Monday, July 9, 2007

What Iva Recorded on October 21st, 2003

Što je Iva snimila 21. listopada 2003.; drama / comedy, Croatia, 2005; D: Tomislav Radić, S: Ivo Gregurević, Masha Mati Prodan, Boris Svrtan, Barbara Prpić

On her 14th birthday, Iva receives a new digital camera and starts recording everything in her apartment. Her stepfather Božo invited a wealthy German businessman Hoffner for diner, causing all kind of complications: Iva's mother Željka forgets to make shrimps for the diner, uncle Darko is constantly kidding while a lot of guests call to say they won't be able to make it. Since none of them speaks German, Darko invites his friend Nina who can speak that language fluently. But it is revealed she is working as an escort girl. When Hoffner finally arrives, mother accidentally drops her diner so they are forced to go to a restaurant. After a dance, Hoffner leaves, but Božo discovers he flirted with his wife. The family returns to their home late at night.

"What Iva Recorded" is a wonderfully realistic, true and amusing film from director Tomislav Radic, who never gave hints in his previous weak achievements that he has such secret talent in him, obviously enhanced by the refreshing screenplay from Ognjen Sviličić: the whole film is filmed with a digital hand held camera, in accordance with the story where the title heroine Iva is filming her family's dramatic and humorous moments with her new camera for 24 hours, transforming into a vivid story that seems as if it was edited from someones home video. The film is filled with everyday observations that everyone can identify with: in one scene, the mother is running through the hallway complaining how she has to "clean and sweep for everyone in this house". The father shows up from the toilet with his fly open and is wondering if they should move the table for a few inches to the left in order for every guest to have enough space. Someone rings at the door, but when dad opens it there is nobody there: as he goes out he hears someone speaking German in a hilarious gay accent ("Ja, mein Herr") but discovers it's not his eagerly expected guest Hoffner but uncle Darko playing a prank on him. Darko brings a "Gangs of New York" poster with Iva's face on it. Iva shows Darko her tattoo on her back and smiles into the camera, saying in a cute way: "Everything for beauty". Although it may seem the small vignettes seem disconnected, Radic neatly placed them in a cohesive structure, giving a broad picture of every character through his or hers little behaviours, where almost every little detail is right on, while the only thing preventing him to achieve a maximum result in quality seems to be the overstretched finale. It is very rare to find a great film. It is even more rare to find a great Croatian film. But this is one of them.


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