Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Washed Out

Isprani; Drama, Croatia, 1995; D: Zrinko Ogresta, S: Katarina Bistrović-Darvaš, Josip Kučan, Filip Šovagović, Mustafa Nadarević, Ivo Gregurević, Tarik Filipović

Jagoda is a student girl in her 20s, living in a small apartment with her sick and bad tempered mother and depressed father. She feels scanty and longs for a few moments of intimacy and peace for herself. The frustration is even enhanced by the fact that she has a boyfriend, Zlatko, but doesn't have a place to have intercourse with him. At the same time, her brother Tukša is drinking in pubs for days waiting for his mistress, a married woman, to decide if she will stay with him or not. Jagoda and Zlatko try to find a place for intimacy in a military base, a shabby apartment or in the forest, but always get interrupted. When he finally finds an apartment, she breaks up with him and makes Tukša stop waiting in the pub.

"Washed Out", the second feature length film from director Zrinko Ogresta, is a flawed but touching and very sensitive drama with a great little refreshing plot that you don't see very often - it revolves around a girl who feels scanty in her too small apartment she has to share with her parents. The story maturely follows and portrays Jagoda's wishes and her longing to find some privacy and intimacy for herself, refreshingly handling the issues of adolescence and grown ups, the small details are great (the esoteric opening title sequence in the background of some foggy object that looks like a leaf covered by a nylon; a bunch of drunk maniacs jumping in the same streetcar as Jagoda; a fly caught in a glass...) and some of the quiet little emotional scenes are magnificent (Jagoda and her boyfriend Zlatko are lying on a blanket in the middle of the nature. He says: "What do you have against memories?" and she replies with: "I want different memories!") while the magical music simply has to be heard, making the story a quality piece of movie making, even though it's sad it was distracted by the completely unnecessary subplot revolving around her brother Tukša. Back in the 1990s, Croatian cinema was stuck in a Black hole, making incredibly bad and pretentious melodramas, but "Washed Out" managed to avoid that flaw with ease most of the time, but here and there it also fell into the trap to make a grotesque soap opera turn - like the caricature scene where the father is yelling at his sick wife: "Die! Die! As long as something finally changes in here!" or when a frustrated Jagoda drags her boyfriend behind a building during the rain and shouts: "Take me! Just as long as we finally get it over with, damn it!" But despite everything, Zrinko Ogreta remains a interesting author with a special sixth sense for mood that touches on some deeper levels than it can be described in words.


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