In top Cannes Film Festival debut Murena, Croatia's sun-baked family drama is cooled by the waters of the Adriatic

A young woman's personal hell is brewing against the idyllic backdrop of fun-loving vacationers and the clear Adriatic Sea. Croatian director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović's film "Murena" (Murina, 2021), awarded the Golden Camera for Best Debut at last year's Cannes Film Festival, carefully explores the summer synthesis of beauty and slow terror in a family. The film is shown on Lithuanian cinema screens from May 13.

Beauty and tension under the Croatian sun

The main character of the tape produced by the well-known American director Martin Scorsese is a young woman, Julia. She lives with her parents on a paradise-like island in Croatia, but she feels trapped. She is annoyed by her father who constantly complains about her unsuccessful career. The mother is also annoying, obviously oppressed by the father, but unable to resist him. The only place where Julia feels free is the sea; apparently because it represents the possibility of escape. Once, an old friend and former employer of her father visits the girl's home island. He belongs to another world - the one that Julia desires - and she will try to get there as much as possible.

Moray eels are eel-like bottom-dwelling predatory fish. They are hunted by the main characters, a father and daughter, who are submerged under water with a stingray. The film has many scenes both in the depths of the sea and on boats. Drowning in hatred on land, the characters must work together during a joint underwater hunt. What if you aim the stingray not at the fish, but at the despotic father?

A despotic father - as if from an archetypal image of Croatian society. The director first wanted to show her compatriots that the traditional understanding of masculinity does not make either the men themselves or their families happy.

"It was interesting to observe the reactions of Croatians after the premiere of the film. Many did not even notice that the head of the family behaves misogynistically in the film. There were a lot of reactions: "What's the matter?" The movie shows a normal family. Nothing happens", the director of "Murena" wondered.

AA Kusijanović observes that difficult experiences in real life do not happen in dark alleys in the middle of the night: "For the characters of the film, this hot, transparent blue, peaceful utopia is equal to hell, especially when there are not even trees around to cast shadows. There is no place to hide, no place to think.” Only the sea remains.

A baby was born during the awards ceremony 

Although AA Kusijanović's film won the prestigious title of best debut film at the Cannes Film Festival, the director did not attend the ceremony - she was giving birth at the time.

"Although I still managed to attend the film's premiere, I could not receive the award at the ceremony," says the director. “I received more than one award that night. It was amazing, if a bit surreal." Festival organizers congratulate the new mother and give the newborn a festival accreditation for life.

The movie "Murena" is shown in the cinema "Romuva" from May 13.

Movie trailer with Lithuanian subtitles:

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