IN FOCUS: DOMESTIC PREMIERES
Zoran Tadić’s The Third Woman
An analytical review of the new film, a postmodernist »remake« of Green/Reed The Third Man, by Zoran Tadić.
The impressive succession
of Zoran Tadić’s films in the eighties (concluded with
his weakest work Eagle, 1990) has placed him among
the most crucial Croatian filmmakers. After 7 year break
he reemerged with the film The Third Woman (Treća
žena, 1997), a film atypical for him. Though his films
have always had a suggestion of this or that genre frame
(thriller, horror, hints of fantastic) they were basically
socio-ethical, existentialist dramas, concerned with a
serious investigation of different aspects of human existence,
meditative in nature, with metaphysical hints. Though Tadić
has kept this pro-genre orientation in The Third Woman,
he did it now in a completely different manner: as an intertextual,
metafilm game, not as a means of an existential analysis.
He took over the Reed’s film, transferred it into the recent
wartime Zagreb, changed the gender of the main characters
and infused it with the current socio-ethical messages.
Unlike de Palma, who has been successfully doing the same
thing over and over again, Zoran Tadić, unfortunately,
was not up to this intertextual task.
Basically, he did
not succeed in a reconstruction of the motivation network
within the new situational coordinates, and the consequence
was a lack of persuasiveness of the narrative flow of the
film, and some dilettante narrative solutions. Some hinted
complex motivational solution (latent sexually based psychoanalytical
bondage between the two basic female characters — the one
in the Joseph Cotton’s role, and the other in the Orson
Welles’s role) were not developed. Though seriously flowed, The
Third Woman is not so bad film as a rumor says. The
plot is still interesting, the photography is a good one,
the direction is correct though not up to the Tadić’s best
abilities, and there is a surprising and witty ending.
Anyway, it would be better for Tadić to continue work in
the manner he proved to be good at.