Saturday, March 29, 2008

Martin in the Clouds

Martin u oblacima, Comedy, Croatia, 1960; D: Branko Bauer, S: Boris Dvornik, Ljubica Jović, Joža Šeb, Antun Nalis, Josip Marotti, Ljerka Prekratić

Martin Barić is a law student who lives in the apartment of the archaeologist Solar. When Solar and his wife leave for a vacation to the Adriatic sea for 4 months and leaves the apartment alone, Martin starts getting ideas how to use that situation. But just as he is alone with his girlfriend Zorica, his friends storm into the apartment looking for a night to stay. He doesn't have a minute of privacy the following day: his uncle brings a rich Italian and his daughter Marcella to the apartment. Martin accepts that hesitatingly since his uncle ordered a new apartment for him from someone, but that man turns out to be a conman who runs away with their money. Still, he is arrested by the police while Solar forgives Martin when he comes back.

"Martin in the Clouds" is in some circles regarded as an excellent comedy and a classic of Croatian cinema, but as a whole it's hard to wrestle off the impression that it's just a good film and that time took a dose of quality from it. While some critics rather resort to lying and acclaim everything due to the respect towards the black and white film, the truth still remains that the story is at moments unfunny and tiresome, not managing the best in the rural surroundings. Still, some virtues remained: the famous Croatian actor Boris Dvornik is wonderfully embodying the clumsy hero in search for an apartment and some privacy with his girlfriend, while the better gags that stand out are very neat, like the scene when his friends storm in into his apartment and accidentally break the sink, apologizing with: "It can happen to anyone...", upon which Martin replies with: "No, not anyone, just me." Dvornik is in top notch shape when his Martin is ironizing the presence of his friends ("You can stay over night again, you haven't broken everything yet!") or when he is looking for the conman at the house number 16 - but discovers the street only has numbers 14 and 18.


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