Arriving with the best first feature film award from Cannes and with Martin Scorsese on board as an executive producer, Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović’s fraught family drama Murina is one of GFF22’s hottest tickets

Film Review by Ross McIndoe | 14 Mar 2022
  • Murina
Film title: Murina
Director: Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović
Starring: Gracija Filipovic, Leon Lucev, Danica Curcic, Cliff Curtis
Release date: 8 Apr
Certificate: 15

Julija (Gracija Filipović) is a teenage girl who lives upon an idyllic Croatian isle, diving for Muraena eels and dreaming of the world that lies beyond the horizons of island life and adolescence. Her would-be paradise is tainted by the presence of her father, Ante (Leon Lučev) – a beast of a man who spends his days barking orders and spitting insults. Julija’s mother, Nela (Danica Curcic), tries to keep the peace through appeasement and apologies, both a victim of Ante’s abuse and an enabler of it.

When a rich friend of Ante’s named Javier (Cliff Curtis) swaggers into town, all three of them spy a life-changing opportunity. Ante hopes to sell his old friend some land while Nela quietly expresses hopes that a good payday and a change of scenery might soften her husband’s brutal nature, although whether she truly believes this is unclear. Julija doesn’t – one way or another, she believes that Javier can offer her with an escape route into a life of her own.

Throughout the movie, Kusijanović cleverly contrasts Julija's heavy, suffocating home life with the stillness and grace she finds while diving, allowing for some truly stunning underwater photography. Between that and the sharply-drawn psychological drama playing out on the shore, Murina announces Kusijanović as a filmmaker to be reckoned with.

Murina was the closing film at Glasgow Film Festival and is released 8 Apr by Modern Films