A quarter of a decade ago a girl was born in a remote Serbian village without a moustache, she was the first woman in her family to have been born in such a way. Outcast from her village, and her kind Zoritsa leaves a lonely life, falling in love with men who shortly after die. But having met a witch, she returns home to burn the grave of Pavle, in order to rid herself of this terrible loveless curse.
When you picture in your head a movie made in Serbia you generally have a certain vision in your mind of what it is likely to be like. Loveless Zoritsa will defy your normal expectation; it’s a professional, glossy looking movie that bears all the hallmarks of Tim Burton’s work during the 80’s and 90’s. Scenes shot during the night are beautifully framed, and incredibly atmospheric, while daytime shots show you a world you just want to be part of. Even the opening credits sequence plays out like a massive Hollywood blockbuster, a vision in flames caused by the flames on the back of Zoritsa’s dress as she flees the scene of the dead Pavle’s grave. This is a visually stunning movie throughout, from romantic cave settings, beautiful tunnels, and breathtaking lake scenes, to the framework of Hollywood’s finest cinematographers.
The movie is very much a genre bending one, with aspects of horror, some hysterical comedy, to a form of gothic fairytale. It’s this clever handling that keeps the audience on their toes.
The image we see in the movie is also an interesting one, we get the typical stereotypical image of a Serbian village, with people dressed in timeless costumes, ran by the typical matriarchal type woman, with chickens, donkey’s and tractors as the only vehicle. But in strong contrast later the characters enter the Witches “hut” which includes the latest computer technology, and a TV monitor wall. This is a movie that is not afraid to poke fun at itself, or the country it inhabits, and later we have the typical vehicle chase with a battered old motorized bike, and a tractor, battling to knock the other off the road.
The movie is filled with incredibly famous actors, if you’re familiar with Serbian cinema, with award winning performers including Mihailo ‘Misa’ Janketic, and Olga Odanovic. But it’s the leading lady Ljuma Penov, who rules the movie is Zorica (the Serbian translation), the actress is beautiful and an incredible performer, and as you look at her you cannot help but compare her to a young Carrie Fisher.
Loveless Zoritsa is an incredible piece of film-making directed by Christina Hatziharalabous and Radoslav Pavkovic, and you cannot deny it has its flaws (namely the ending was incredibly predictable), but as a piece of European filmmaking from one of the lessor known areas (although a joint European collaboration), this visually blows anything you have ever seen from the area out of the water.
Loveless Zoritsa will have one last screening in the UK on Monday the 1st of October as part of the Raindance Film Festival. You can find out more on this by clicking here!