On the eve of Mirjana’s 20th work anniversary, when she is to receive an award at a modest celebration, her interactions with her loved ones illustrate her whole life: the one behind her, the one she is living, and the one that is yet to come. A Blue Flower is a film about a woman, about a mother and a daughter, a film that evokes emotional associations and urges us to take a long look into ourselves.
Director: Zrinko Ogresta
Scriptwriter: Ivor Martinić
Co-writer: Zrinko Ogresta
Producer: Ivan Maloča
Executive Producer: Maja Vukić
Co-producer: Lazar Ristovski
Director of Photography: Branko Linta
Editor: Tomislav Pavlić
Composers: Dino Osmanagić and Kristijan Koščica
Costume Designer: Katarina Zaninović
Art Director: Maja Merlić
Sound Recordist: Zoran Maksimović
Sound Designer: Martin Semenčić
Sound Mixer: Ivan Zelić
Make-up artist: Slavica Šnur
Co-production: Zillion film
Vanja Ćirić, Anja Šovagović, Tea Harčević, Nikša Butijer, Doris Šarić-Kukuljica, Alen Liverić
About the movie
A Blue Flower had its world premiere in mid-April in the main program of the 43rd Moscow International Film Festival where, by the choice of the audience, took the third position on the list for the best film of the festival. It is also nominated for the East-West Golden Arch International Film Award. A Blue Flower is produced by Interfilm from Zagreb, co-produced by Zillion film and Croatian RadioTelevision, with the support of HAVC and FCS.
FESTIVALS & AWARDS
68th PULA FILM FESTIVAL – 2021 – The award for Best Film in the Croatian Programme
68th PULA FILM FESTIVAL – 2021 – Golden Arena for Best Actress is awarded to Vanja Ćirić for the role of Mirjana
68th PULA FILM FESTIVAL – 2021 – Golden Arena for Best Director is awarded to Zrinko Ogresta
68th PULA FILM FESTIVAL – 2021 – Grand Golden Arena for Best Festival Film
Serbian premiere at the 28th European Film Festival Palić
World premiere at the 43rd Moscow International Film Festival – Russia
Zrinko Ogresta (1958) is a Croatian screenwriter and film director, professor of film directing at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb, and a member of the European Film Academy in Berlin. Praised for their strong visual style, well-articulated mise-enscène, and innovative storytelling, his films focus on the anxieties that lurk behind the well-cultivated bourgeois facade of the characters, using their emotional and psychological fractures to bring to light the complexes that haunt the society in general, while subtly analyzing social and political forces behind it. Ogresta’s films were screened and awarded at renowned international and local festivals (Berlin, Venice, Karlovy Vary, London, Montpellier, Denver, Milan, Pula…). Some of the most notable prizes are the nomination for European Film Award in the category of best young director for the film Fragments, Prix Italia for the film Washed Out, the Special Jury Prize at the Karlovy Vary festival for the film Here, and a Special Mention at the Berlinale for the film On the other side.
Filmography: 1991 – Fragments: Chronicle of a Vanishing, 1995 – Washed Out, 1999 – Red Dust, 2003 – Here, 2008 – Behind the Glass, 2013 – Projections, 2016 – On the Other Side, 2021 – A Blue Flower
Review: A Blue Flower
27/07/2021 – Zrinko Ogresta examines the emotions and relations between different generations of women in the same family in this gentle and emotional film
Family relations tend to be toxic or at best constrained in the region of the Balkans and former Yugoslavia. Croatian veteran filmmaker Zrinko Ogresta digs deep into family-related anxieties and microaggressions between three different generations of women in his newest film A Blue Flower. The film had its premiere in the official competition of the Moscow International Film Festival earlier this year, while its national premiere took place at the Pula Film Festival, where it won the Grand Golden Arena award in the Croatian Competition.
Everything seems to be dark and gloomy for the protagonist, named Mirjana (played by stage actress Vanja Ćirić, who had little film experience prior to this film). She is a single mother in her forties, stuck in a dead-end factory job and in an affair with her married boss Jakov (Alen Liverić of No One’s Son fame). Her ex-husband Vlado (Nikša Butijer, glimpsed in almost every Croatian film from the last few years) has begun a new life in Germany, but wants to stay in touch with Mirjana and their teenage daughter Veronika (newcomer Tea Harčević), who wants little contact with her mother and none at all with her father.
However, the real challenge is the visit of Mirjana’s mother Violeta (Anja Šovagović-Despot, adding another diva performance to her impressive list of credits on film and in theatre) who comes to town for a medical examination and stays with Mirjana for a couple of days. The two women spend their time engaged in a kind of banter that appears unpleasant and on the verge of fighting, but they actually care about each other and are almost unable to express it. Shocking news is about to make Mirjana re-think her ways, the patterns she took from her mother and that she is now passing down to her own daughter, and all those things said and unsaid, done and not done, that life consists of.
Every step of A Blue Flower is carefully thought-out and executed by Ogresta and his crew. Casting choices are interesting, sometimes going quite against the usual type for the actors, while Vanja Ćirić as the lead expresses the fatigue of a drab, dead-end life packed in pure ordinariness, without even a hint of “misery porn.” Ogresta is also a master of visual storytelling and his precise approach leaves no room for error: every frame is composed exactly the way it should be, is as long as it has to be, shot from a carefully chosen angle and cut at the exactly right place. Ogresta also keeps other details under his strict control, making the most of the indoors and outdoors location of Zagreb socialist apartment blocks (kudos to Maja Merlić’s production design), transferring some typical sense of claustrophobia from the environment onto the characters. The progressive rock-sounding score by Dino Osmanagić and Kristijan Koščica is also spot on, and the same goes to Branko Linta’s cinematography and the editing handled by Tomislav Pavlic.
No matter how seamless the execution in the way it transfers thoughts and emotions to cinema, the origins of film as a stage play still show, especially in the dialogues loaded with some kind of symbolism. This is not too surprising, since screenwriter Ivor Martinić is predominantly a stage writer and this is his first feature film script. One thing is certain: both him and Ogresta care a lot about their characters, and together with the efforts by the cast members, it shows. A Blue Flower is quite a delicate one.
A Blue Flower is a Croatian-Serbian co-production between the companies Interfilm and Zillion Film, realised with the financial support of the Croatian Radio Television (HRT), Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) and the Film Centre of Serbia (FCS).