Murina (2021) Glasgow Film Festival 2022

February 23rd, 2022
Author: Meredith Taylor

Wri/Dir: Antoneta Alamos Kusinajanovic | Cast: Gracija Filipovic, Danica Curcic, Leon Lucev, Cliff Curtis | Drama, 82′

Croatian director Antoneta Alamos Kusinajanovic has fleshed out her Berlinale award-winning short Into the Blue delivering a tightly wound sensually charged story of sexual awakening that picked up the Camera D’Or at Cannes 2021.

In many ways Murina echoes Heitor Dhalia’s sun-drenched romantic drama Adrift (2009) but here the action travels from Brazil to the crystal waters of the Adriatic, off the coast of Croatia, where feisty teenager Julija (Filipovic) is on a pre-uni holiday with her mother and controlling father Ante (Lucev) who is keen to keep them both under his thumb. Once again there’s an unmistakable friction between father and wilful daughter and plenty of crotch shots of the latter as she swims and frolics in the turquoise waters of this rocky island paradise despite to break free of her parental constraints.

The arrival of Ante’s friend and ex boss Javier (Curtis) is cause for celebration and a certain amount of nostalgia as they reminisce about the past, and when Julija is asked to recite some poetry Javi is instantly drawn to her sultry charm and feral beauty in scenes that set fire to a strong sexual vibe that smoulders as they swim together the following day. But Julija is not the only one Javi has eyes for: he still holds a candle for her ex beauty-queen mother Nela (Curcic) who views his keenness on her daughter with lowkey resentment, but has no intention of getting involved with the peripatetic playboy who clearly is not one for settling down. This air of danger excites the nascent sexual desire in Julija and, oblivious to her father’s well-founded warnings, she embarks on a bid for freedom that sizzles with erotic tension and uncovering uncomfortable truths from the past. MT


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