Nikola is a man who knows how to really enjoy life; he's even able to rouse sympathy for his sinful ways. His brother turns a blind eye to his philandering although, with a broken marriage ...
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Nikola is a man who knows how to really enjoy life; he's even able to rouse sympathy for his sinful ways. His brother turns a blind eye to his philandering although, with a broken marriage behind him, he doesn't have a clear conscience, either. Is there anything positive to be said about infidelity, or does it simply deserve the utmost contempt, particularly when it's more premeditated than spontaneous?Written by
Karlovy Vary Int'l Film Festival
[pointing to tombstones in the cemetery]
Look, this guy, Solc, he was with that cow over there, Bubanovic, while she was married to her second husband, Winter. These bones here cheated on those bones... So what?
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Fine mix of comedy and drama, served in a contemporary urban story of love, intrigues, secrets...
After his excellent come back in director's seat with his previous feature film Karaula, aka "The Border Post", in 2006, writer and director Rajko Grlić has come up with another decent, skilfully crafted movie, co-written with Ante Tomić, pretty fruitful writer whose novels, including Karaula, have been adapted for screenplays and turned to films before.
Miki Manojlović, a well known Serbian actor who came to wider international recognition through his numerous roles in movies of Emir Kusturica (When Father Was Away on Business; Underground; Black Cat, White Cat...), here in the leading role as Nikola, Nina Ivaniin, a young Slovenian actress remarkable in her previous movie, Slovenian Girl, here in the small supporting role as Davorka, and a number of reliable Croatian actors: Bojan Navojec (Braco), Ksenija Marinković (Marta), Darija Lorenci (Anamarija), Nataa Dorčić (Latica), Kreimir Mikić (Jura)... are the principal protagonists of this indiscreet story about (as mentioned in movie ads) "whirls of erotic passion smoldering underneath the quiet and stagnant surface of bourgeois everyday life and habits". In the city of Zagreb, portrayed against the backdrop of a modern-day family crises, we're witnessing some unpleasant secrets in its prominent families, wicked happenings rather gracefully elided then unmasked, albeit not less painful to live with.
We learn about lives of two brothers, whose father's demise, that opens the movie, is cleverly used to set the tone of the story. Instead of being saddened by the occasion, we're shortly bemused and before long amused, subsequently learning about the life of locally renowned painter (portrayed by veteran actor Vanja Drach), apparently notorious for lusting over his models and seducing them. His sons seem to follow faithfully in his footsteps. We meet their wives and lovers, get to know their children growing up not knowing who their father is... When Nikola's niece, uncertain of the identity of her real father, having her doubts further fuelled by the lines from uncle's old love letters written to her mother, curiously asks whether he's the one, in probably the funniest dialogue delivery Nikola avoids the answer, ironically, suddenly too prude for the lewd, moralizing that reading private letters of others isn't nice.
"Everything is mixed up here in double lives, parallel relationships in this bittersweet story about relentless quest for love and happiness, about lust that never sleeps and possible awful consequences of finding oneself, even if only accidentally, in somebody's else bed". Overindulgence in constant plotting and scheming eventually becomes amusing, when not sad and tragic. Ultimately, should they ever resurface from their densely interwoven intrigues, everybody has to compromise, giving up something and putting up with all kinds of inconvenience, in order to somehow go on with their little-big lies 'n' lives. All is well served in a fine story balancing between comedy and drama.
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