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Croatia Film Festival in South Africa from 18 to 28 April 2008
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  04/2/2008 | Culture And Arts | Unrated
Croatian invasion of South Africa
Croatia Film Festival
Mon, 31 Mar 2008

 A scene from "Sleep Sweet, My Darling"

Seven of Croatia's internationally acclaimed films, including director Rajko Grlic's pre-war epic Border Post, are headed for Pretoria (Cinema Nouveau Brooklyn Mall) from 18 to 20 April and Johannesburg (Cinema Nouveau Rosebank Mall) from 25 to 28 April 2008.

Border Post, Armin, What's a man without a moustache?, Sleep Sweet My Darling, The Horseman, Tressette and Here (Tu) have been screened at some of the most prolific international festivals including New York's Tribeca Film Festival and festivals around the world to the same sentiment -"The Croatian films hold their own in the intrigue stakes".

This year's selection of dramas and comedies tell humane stories that "will capture the imagination with their universal themes and in some cases displaying quintessential Croatian humour," says First Secretary of the Croatian Embassy, Natali Lulic Grozdanoski.

South African audiences can view the films for free at Cinema Nouveau Brooklyn and Cinema Nouveau Rosebank Mall. Show times are 17h30 & 20h15 and tickets can be collected an hour before each show time.


Title: Armin
Hope runs high in this drama about a father (Ibro) and son (Armin) who leave their small town in Bosnia to the Croatia Zagreb, where Ibro is going to audition for a war film. Their physical journey has ups and downs like the bus breaking down and Ibro being told that he is too old for the role. However, it's the celebration and nurturing of their father and son bond that won this emotional drama popular at the Tribeca, Seattle and Palm Springs International film festivals.

Title: What is a man without a moustache?
Based on the novel by Ante Tomic, this film tells the story of young and unstoppable widow Tatjana, who tempts a charming and financially inept priest who is also a recovering alcohol addict. A classic love triangle, men fall to their knees at the sight of Tatjana, whose list of possible suitors include a local business man. Set in the hinterland of Dalmatia, is the poorest region in Croatia, What's a man without a Moustache is funny and engaging.

Title: Tressette (Treseta)
This comedy is winner of four awards from the Croatian Film Critics' Society. It is Croatian humour at its best. On a small, dying Dalmatian island, four friends who live in a small dying Dalmatian island spend their days playing card game tressette. They are thrown off balance when one of them dies, creating a challenge out of finding a replacement in an island that has few inhabitants. They attempt to get various people to play with them; the local priest, the village loon, a man from Zagreb who came to the island to buy a summer house and even the local policeman. Their search reveals the island's deeply buried secrets.

Title: Here (Tu)
Croatia's retired people, former soldiers, drug addicts and young people who don’t have a future are some of the character's in this drama. It's a stark reality that becomes very dark at times. However, it's also one of the most diverse stories in the festival, showing the lives of and experiences of the young, middle-aged and old.

Title: Sleep Sweet, My Darling
This sentimental comedy, in turn delightfully amusing and tragicomical, tells a tale of a working-class neighborhood in Zagreb during a ten-year period after the end of the Second World War. It is a story of people who rely on humor and song to survive their anxious times, preserving their traditions and their way of life despite the tumultuous upheavals that surround them.

Title: Borderpost
At a small border-post on the Yugoslav-Albanian border, yet another generation of soldiers suffering the usual amount of boredom awaits the end of their service, counting days to the moment when they should take their uniforms off for good. It is the spring of 1987 and the thought never even crosses their mind that they would, in fact, put them back on quite soon and go to war. Frustrated and always drunk, lieutenant Safet Pasic feels a strange pain in his groins. He seeks help from the only doctor among the soldiers, Sinisa Sircevic, who finds out, very discretely, that it's a sexually transmitted disease. Not wishing his wife to know about it and trying to find excuses not to go home, Pasic declares a state of emergency, claiming that the Albanian army is preparing an attack against Yugoslavia. A joke transforms into war hysteria and the situation runs out of control.

Title: The Horseman
The Horseman is a furious love story set in a historical context, in which the main characters repeatedly change their religions for reasons of fear, hunger, love and war. In the mid-18th century, South of Europe was divided between the Venetian Republic and the Ottoman Empire, Christianity and Islam. In the synthesis of conflicting civilizations, irreconcilable religious beliefs and immoral political ambitions, life, friendship and love are just meaningless sparks in tragic individual fates. Fierce conflicts, unfettered passions, cunning machinations, cruelty and basic survival are parts of everyday life. While the characters take us through the complex and exciting labyrinths of their individual dramas, the roots of a centuries-long political tragedy are revealed.

Formatted for CROWN by   Marko Puljić
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