Espejo de: Pátio do Carrasco
Ante Babaja, Slavko Kolar, Bozidar Violic
Dirección de fotografía:
Manca Kosir, Velimir ‘Bata’ Zivojinovic, Fabijan Sovagovic, Nela Erzisnik, Martin Sagner, Angel Palasev, Stane Sever, Drago Bahun, Hermina Pipinic, Rikard Brzeska, Kruno Valentic
The Mirrors section of FILMADRID aims to link the present of auteur cinema with the history of cinema, no matter how recondite or unknown it may be. This time, André Gil Mata, filmmaker in the Official Selection, wanted to dialogue with this Yugoslavian cinema treasure directed by Ante Babaja in 1967. Set in a Croatian village at the turn of the 20th century, The Birch Tree presents us with a simple story, (almost) a fable about human pettiness and the ruthless workings of a dirty, muddy word where purity becomes withered and cannot survive. The unhappy existence of the young farmer Janica, married for love to a miserable forest warden — played by Velimir ‘Bata’ Živojinović, one of the most popular faces in Yugoslavian cinema, far removed here from his usual roles of the hard-working humble hero —, serves the director to create a tale of fascinating narrative structure, in which every element ends up being significant. Babaja, one of the many talents emerged from the new waves of Eastern European countries, gives us a horror story without ghosts, a religious apologue without divine apparition, a melodrama without (hardly) consolation. Astute viewers will detect in The Birch Tree the Balkan relative of a well-known Federico Fellini film, but they will also surely be carried away by a timeless and universal story, crowned by an ending that is as forceful as it is cathartic. GABRIEL DOMÉNECH
Ante Babaja was born on 6 October 1927 in Croatia, Yugoslavia. Babaja finished high school in Zagreb before enrolling at the University of Zagreb, where he studied law and economics. He was a noted film director and writer, known for The Birch Tree (1967), Dobro jutro (2007) and Kamenita vrata (1992). He died in 2010 in Zagreb, Croatia.
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