Films: Behind the Glass

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Behind the Glass  {Iza Stakla}

Behind the Glass
Iza Stakla

Croatia, 2008, 80 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subject: Foreign
Program: Contemporary World Cinema
Language: Croatian English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Zrinko Ogresta
Producer: Ivan Maloca
Editor: Vladimir Gojun, Josip Podvorac
Screenwriter: Zrinko Ogresta, Lada Kaštelan
Cinematographer: Davorin Gecl
Principal Cast: Leon Lucev, Jadranka Djokic, Daria Lorenci

Croatian director Zrinko Ogresta, who won the Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for his 2003 drama Here (SDFF 27), returns to Denver with Behind the Glass, another quasi-existential parable of postmodernity whose less-than-heroic protagonist tempts fate with his inertia.

Successful thirty-something architect Nikola can feel the walls closing in. Already stressed at the office due to a coworker’s breach of professional ethics, he goes home to a life with a wife, Maja, and young daughter that offers no respite. Maja can barely contain her pain and anger over her awareness that Nikola is having an affair. Ana, his colleague and mistress of six years, is near a meltdown of her own, as his endless promises to leave Maja continue to ring hollow. Something’s got to give—and so it does when Maja drops a bomb on a family gathering and Nikola loses his precarious balance as his life spins out of control. Unable to take actions or even make decisions to reverse the havoc he has wreaked, Nikola finally learns all too well the meaning of the old axiom “he who hesitates is lost” in the midst of unexpectedly tragic consequences.

Taking place over the course of five days, Behind the Glass (which Ogresta coscripted with Lada Kaštelan) amounts to a stark illustration of the Sartrean premise that “man is condemned to be free. Condemned, because he did not create himself, yet…once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”

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