Kino Croatia: New Films April 13-15, at the Aero Theatre


Presented in collaboration with Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in Los Angeles, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs , HAVC – Croatian Audiovisual Center and Ministry of Culture, with support from E.L.M.A. (European Languages and Movies in America).

Only months after the Lumiere Brothers dazzled Paris with their tiny magical moving pictures, cinema arrived in the Croatian capital of Zagreb on October 3, 1896. More than a century later, the Croatian film industry has persevered, and neither political, societal nor financial hurdles were able to silence the voices of Croatian filmmakers. In 1961, Croatia’s first Academy Award went to animated short “The Substitute” (Surogat) by Dušan Vukotic. The honor brought worldwide acclaim to the Zagreb School of Animation, which utilized a new aesthetic, based on avant-garde abstract painting, constructivism and cubism.

Deeply rooted in the country’s national literature, Croatian films reflect Central European attitudes about artistic expression. Life is typically portrayed realistically and budgets are slim. In the 1990s, after the Homeland War, a new era of cinema emerged within a newly independent Croatia. The new generation – Brešan, Ogresta, Salaj, Nola, Schmidt, Hribar, Ostojic, Matanic – used cinema not only to express their own dramatic experiences during the war, but to deliver a portrait of contemporary life in a newly independent country. Since then, even more strident and modern filmmakers have emerged, such as Svilicic and Marasovic. This year’s New Croatian Cinema series lineup includes Croatian box-office hit and family adventure KOKO AND THE GHOSTS, directed by Daniel Kusan; Rajko Grlic’s farcical romantic comedy romp JUST BETWEEN US; Nevio Marasovic’s debut feature about the world’s last reality show, THE SHOW MUST GO ON; Branko Ivanda’s LEA AND DARIJA, a moving drama about a friendship between teenage ballerinas on the eve of World War II; and Vinko Bresan’s kinky black comedy WILL NOT STOP THERE.

 Series compiled by Gwen Deglise, Margaux Magis, Branko Lustig and Matko B. Malinger. In-person guests joining us during this series include director Nevio Marasovic and Daniel Kusan, composer Zeljko Marasovich, and producer Branko Lustig. Adapted from Branka Somen’s text, translated by Ziggy Mrkich. Additional program notes by Margaux Magis and Beth Hanna.

Aero Theatre • Fri, April 13 – Sun, April 15
Fri, April 13 – 7:30pm  Aero Theatre
Double Feature! Nevio Marasovic & Zeljko Marasovich In Person!
Discussion between films with director Nevio Marasovic and composer Zeljko Marasovich (THE SHOW MUST GO ON).

2010, 80 min, Croatia, Dir: Nevio Marasovic
In the near future, successful TV producer Filip (Sven Medvesek) has just launched a reality show focusing on the lives of six couples living together, a direct competitor to his ex-wife’s higher-rated news show. When the much-speculated World War III breaks out, Filip hides the international news from his sequestered contestants, who continue with their sheltered on-set lives as if nothing has happened. Filip suddenly finds himself with a massively popular escapist TV show on his hands, and must grapple with the slippery morals that go along with it while trying to protect his son from the harsh realities of war. In Croatian with English subtitles.

2010, 87 min, Croatia, Dir: Rajko Grlic
Wealthy philanderer Nikola (Miki Manojlovic) is married to Anamarija (Daria Lorenci), the ex-girlfriend of his equally philandering brother, Braco (Bojan Navojec). Deeply resentful of his brother, Braco has retaliated by marrying Nikola’s childhood sweetie, Marta (Ksenija Marinkovic), and meanwhile secretly is supplying sperm for Anamarija, who’s trying to conceive through in vitro fertilization. Rajko Grlic’s farce of sexual musical chairs and hyperbolic familial ax-grinding is one hilarious hairpin turn after another, anchored by a winningly charming cast. In Croatian with English subtitles.
Sat, April 14 – 7:30pm  Aero Theatre
Double Feature. Introduction by producer Branko Lustig (LEA AND DARIJA).

2011, 101 min, Croatia, Dir: Branko Ivanda
Based on the true story of Lea Deutsch and Darija Gasteiger, 13-year-old competitive dancers in Zagreb on the eve of World War II, Branko Ivanda’s moving drama follows the girls’ initial rivalry and then budding friendship. When anti-Jewish laws are implemented in the city, Lea and Darija find their relationship tested and must face the harsh realities of growing up during wartime. With beautiful cinematography inside and around the grand Croatian National Theater. In Croatian with English subtitles.
LEA AND DARIJA screening co-sponsored by SEE FEST (May 3-7, 2012)

2008, 100 min, Croatia, Dir: Vinko Bresan
Vinko Bresan’s deliciously cynical black comedy is told from the point of view of Djuro (Predrag “Predjo” Vusovic), a jaded porn star enlisted by Croatian war veteran-turned-private detective Martin to help find his missing love, Desa. But Desa has gotten herself mixed up in a Serbian prostitution ring, and when the two finally find her, they must contend with a money-grubbing pimp to get her back. Winner of the Audience Award at the Pula Film Festival. “Mixes sex, violence and humor into a rollicking whole.” – Variety. In Croatian with English subtitles.

Family Matinee & Closing Night Reception!
KOKO AND THE GHOSTS Aero Theatre • Sun, April 15 • 5:00pm – Director Daniel Kusan in person!
Reception following the film for all ticket holders.

2011, 90 min, Croatia, Dir: Daniel Kusan
Shortly after Koko (Antonio Parac) and his family move to a new house in the city, eerily strange things start happening, and they begin to wonder if the house is inhabited by spirits – the previous owner, perhaps? When Koko’s sister goes missing, the young boy must embark on a quest to find her, and along the way discover the truth about the house and its bizarre supernatural quirks. A smash success upon its release in Croatia, Daniel Kusan’s KOKO AND THE GHOSTS is a wonderful adventure film for the whole family to enjoy. In Croatian with English subtitles.

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About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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