idea potente e i suoi follower per un lungo periodo di tempo

Recensione: Beautiful Lovely People

Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.

Although, as a filmmaker, Igor Mirković has tried his hand at many types and formats of cinema, such as short and feature-length fiction films, as well as long-running TV series, it seems that he feels most at home with documentaries, given that New Time (2001) and Happy Child (2003) are regarded as the best works of his career. His newest foray into documentary filmmaking, Beautiful Lovely People, comes only a couple of months after the release of his latest fiction feature, Sweet Simona [+leggi anche:
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, and the two movies have a couple of things in common. Both were prepared over an extensive period of time, and both, at least tangentially, deal with the notion of our times and our lives changing because of the influence of technology. Beautiful Lovely People has just premiered in the regional competition of ZagrebDox.

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The protagonist, Šime Strikoman, is a small-town photographer who invented the concept of Millennium Photography. At first, this was just a simple series of large-scale photos taken at the turn of the millennium, but the concept evolved and widened quickly to encompass photographing, for instance, all of the members of a certain generation in a certain town, visitors at different festivities, participants and followers of certain traditions, fans of a certain football club celebrating its 100th anniversary, fans of Croatian national teams from different sports celebrating their successes, and even such oddities as a chain of fishing boats crossing a stretch of water from the mainland to one of the islands. All of his photos are composed beautifully, arranged with care and usually taken from a crane or, in extreme cases, from a helicopter.

Šime is something of a local hero and a national curiosity, so he has some devoted followers whom we are about to meet in Mirković’s documentary. His wife, Edita, is his most loyal sidekick. His neighbour Pero is the record holder for the number of Millennium Photos he appears in. Cezar serves as the master of ceremonies, Željka is the chronicler of the project, while marketing expert Professor Gardijan puts it into the context of our rapidly changing world.

Šime expresses an ambition to transcend national borders and try to promote the concept, for instance, in Pamplona, around its traditional bull run, but the passing of time presents new challenges while also offering new inspiration.

Presented like this, filmed in usually warm, clear, summery colours by cinematographer Silvestar Kolbas, and accompanied by music of different genres, with a predominance of folk beats and pop tunes, one might assume that Beautiful Lovely People is a calculated piece of nostalgia cinema laced with some common nuggets of everyday “philosophy” about time passing by too quickly and making us feel obsolete. While it does feel light-hearted and does not outstay its welcome (thanks to Iva Ivan’s tight editing), Mirković still manages to weave in some more complex questions about times changing and traditions being created, followed, abandoned and revived (sometimes quite purposefully).

The most intriguing details of this documentary are probably the “Easter eggs” that may be spotted only by those who are acquainted with Croatian politics. These insights lead us to ponder whether those beautiful, lovely (and deluded) people, and their traditions, are really that beautiful and lovely after all – and if not, whether they could ever be made to be that way.

Beautiful Lovely People is a Croatian production by Motovun Film Festival.

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