THE UNCLEAndrija Mardesic, David Kapac
This dark psychological thriller with elements of farse has premiered at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2022 and immediately received a Special Jury Mention. The debut feature film by two young Croatian directors is reminiscent of Haneke’s work, masterfully balancing between the grotesque, black comedy and the tension that can be “cut with a knife”.
Croatia, Serbia | 2022 | 104 min
PRODUCTION: Ivan Kelava, Tomislav Vujic – Eclectica; Sense Production
CAST: Predrag Miki Manojlovic, Ivana Roscic, Goran Bogdan, Roko Sikavica
SCREENPLAY: Andrija Mardesic, David Kapac
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Milos Jacimovic
EDITING: Tomislav Stojanovic
It’s the end of the 80s in Yugoslavia, and a family of three welcomes their beloved gastarbeiter uncle back from Germany to celebrate Christmas together. The family gathers around the table and seems to be enjoying a feast of traditional dishes. The conversation is soon interrupted by the ringing of a smartphone. It becomes apparent that the situation is not what it seems. What is happening, will this Christmas stage turn out not so “merry” and will the outbreak of tension lead to chaos? The Uncle deconstructs the typical holiday situation by amplifying false happiness, alternately dancing between shame, fear and embarrassment. The film skilfully hides the motives that lie beneath the surface and make viewers wait for its end on the edge of their seats.
The Uncle forces the family to be happy, day after day, just so he can be emotionally fulfilled. It is the infinite repetition of pursuing perfection, all these elements of tradition and family routines become devices of torture and abuse. Laughter and absurdity, which come from ‘light-hearted’ everyday situations, are transformed into unpleasantness and horror not only for the characters but also for the audience.
Festivals & Awards (selection)
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, 2022 – Jury Special Mention I Pula Film Festival, 2022 – Golden Arenas for Best Script, Best Costume Design I Dunav Film Fest, 2022 – Grand Prix I Montenegro Film Festival, 2022 – Grand Prix; Best Actor (Miki Manojlovic) I LIFFE – Leskovac International Festival of Film Directing 2022 – Best Actress (Ivana Roscic); Second Award for Directing I Vancouver International Film Festival 2022
Andrija Mardesic is a Croatian film and TV author. He has successfully directed projects in various genres: experimental and music videos, documentaries, and promos. Still, his focus is a cinema where he proved himself with a series of short films. Iris (2009), Two All Alone (2015), and Steppe Fox (2019) stood out at festivals in Croatia and abroad. He co-directed omnibus Short Circuits for Croatian national broadcaster HRT in 2013. As a screenwriter, Andrija co-wrote the medium-length horror film Zagorje Specialty and the short children’s drama Party, which he co-wrote with David Kapac for HRT and the European Broadcasting Union. Andrija also works as a storyline on the biggest TV projects in Croatia and he directed a TV drama #Don’t Tell Anyone for HRT. The Uncle is his debut feature. Andrija is developing several projects, including the next feature film with David Kapac.
David Kapac is a Croatian screenwriter, director and creative producer. His medium-length horror film Zagorje Specialty was screened at festivals in Croatia and abroad. After graduating, David focused on working in television, achieving seven-figure viewership in Croatia and the Region for the shows he ran either as a director or creative producer. In 2017 he returned to film, co-writing the screenplay for a short film Party that represented Croatia in 2018 as part of the project ‘Drama for Children’ of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The Uncle is his debut feature.