Croatia, Italy And Greece

in 16th Motovun International Film Festival

by Gaetano D'Èlia

In June 2013 Mr. Maritati, a former judge, published in installments his “reportage” on a voyage to Croatia. In July, “La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno” printed an article of J. Pavicic whose headline was (in translation): “I, the Croatian writer who sees our ‘mirror’ in Apulia”.

Some days later, “L’Espresso” devoted its travel column to “the islands of Croatia”. This celebration in the Italian press marked the admission of Croatia to the European Union. The village of Motovun was celebrating this year too. When it belonged to Northern Istria, Motovun had the Italian name of Montona. Its thousand inhabitants must be proud of their a now well-established film festival. This year the main competition included 12 movies.

One of these, directed by Thanos Anastopoulos, has as the title The Daughter (I kori). The eponymous daughter is a 14-year-old girl who reacts, in her own way, to the economic crisis which her country, Greece, is undergoing. Her father has disappeared to avoid his creditors; her mother, living with another man, has, in a sense, repudiated her. So she kidnaps an eight-year-old boy, who is the son of her father’s boss. She wants the boss to give her father the money which was taken away from him. She hides the child in the sawmill where their parents worked (now shut down because of the crisis). But for a cinema-goer sawmills are violent places, typically full of blood and horror. The girl (magnificently played by Savina Alimani) dreams of cutting the boy into slices, but she is not a violent person (sadistic, maybe).

Her behaviour is explained in the exterior scenes in Athens, where the citizens fight against the police. A cinematic cliché (typical of horror movies) is employed here to show the exasperation and the dissolution of a country: credit crunch Greece. Those who act in this film are not grown-ups, but very young people. What is happening is seen through the eyes of a little girl who reacts. The problems, as a matter of fact, do not concern only money or economics but also family values and the disintegration of the parental role (the girl’s mother is pitiless in her hatred for her previous husband). This film brings together social problems and film stereotypes, giving us a new viewpoint on the state of our civilization.

Edited by Alison Frank