Fillmofil.ba proudly represents the works of young critics done in program Talents Sarajevo of 23rd Sarajevo Film Festival
Written by: Arman Fatić
The latest work of Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, a Croatian director who started her film career 11 years ago at Talents Sarajevo, had the honor to be the first film in 2017 Competition Programme – Short Film section at the 23. Sarajevo Film Festival. The film had already won Special Jury Mention for Best Short Film in the Generation 14Plus section at Berlinale, Prize of The Children's and Youth Competition at Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, and it was shortlisted by the American Film Academy for the 2017 Student Oscars.
Inspired by her childhood memories from a small Croatian island Kalamota (Koločep), Kusijanović juxtaposes adolescence with nature. INTO THE BLUE tells us a story of 13-year-old Julija who returns to this very island. In opening scene, the boat is getting to the coast of Kalamota, and we are listening to Julija's mother explaining that the two of them are trying to flee from an abusive household. As Julia gets annoyed by her mother's talk, she moves to the edge of the boat and dives into the sea.
The “dive-in” is a repetitive gesture in contemporary youth films from the country, thus can be seen also as an escapism moment and a signature move of the “Croatian everyday-life film movement” (“filmski val hrvatske svakodnevice”) that emerged several years ago. The movement is being characterized by stories that are relevant to the social and political situation in Croatia, mostly showing us the lives of women with emotional trauma, chased by their past, lost in present time, always presented a bit on the edge of reality. The “dive-in” motif, when protagonists are trying to get away from their problems by taking a leap into deep water, was best represented in films like QUIT STARING AT MY PLATE (Hana Jušić, 2016, won the Fedeora Award at Venice Film Festival), YOU CARRY ME (Ivona Juka, 2015) and TV series THE PAPER (Dalibor Matanić, 2016, won Un Certain Regard Jury Prize for his movie Zvizdan at 2015 Cannes Film Festival).
As we follow Julia's struggle to fit into her childhood setting, the tension rises, so we get to the climax and also the logical follow-up of the “dive-in” trope: the drowning, albeit metaphorically represented. Young director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović succeeds in relaying the full specter of this “everyday life movement” story in a short-film format and brings something important as a new insight for the whole movement.