ZFF Distribution: “Father” and “Undine” are coming to Croatian cinemas in the second half of November
Two films from this year’s ZFF will enter regular distribution in Croatia immediately after ZFF ends. Both of the films are nominated for the “European Oscar”, and they crowned their festival successes with awards at the prestigious Berlinale. This, of course, are the “Balkan version of Paris, Texas”, Father by Srdan Golubović, and the modern interpretation of the little siren myth, as well as a romantic ode to Berlin, Undine by Christian Petzold.
Fourth feature film by Srdan Golubović, one of the most important contemporary film authors from Serbia, Father is based upon a real event and follows the story of an unemployed day labourer who, after social services take his children, leaves his small village in the south of Serbia and walks to Belgrade where he plans to present his case to the minister himself. The film premiered in the Panorama program of the International Film Festival in Berlin, where it won the audience award and the ecumenical jury award, continuing the global success the film Circles (special mention at Sundance and ecumenical jury award at Berlinale) brought this director.
In the main role of a film which critics call the “Balkan version of Paris, Texas” (Vladan Petković, Cineuropa) we have an impressive performance by Goran Bogdan who used latent power to embody a desperate father, who transforms from a loser on the margins of society into the hero of our age. Bogdan received an award for his performance at Belgrade’s FEST, where the film also won the FEDEORA award, as well as the award for the most popular film, and he also received the Golden Arena for Best Actor at Pula Film Festival. In Pula, Father also won the audience award, the Golden Gate, as the first film in the festival’s history with an average audience score of 5.0. It is currently shortlisted for the “European Oscar” – the European Film Academy Award.
Alongside Goran Bogdan, other leads are Boris Isaković, Nada Šargin, and Milica Janevski, and the scriptwriters are Srdan Golubović and Croatian director and scriptwriter Ognjen Sviličić. The film was made in coproduction with six countries – Serbia, France, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatian producers are Lana Matić and Boris T. Matić from Propeler Film who worked with this director on the award-winning Circles. The film was co-financed by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre and Eurimages.
In the second half of November, in cinemas across Croatia, we’ll see Undine, a new film by one of the most popular German directors today, Christian Petzold! It premiered in the official competition program of Berlinale. Undine is a romantic drama which, with a high dose of magic realism, turns into a modern interpretation of the little siren myth, an underwater fairy who can win over a human soul only with love. After three films which were dominated by the darker periods of newer German history – films Barbara (2012), Phoenix (2014), and Transit (2018), Petzold places his new movie in contemporary Berlin.
Our lead character is a historian working at the Berlin City Museum, where she teaches visitors about the architectural-urbanist history of the German capital. After Johannes ends their relationship, Undine meets a mysterious and romantic young diver, Christophe. A new love story between the characters, connected by an unusually strong affinity towards water, soon turns into a seductive and sensual, but unusual romantic drama in which reality and fantasy meet in the intriguing film interpretation of an ancient myth which found its place in the popular fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, but also in the works of many other artists: from poet Ingeborg Bachmann, to artists J. M. W. Turner and Paul Gauguin, and to pop-art artist Andy Warhol and director Neil Jordan.
With a recognizable Petzold’s impressive stylistic and narrative elegance, in meticulous shots made by the director’s permanent associate, director of photography Hans Fromm, a significant role in the film is given to Berlin itself. The urban history and architectural vistas of a city which is, like the titular character, marked by polarized division – between East and West, land and sea, reality and legend – span through the whole film. In lead roles we have Paula Beer, winner of the Berlin Silver Bear for this role, and Franz Rogowski, both of whom also had the lead roles in Petzold’s previous movie, Transit.
This “unusually pretty film from one of the best German directors” (Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter) won the FIPRESCI award, as well as the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the prestigious Berlinale, and at the same festival, in 2012, Petzold won the Silver Bear for Directing for Barbara. Undine is now in the selection for the European Film Academy Award.