The slow-burning story of a 17-year-old girl who looks well suited to the seagoing ways of her supposedly beautiful Croatian island home has a distinctly European flavor to it.
While wearing a one-piece bathing suit, Julia (Gracie Filipovic) and her father dive for moray eels in the Adriatic Sea and look to be one with nature.
So where is the drama, the tension, that will propel this film to success? Neither Nela (Danica Curcic) nor Julia’s, dominating father, Ante (Leon Lucev) can be blamed for their daughter, Julia. The advent of a fabulously rich billionaire who may acquire the island to develop a resort — and allow Jujila’s family to depart — irritates Julija.
Javier (Cliff Curtis) is a businessman, and he appears to have a complicated relationship with the family. While Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic doesn’t go into great depth about Javier’s past with Ante and Nela, she does give a few pointers. While looking through Javier’s suitcase, Julija notices a Business Week cover with the heading “The Ruthless Icon.”
Javier, on the other hand, is tight-lipped about his motivations. Despite Ante’s best efforts, Javier is unconvinced by Ante’s pitch that the island has the potential to become a tourist destination. A wealthy businessman and globetrotter, Javier is seen by Nela as the man she previously wanted, but he has now started a family.
It’s not uncommon for Julija to see Javier as an escape route to boarding school in Switzerland or even Harvard. No one in the family is discouraged by Javier’s behavior. On the contrary, he appears to embrace the opportunity to be the center of attention in multiple ways!
This, of course, has a negative impact on the family dynamics and on the island’s tranquility. A 17-year-old girl’s sexual and adventurous aspirations are especially ripe for abuse.
Julija is the undisputed star of “Murina,” and her gaze dominates the proceedings. People her age are sunbathing, drinking, and smooching on a party yacht docked near her house. As a result, her desire to go is only heightened, and the idea that she may be living in paradise, but her dreams will die there is also reinforced.
The name murina, which is used in Adriatic languages to refer to the moray eel, is whence the movie gets its name. At the beginning of the film, a maid can be seen cleaning an eel that Julija and her father had captured earlier in the day. The housekeeper is heard commenting on the eel by saying, “Look how she bit her own skin to set herself free.”
Of course, Julija is a kind of murina in the sense that she is willing to do just about everything in order to free herself from her father’s hooks.
Kusijanovic, in contrast to many screenwriters and directors working in the United States, has no intention of providing the audience with a definitive solution regarding what happens to Julija. Some people will be disappointed, while others will be overjoyed by that.
To this point, reviews have been positive on the “thrill” factor. At the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, the movie was awarded the prestigious Camera d’Or prize. The prize is granted to the director of the debut feature film that is considered to be the most outstanding.
Martin Scorsese, who directed the movie, also served as an executive producer for the project. In addition, Kusijanovic was successful in convincing Helen Louvart to join the production team in the role of cinematographer. She is the recipient of a plethora of honors presented at film festivals located all over the world.
The flicks “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” and “The Lost Daughter” are two of her most well-known works.