Thursday, November 27, 2014

European Union Film Festival Review - Vis -A- Vis

"O.K. I'm ready" followed by a punch to the face are the first images on the screen in Nevio Marasovic's Vis-A -Vis. The young director (Rakan Rushaidat) is huddled with his producer (Daria Lorenci) who has set up a meeting with a potential main actor (Janko Volaric Popovic) in between scene on the latter's popular soap.  The Main Actor sporting studio blood on his wardrobe from the above noted punch is happy to do the role but has questions about the actor playing his dad in the script. They agree to do a read as the Main Actor has to return to the set next door for his next scene.

The Director is next off to see the famous actor (Kresimir Mikic) who he had in mind when he wrote the role of the father. Their breakfast meeting does not go well.  The Famous Actor is interested but reports that the script it to long, he is not keen on a soap opera guy playing his son not to mention that they are only about three years apart. The Famous Actor is also not sold on using the island of Vis as a setting. The intimidated director tries to explain his thinking but ends up taking the advise of the famous actor to go to Vis over the new years holiday to work on the script.  As he still has to do the read the Main Actor agrees to go as well.

Writers Marasovic and Rushaidat weave a multi layered tale. The two men head to Vis Island for 3 days staying at the Director's family home on the island. While there both speak of unresolved emotional events in their lives for the first time strangely to a person they just met.  The Main Actor SMS buzzes constantly as he periodically displays his fetish for water as a tool to calm himself. They do some reading, the Director works on the scrip and the men are much closer when the retun to the mainland 4 mornings later.

Rakan Rushaidat is well suited for the Director role. He has to defend himself as this is his first film, the subject matter is personal and his resume consists of a student film and a couple of years of commercials. Janko Volaric Popovic is the surprising driver of the films as the Main Actor. He starts off arrogant yet defensive of his soap opera pedigree, then distracted by the constant SMS messages but continues to grow and evolve as the piece progresses to eventually knowing the intricate nuances of the scrip inside out as an immediate personal relationship unravels. Kresimir Mikic role is supporting as the Famous Actor. He is only in four scenes but commands them all playing the iconic veteran presence well.

Vis- A-Vis is a strongly written spirited film. The dialogue and interaction between the main characters are its strength. The production takes a jagged turn well past the three quarter pole that completely flips the direction of the original narrative but as the new turn plays out its clear that the new path is the correct course correction.  It is a film that I can recommend.

*** out of 4

Vis -A-Vis | Nevio Marasovic | Croatia | 2013 | 81 Minutes.

Tags:  Director, Casting, Script, Actors, Producer, Vis, Re-Write, Funding, Isolation, Tito.

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