Friday, March 11, 2016

Zvjerka / The Beast / Peto

Daina O. Pusic | Croatia, Finland 2015 | Fiction | 22 min
PC: Slavica Film / Napafilms Oy. P: Mirta Puhlovski, Annamaria Kapulica. Liisa Juntunen. D+SC: Daina O. Pusic. DP: Arthur Mulhern. S: Toni Teivaala. ED: Arttu Salmi. Contact: Liisa Juntunen,
    In Serbocroatian with English subtitles.
    Tampere Film Festival (TFF), National Competition 11
    11+12 March, 2016, Plevna 5, 2

TFF: "Vera, a childlike seventy five year old woman, lives with her demented but authoritarian hundred-year-old mother Nada in a large squeaky house in Zagreb. The women have a strained relationship, which is observed and related by the narrator of the story – Vera’s favourite dress. The white dress with yellow flowers tells us of the constant power struggle and intense co-dependence, which defines their relationship. Vera is a sensitive and childlike person, a bit of a teenager who has been frozen in time by her forceful and slightly sadistic mother. However, due to the old woman’s physical and mental weakness Vera has been able to forcefully dominate over her mother. One evening, after a particularly bad fight, a bat flies into Nada’s room and starts to hibernate underneath her bed. Upon discovering it the next day Vera’s first instinct is to get rid of the beast but her mother insists they keep him alive. Vera is told to regularly place a fresh basin of water underneath the animal in order to keep him hydrated and alive. Slowly and with a sense of doom, Vera begins to realise that the longer she keeps the bat alive the stronger and more lucid her mother gets. This new symbiotic relationship, this energy emanating from under her bed gives Nada the strength to return to her forceful abusive self. The two women, fuelled by a complicated mixture of resentment, hate and love, begin an epic struggle the result of which will determine who lives and who dies."

AA: A very old lady, mother Nada, takes a bath, helped by her daughter Vera who is not young, either. Nada cannot control her bowel movement anymore. Disgusted, her daughter opens the window, and a bat flies in. After the arrival of the bat under the bed Nada gets stronger and even resumes her voice, her power of speech. There is a horizontal split screen: the view on the bed and under the bed. Nada resumes smoking, starts to dominate Vera, and talks dirty. Finally Vera gets violent and beats her mother viciously. A macabre saga of a mother and daughter relationship.

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