Spain’s Bendita Films (“The Clash”) has picked up the international rights to the twisted suspenseful production “The Uncle” (“Stric”) ahead of its market screening at the Toronto Film Festival.
“We are delighted to represent David Capac and Andrea Maldschic’s wonderful debut, a riveting, depressing thriller with a note of humor, its disturbing atmosphere and inventive narrative The structure is sure to surprise international audiences,” said Luis Renart, Sales and CEO. Acquired Bendita Films.
Co-written and directed by Kapac and Mardešić, the project received a Special Jury Mention at Karlovy Vary Festival in July to replace East of West’s Proxima strand. This marks the first time the Croatian duo has collaborated on several short films screened at the festival, including the post-war dark comedy Iris.
“Uncle” is an almost claustrophobic account of a Yugoslav family in the late ’80s, hurriedly preparing to get together for Christmas Eve dinner. Everything was in place, waiting for their beloved German uncle, who would arrive anytime in his Mercedes. On the surface, this is a sufficiently mundane task, but are things really as they appear?
The film “is a deconstruction of the typical family situation during the holidays. From childhood, we are trained to think that the holidays are when families have to be happy and together. Perhaps, it is for this reason that most of our holiday parties watch It all looked like a superficially staged, rehearsed play,” the directors said in a statement.
Fake joy ahead as the mother works tirelessly on a turkey that will be eaten in minutes, while the son fidgets reluctantly over the home’s holiday decorations while his father supervises. There was the hum of the engine in the distance, and everyone lined up, frowning and laughing, waiting for the familiar greeting.
As the plot progresses, the house feels smaller, acts more sinister, and gets sucked in with every breath. An uncle who adores captive viewers anchors the family as the camera moves closer to the action, then pulls back to reveal the quaint abode with nostalgic and outdated furniture, secrets hidden in fabrics that may tear at the seams.
“In their alignment, people perceive negative events more strongly if they occur during the holidays, because the imperative is to make everything warm and carefree,” the directors reiterated.
“Uncle” is produced by Zagreb-based Eclectica (“1001 Nights”) in conjunction with Belgrade-based Sense Production, which produced Ivan Ikic’s award-winning films “Oasis” and “The Savage”. Further support was provided by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the Serbian Film Centre and the Croatian National Television.
A close-knit cast drawn by beloved Serbian actor Predrag ‘Miki’ Manojlović, best known for his role in Emir Kusturica’s Palme d’Or winning Cannes Underground. Film and theatre talents Ivana Roščić (“Tereza 37”), Roko Sikavica (“Don’t stare at my plate”) and Goran Bogdan (“Fargo”) round out the scene.
“When the producers asked us who our uncle would imagine us to be in an ideal world, we didn’t hesitate to tell them, Miki Manojlović,” the directors recounted.
They continued: “At that moment, it seemed like an impossible fantasy. However, the producers had his email address, so they sent him the script, hoping in vain. Miki quickly replied that he Impressed by the script written by two young novice writers whose other work he has never seen before. The rest is history.”
Sacredly twisted and subverted by convention, “Uncle” elegantly showcases a family under the most personal pressures of everyday life. A winding and looping journey unfolds, with each character trying to deliver a lifetime of performances lest they be doomed to repeat it disgusting.
“Using something universally recognized, like a family celebrating a holiday, and then telling a very dark (and sometimes funny) story within those confines, it’s not a huge leap,” the directors said.
“We’re focusing on all the absurd, grotesque and bizarre elements of our own family gatherings, and it’s not hard to imagine how things could get really bad, very fast.”
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