A sun-drenched island off the idyllic Adriatic coast is the setting for Murina, winner of the Camera d’Or at Cannes last year for first-time director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic.
The film is a triumph for 20-year-old Gracija Filipovic, who stars as Julija, the lithe, sulky teenage daughter of a domineering and frustrated father, Ante (Leon Lucev).
Julija is an ocean nymph, shy and awkward on land but as graceful as a dolphin in the water as she dives for moray eels (murina) with her father.
It’s a role which suits Filipovic well – apart from being an accomplished actress, she is a professional swimmer.
Julija is in and out of the sea all day long and rarely bothers to change from her simple bathing costume – much to the discomfort of her parents. “Why are you roaming around naked?” snaps her father. When visitors arrive he insists that Julija dons a dress.
Among the newcomers is wealthy, charismatic Javier (Cliff Curtis), an old friend of Ante’s who also has a romantic history with Julija’s mother, the unhappy, trapped Nela (Danica Curcic).
Julija is fascinated by Javier and sees him as an opportunity to leave home and escape her father’s domination.
She taunts her mother and challenges her to leave with Javier.
This is a perceptive film about a young girl on the brink of womanhood, gorgeously filmed by Helene Louvart. Director Kusijanovic wrote the script with Frank Graziano.
Murina is showing in Perth Festival’s Lotterywest film season at UWA’s Somerville Auditorium until Sunday, February 6 .
Four stars ****
Watch the trailer…