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April 13 – 15, 2012  | Aero Theatre 
(Los Angeles)

Presented in collaboration with Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in Los Angeles, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, HAVC - Croatian Audiovisual Centre, with support from E.L.M.A (European Languages and Movies in America).

Only months after the Lumiere Brothers dazzled Paris with their tiny magical moving pictures, cinema arrived in the Croatian capital of Zagreb on October 3, 1896. Ever since, the Croatian film industry has persevered, and neither political, societal nor financial hurdles were able to silence the voices of Croatian filmmakers. In 1961, Croatia's first Academy Award went to animated short The Substitute (Surogat) by Dušan Vukotić. The honor brought worldwide acclaim to the Zagreb School of Animation, which utilized a new aesthetic, based on avant-garde abstract painting, constructivism and cubism.

Deeply rooted in the country's national literature, Croatian films reflect Central European attitudes about artistic expression. Life is typically portrayed realistically and budgets are slim. In the 1990s, after the Homeland War, a new era of cinema emerged within a newly independent Croatia. The new generation - Brešan, Ogresta, Salaj, Nola, Schmidt, Hribar, Ostojić, Matanić - used cinema not only to express their own experiences during the war, but to deliver a portrait of contemporary life in a newly independent country. Since then, even more strident and modern filmmakers have emerged, such as Sviličić, and Marasović.

This year’s New Croatian Cinema series lineup includes Croatian box-office hit and family adventure KOKO AND THE GHOSTS, directed by Daniel Kušan; Rajko Grlić’s farcical romantic comedy romp JUST BETWEEN US; Nevio Marasovic’s debut feature about the world’s last reality show, THE SHOW MUST GO ON; Branko Ivanda’s LEA AND DARIJA, a moving drama about a friendship between teenage ballerinas on the eve of World War II; and Vinko Brešan’s kinky black comedy WILL NOT STOP THERE.

Series compiled by Gwen Deglise, Margaux Magis, Branko Lustig and Matko B. Malinger. Additional program notes by Margaux Magis and Beth Hanna.

 Promo Trailer 

 Program / Schedule: 

Friday, April 13 – 7:30 PM / NEW CROATIAN CINEMA
Double Feature:

THE SHOW MUST GO ON, 2010, 80 min.
Dir. Nevio Marasović

In the near future, successful TV producer Filip (Sven Medvešek) has just launched a reality show focusing on the lives of six couples living together, a direct competitor to his ex-wife’s higher-rated news show. When the much-speculated World War III breaks out, Filip hides the international news from his sequestered contestants, who continue with their sheltered on-set lives as if nothing has happened. Filip suddenly finds himself with a massively popular escapist TV show on his hands, and must grapple with the slippery morals that go along with it while trying to protect his son from the harshrealities of war. In Croatian with English subtitles.

Dir. Rajko Grlić

Wealthy philanderer Nikola (Miki Manojlović) is married to Anamarija (Daria Lorenci), the ex-girlfriend of his equally philandering brother, Braco (Bojan Navojec). Deeply resentful of his brother, Braco has retaliated by marrying Nikola's childhood sweetie, Marta (Ksenija Marinković), and meanwhile secretly is supplying sperm for Anamarija, who's trying to conceive through in vitro fertilization. Rajko Grlić’s farce of sexual musical chairs and hyperbolic familial axe-grinding is one hilarioushairpin turn after another, anchored by a winningly charming cast. In Croatian with English subtitles.

Discussion between films with director Nevio Marasović and composer Željko Marasović (THE SHOW MUST GO ON).

Saturday, April 14 – 7:30 PM / NEW CROATIAN CINEMA
Double Feature:

LEA AND DARIJA (LEA I DARIJA), 2011, 101 min
Dir. Branko Ivanda

Based on the true story of Lea Deutsch and Darija Gasteiger, 13-year-old competitive dancers in Zagreb on the eve of World War II, Branko Ivanda’s moving drama follows the girls’ initial rivalry and then budding friendship. When anti-Jewish laws are implemented in the city, Lea and Darija find their relationship tested and must face the harsh realities of growing up during wartime. With beautiful cinematography inside and around the grand Croatian National Theater. In Croatian with English subtitles.

Dir. Vinko Brešan

Vinko Bresan’s deliciously cynical black comedy is told from the point of view of Djuro (Predrag “Predjo” Vusovic), a jaded porn star enlisted by Croatian war veteran-turned-private detective Martin to help find his missing love, Desa. But Desa has gotten herself mixed up in a Serbian prostitution ring, and when the two finally find her, they must contend with a money-grubbing pimp to get her back. Winner of the Audience Award at the Pula Film Festival. “Mixes sex, violence and humor into a rollicking whole.” – Variety.In Croatian with English subtitles. Introduction by producer Branko Lustig (LEA AND DARIJA).

Sunday, April 15 – 5:00 PM / NEW CROATIAN CINEMA

Dir. Daniel Kušan

Shortly after Koko (Antonio Parać) and his family move to a new house in the city, eerily strange things start happening, and they begin to wonder if the house is inhabited by spirits - the previous owner, perhaps? When Koko’s sister goes missing, the young boy must embark on a quest to find her, and along the way discover the truth about the house and its bizarre supernatural quirks. A smash success upon its release in Croatia, Daniel Kušan’s KOKO AND THE GHOSTS is a wonderful adventure film for the whole family to enjoy. In Croatian with English subtitles. Reception following for all ticket holders.

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