Moments of relaxation from family obligations, outings and indulgence in food and drink at Christmastime are a great opportunity for watching a quality Croatian film. To help you do that, here’s a list of our holiday-themed recommendations.
The fourth feature film by director Snježana Tribuson is certainly the most well-known domestic Christmas film with a whole host of distinguished domestic actors appearing in the main roles such as Ksenia Marinković, Ozren Grabarić and Goran Navojec. The film screened at 14 world festivals, scooping up awards at six of them.
Destinies of a lonely pastry chef who gave up looking for “the right one” a long time ago, a lovesick globally successful opera singer and a charismatic baritone recovering from marital shipwreck intertwined at Christmas time. To complicate matters further, a sweet-talking con artist painter as skilled as Don Giovanni, two nurses trying to understand the inner workings of a male brain, and a farmer with very peculiar talents also enter the mix.
In her own words, director Snježana Tribuson wanted to bring the warmth and richness of colour and the dreaminess and splendor of theatre interiors to film. Wishing her protagonists all the best, meaning a happy ending, she placed them in a colourful and more beautiful environment, making the theatrical scenography even more fairytale-like than it would be in a play. Even though this fairytale sometimes mixes with harsh reality, All the Best skillfully still creates a proper holiday atmosphere.
Zagreb Stories are already a well-known omnibus project made up of short films by younger domestic authors. In the third installment, the thread that binds together each of the six stories is the theme of bank holidays and national festivities.
In Ivan Salaj’s Resistance Day two slackers on Labour Day decide to pay a visit to their old friend to meet his wife and baby. In Celebration of Democracy, Petar Orešković reminds us that there is a very fine line between a genius and a madman and that citizens differ from subjects of the court by will, courage and opportunity. In Matija Vukšić’s Goran’s Street, after meeting a boy from her neighbourhood on Assumption of the Virgin Mary, a young girl starts to re-examine her relationship to God, life and herself. Vlatka Vorkapić’s more sombre Epiphany is a story of a troubled relationship between mother and adult daughter, who harbours a bitter trauma caused by her mother’s behaviour in the past. The relationship between mother and child is also at the centre of Danilo Šerbedžija’s Walnut about a son crushed by his mother’s sudden death over Easter. And finally, the last story in the omnibus, Thunder by Radislav Jovanov Gonzo takes place on 1st May, which will prove to be a very difficult day for a young couple not only because they both have to go into work, but also because someone will steal their only form of transportation – the bicycle.
Even though they are related to holidays, these stylistically and thematically diverse stories touch upon compelling social issues, their appeal further boosted by a handful of well-known lead actors such as Ksenija Marinković, Judita Franković Brdar, Filip Šovagović, Tihana Lazović, Lana Barić, Borko Perić and Franjo Dijak.
Koyaa and the Naughty Objects 1 also presents several shorts, in this case animated films, ideal for spending time with the youngest family members over the holidays. Koyaa and his friend, the wise Mr Raven, live in a nice mountain house on a rocky ledge high above the clouds. His otherwise peaceful days are interrupted by playful everyday objects that suddenly come to life. One would think that life in such a remote spot would be tranquil and calm, but their days are filled with action and unusual adventures. In order to keep things under control, Koyaa has to come up with creative ways of fixing the problems created by the naughty objects.
“The Koyaa animated shorts are intended for both children and adults because they convey a universal message about how different situations that seem insurmountable at first glance can be turned to our advantage and solved in an interesting way with the help of imagination and good will. I wanted to present the message of the films in a fun way, with an unexpected outcome and a lot of situational humour”, explained Koyaa director and producer Kolja Saksida.
The seven toons are accompanied by Hi Koyaa!, a short making-of animation documentary directed by author Marina Andree Škop that offers a behind the scenes look at how the Koyaa films were created and educates the viewers about animation. The plots in the films are adapted to children’s worldview and encourage thinking and searching for creative solutions in everyday situations. All this with a hefty dose of optimism and good will, just in time for the holiday season.