Section: Spectrum



Andrija Mardešić/David Kapac
HR, 2022, 106 Min

A distinguished guest: A family in Yugoslavia – father, mother and son – is meticulously preparing for Christmas. An uncle, one who has done well for himself in West Germany, is due to arrive. The Christmas party with the domineering relative quickly gets out of hand however in this richly layered reflection, complete with an all-star cast, on the interplay between power and voluntary subordination.

At the beginning of the film a plate breaks; a bad omen, the veracity of which is confirmed as the story progresses. Father, mother and the grown-up son have thrown themselves into their most beautiful eighties outfits, the Christmas tree is lit up and the Christmas goose sits roasted on the table. Everything has to be just right since the uncle from the West, where everything is better, is on the way in his Mercedes to grace his family, back home in the Croatian part of Yugoslavia, with his presence. And yet why do the three allow themselves to be bossed around by the autocratic old man? The narrative structure of David Kapac and Andrija Mardesić's chamber play is reminiscent of that of "Groundhog Day"; behind which a threat à la Haneke's "Funny Games" lurks. Gradually, the reasons for this annual Christmas celebration, anachronistic in every sense as they are, become apparent. The vicious circle of violence and helplessness presented here can be interpreted as a parable of the Yugoslav civil wars of the 1990s, but also as an indication of the self-colonisation of a region that always looks up to "Europe" and loses all sense of self-worth in the process. With its deconstruction of 1980s nostalgia, uncompromising nature and nerve-wracking tension, the work demonstrates a more overarching universality.

Text: Kira Taszman
English: Peter Rickerby

Kammerbühne: Original version with English subtitles + German simultaneous translation.

Obenkino: original version with English subtitles

Miloš Jaćimović
Frano Homen
Tomislav Stojanović
Ivana Škrabalo
Miloš Jaćimović
Predrag Miki Manojlović, Ivana Roščić, Goran Bogdan, Roko Sikavica, Kaja Šišmanović
Ivan Kelava, Tomo Vujić
Andrija Mardešić/David Kapac

Andrija Mardešić/David Kapac - is a croatian screenwriter, director, and creative producer. He started his career with student short films, his graduation film, medium-length horror film ZAGORJE SPECIALITY, co-produced with the national broadcaster hrt and premiered at the Pula Film Festival 2011. After graduating, david focused on working in television. In 2017 he returned to film, co-writing the screenplay for the short film PARTY. THE UNCLE is hie debut feature.

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