In Dubrovnik, as in every single place, the rich don’t dwell close to the airport — a lot noise, a lot site visitors, so many planes overhead stealing sections of cloudless blue sky. As a substitute, the airport’s depressed, cracked-concrete environs are occupied by blue-collar households just like the one on the coronary heart of Andrea Staka’s third characteristic (after “Remedy” and 2008’s Locarno-winning “Fraulein”), which supplies “Mare,” as particular and intimate a portrait of feminine midlife dissatisfaction as you’ll discover, its extra common striations of sophistication and social consciousness.
The distinction inherent in a slender, proscribed life lived proper subsequent to a portal to the large world is deftly strengthened. However “Mare” feels grounded in each senses: It’s authentically rooted in its very particular locale, however as a narrative additionally it is overcautiously constrained, the narrative equal of being confined to quarters.
This sense of claustrophobia is after all a part of the purpose. Mare (a superb Marija Skaricic, who additionally starred in each of Staka’s earlier movies) is the succesful, taken-for-granted mom of a troublemaking teenager and two youthful youngsters, and the spouse of huge, gruff airport employee Djuro (Goran Navojec). Djuro, who like many males within the area is scarred by the reminiscences of the Balkan Wars through which he fought, received’t hear of Mare working, so they’re condemned to dwell off his meager paycheck, in a home that isn’t even their very own, which they might must vacate at any second. And the washer is busted.
On this prosaic world of clotheslines, grocery procuring and dinner preparation, Mare, like many ladies in her circumstances, is each central to the bodily and emotional well-being of her household, and wholly invisible to them. Throughout the busy family’s shared lavatory ritual, first her husband then her daughter burst in and bustle round whereas she is sitting forlornly on the bathroom. The thought of her as an individual who would possibly want privateness or have any kind of inside life merely doesn’t appear to have occurred to them.
However then, it’s maybe one thing that Mare herself has suppressed, the higher to dedicate herself to the humdrum calls for of bancrupt household life right here on the unromantic outskirts of touristy Dubrovnik. Which is why it’s such a shock to her when, one windy day, attraction flares throughout an opportunity encounter with newly arrived Polish neighbor Piotr (Mateusz Kościukiewicz). With little hesitation — simply sufficient to get him to repair the washer — Mare embarks on an affair that’s each torrid and tender, particularly contrasted with the few seconds of grunting thrusts that’s her lovemaking with Djuro. The glamor of this illicit relationship, in addition to the guilt, mix to convey a sophisticated mild again into Mare’s eyes. On the very least, she is all in favour of herself in a manner she has not been for a very long time.
However whereas all these steps really feel actually earned, the journey of a middle-aged lady discovering some kind of liberation in an extramarital liaison is hardly untrodden floor. It feels just a little disappointing that the story, which is admirable in its restraint however generally irritating in its ambivalence, ought to really feel so acquainted after the eccentric, however quietly anthemic portraits of fraught feminine relationships that Staka has delivered earlier than. And whereas the lead actress and the director have an apparent rapport, the movie curiously underserves Skaricic, who together with her densely packed, no-nonsense aura, her cussed jaw and wise mom-cut hair, tasks virtually too robust, too willful a presence for such a hesitant narrative.
It’s shot with the stylistic boldness that the story lacks, nonetheless, with DP Erol Zubecvic’s close-up, aggressive Tremendous-16 pictures giving the movie a grubby, textured graininess that works its manner into the story like grit beneath fingernails. And Ephrem Lüchinger’s music comes as a welcome, subtly disorienting shock when it performs unexpectedly, accenting temporary moments whereas the remainder of the movie, proper as much as its unresolved conclusion, is basically scoreless.
However the blowsy, up-front type can not make any extra epic the scale of a quite overfamiliar home drama. It has a faintly soap-opera vibe — a UK-style, kitchen-sink cleaning soap, that’s, not one among its glossily over-the-top American counterparts. With no stronger, extra involving narrative framework, “Mare” maybe works finest as an intriguing, lived-in snapshot of its uncommon, paradoxical location. Face away from the roads grown weedy with neglect, towards the rocky shoreline and the sapphire sea glowing darkly past, you could possibly think about your self in paradise — till a aircraft roars overhead, and brings you right down to earth.