Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Guardian of the Frontier|
Actors: Gasper Jarni, Milada Kalezic, Igor Korsic, Iva Krajnc, Domen Novak
Director: Maja Weiss
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
abqbeach | Albuquerque, NM USA | 03/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's summer break in Slovenia, and three college students decide to get away from it all on a canoe trip down the Kolpa River, which separates Slovenia from Croatia. Alja (Tanja Potocnik), Simona (Iva Krajnc) and Zana (Pia Zemljic) are all happy to just float away and sunbathe topless.
It turns out to be a trip about crossing many different borders. Alja deals with pressures to be "normal" by marrying and having children. The naive Simona seems obsessed with finding a fairytale man, but is confronted by men in a different way when they visit a house on the Croatian side of the river. Their hosts are a gay couple, and she disapproves. She's also horrified when she sees Zana and Alja kissing. Zana is looking for love and pursues Alja throughout the trip.
Issues of nationality, tradition, urban versus rural "family" values, as well as sexism and homophobia are confronted as they are caught crossing the border illegally and then find themselves in a village of people much more aggressively traditional than their young, urban selves. When they are pursued by would be rapists, everything turns even darker.
Simona escapes into a fantasy world as she rejects her friends' more modern values. Zana and Alja finally make love, but it's unclear if Alja is interested in the relationship Zana craves.
This is the first Slovenian feature film directed by a woman (Maja Weiss). I have a feeling that many of the cultural references were lost on me, as the fantasy sequences were confusing. The political and social issues are quite fascinating though."
A promising debut
Kerry Walters | Lewisburg, PA USA | 06/12/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Guardian of the Frontier" is director Maja Weiss's debut film, and if it's anything to judge by, her future films are going to be well worth watching. "Guardian" has a lot of weaknesses--it's a bit overlong, it has so many subplots going on that the film seems patchworked at times, the editing is rough and abrupt in a few places, and segments of the fantasy sequence towards film's end are unintentionally funny (the fish/phallus scene in particular). But for all that, the film has several commendable features.
The acting is really quite good. The three young women leads--Iva Krajine (Simona), Tanja Potocnik (Alja), and Pia Zemjic (Zana) created complicated and engaging characters. Zana is the bohemian lesbian who feels stifled by her culture; Alja, the best friend for whom Zana has a heavy crush, is stifled in her relationship with an utterly conventional boyfriend; Simona, who has a secret and unhappy past, feels threatened by the quick change that's swept over much of Slovenia since the Balkan War.
The shifting of frontiers--between cultural and geographical points, feminism and patriarchy, conventional and unconventional intimacy, the old and the new, the urban and the rural, bohemia and bourgois--is the major theme of this allegorical film, symbolized throughout by the canoe journey the three women take down the Kolpa, the river that serves as an actual geographical frontier between Slovenia and Croatia. The message seems to be that frontiers can make us feel secure, but they can also encourage fear and hatred of the other, the person (or culture or way of loving: fill in the blank) on the other side of the frontier. As Simona discovers, even those on the "right" side of the frontier can be harmed rather than protected by it. Security isn't always what one needs.
A film that's pleasant to watch, "Guardian" stimulates thinking about one's own notions of frontier. It's also very cool to see a Slovenian film, especially one directed by a woman.