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Contemporary Slovenian Film

Special program at Pula 2004

In accordance with a praiseworthy idea of Pula Film Festival organizers to present the cinemas of neighbouring countries, contemporary Slovenian cinematography chosen by Jelka Stergel, a selector of LIFE in Ljubljana. The interested viewers could find out about general topical and stylistic guidelines of this, in recent years, prosperous and internationally acknowledged cinematography. Young Slovenian directors primarily speak about the problems of modern urban youth that is close to them in age and simplest to carry through technically, showing different levels of stylistic abilities. Janez Burger whose film Idle Running is already familiar to Croatian audience is the most successful in this approach is, and a somewhat lower achievement was Janez Lapaj’s film Rustling Landscapes and Igor Šterk’s in Ljubljana. The weakest impression was made by Guardian of the Frontier, the first Slovenian feature film directed by a woman (Maja Weiss), in which the aspiration for psychological defining of heroines is clumsily connected to the motives from Boorman’s Liberation. Franci Slak, the oldest of the directors whose films were shown, in A Portrait of a Poet and his Double, deals with a biographical topic (life of a romantic poet Franc Prešern) from national cultural history. But the two films that won important international tributes made the best impression. Cvitkovič’s social drama Bread and milk (awarded in Venice 2001) deals with an alcoholic whose return from the rehabilitation clinic results in a family tragedy, and Damjan Kozole directed a remarkable film Spare Parts (official program of Berlinale 2003) that follows a group of smuggling refugees from Croatian to Italian-Slovenian border. Full-blooded characters, emotionally elaborated relationships and effective narration characterize their films. The review of contemporary Slovenian film convinced us that the Slovenians have some fantastic films, but also that the whole story is blown out of proportion in marketing terms. On the whole, Slovenian films do not show a considerable difference in relation to recent Croatian films. Nevertheless, maybe Croatian filmmakers, who still have problems with effective presentation and distribution of their films, could learn something from their Slovenian colleagues.

Elvis Lenić

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