‘Only When I Laugh’ by Vanja Juranić competes for Belgrade Victor at 52nd FEST

Among the films that are in the running for one of the Belgrade Victors of the 52nd International Film Festival FEST is the film ‘Only When I Laugh’ by director Vanja Juranić. Just a few hours before the official premiere, which the audience had the opportunity to see on 26 February 2024 at 5 p.m., the film crew presented their work to the journalists of the 52nd FEST.
Director Vanja Juranić, screenwriter Elma Tataragić, actors Tihana Lazović and Slavko Sobin, as well as producer Nikolina Vučetić Zečević spoke about the film.
‘Only When I Laugh’ is a Croatian-Serbian co-production, the script for which was written by the director Juranić and Elma Tataragić, and was based on a true event - a court ruling. It is a drama about domestic violence.
The director, editor and co-writer Vanja Juranić first emphasized that she was glad to be at FEST, and then she referred to the verdict of the Zadar Court, which convicted a woman who killed her abusive husband in self-defense.
‘The film was inspired by true events that the Croatian media wrote about, and the verdict in question particularly irritated me because it came from a deeply patriarchal belief and was full of misogyny,’ Juranić stated.
‘When Elma Tataragić and I started writing the script, we talked about how we could not includesome things in the script because no one would believe us as they were completely outrageous. In one of the verdicts, there were allegations that "the husband was strangling his wife... but she could still breathe; and some other absurd things that are hard to believe are really happening,’ she pointed out.
‘For the hundredth time, it has been shown that life is more creative than some imagined scenario. This is nothing new to me, because I usually write films based on true events. When Vanja brought the story to me, I knew about that case, I follow current events in society and the region, but I thought how significant it was that we had the opportunity to do an important storysuch as this one,’ said screenwriter Tataragić.
Director and editor Vanja Juranić believes that the subject of her film is more important than its realization.
‘One film may not be able to change the world. However, art can change many things for the better, I am sure of that. Discussions are currently underway on changes to the Criminal Code in Croatia. The initiative is to introduce femicide as a term, although there is every chance that it will not happen, something has been initiated,’ stated Vanja Juranić. Actress Tihana Lazović, who plays the main role in the film by Juranić, said that this was not the most difficult role in her career.

‘The most difficult thing is to play a poorly written character. That is not the case here, it was, therefore, not difficult for me. The responsibility was great, but it was important to me that my Tina in the film should not be passive and that we should not see her only as a victim. I needed Tina to be brave and witty. Clumsy, to have her own desires, ambitions, dreams. So that she is close to the viewers and that they can identify with her,’ she said.
According to her, the script is brilliantly written. The painful scenes of violence were filmed in a single take, we did not have to repeat them. My collague Slavko and I analyzed them with the director and intuitively let it all out,’ said Lazović.
Actor Slavko Sobin stated that it had been important to him that the character of the violent husband was seen from several sides, and that he was not only portrayed as a monster. In addition to Tihana Lazović, who won the Golden Arena for Best Actress in a Leading Role for this film at the Pula Film Festival, as well as the Golden Orion, and Slavko Sobin (Silver Orionfor Best Actor in a Supporting Role), the cast includes Jasna Đuričić, Elodie Paleka, Marina Redžepović, Nadine Mičić, Iva Jerković, Gloria Dubelj, Mirela Brekalo, Maruška Aras, Aneta Grabovac and others.
The film ‘Only When I Laugh’ will be shown at the 52nd FEST on 27 February (MTS Hall, Hall 1, 9.30 a.m. and Cineplexx Galerija, Hall 7, 4.30 p.m.) and 28 February (Cineplexx Ušće, Hall 1, 5 p.m.).

Ministry of Culture
Grad Beograd


Knjaz Miloš
Italijanski kulturni centra