• Golden Globe Awards

Quit Staring at My Plate (Croatia)

It’s very difficult to find something nice, agreeable or at least amicable, about Quit Staring at My Plate. And that is presumably exactly the intention from the Croatian entry for Golden Globe consideration in the Foreign Language Film category.The first feature from writer-director Hana Jušić wants to be ugly. It’s the same with its characters. Even the beautiful coastal city of Šibenik (the director’s hometown) looks nothing like the Croatian Tourism Office would have preferred it to look on film. But it’s all part of the story Jušić wants to tell in her movie.Quit Staring at My Plate focuses on a working-class family confined to a very small apartment reminiscent of the Soviet era. The uncomfortable closeness they are forced to share at home is the best reflection of the uncomfortable links that tie them as a family. Marijana (newcomer Mia Petričević) is a 24-year-old woman that lives with her overbearing father Lazo (Zlatko Burić), her grumpy mother Vjera (Arijana Čulina) and challenged brother Zoran (Nikša Butijer). When Lazo suffers a stroke and becomes bedridden, it is up to Marijana to take care of her family. Her sacrifice is not met with any thankfulness from the family and yet she is stuck, unable to find a better life of her own. Their interdependence is complete. Even the discovery of her own sexuality creates a new type of dependency in her life.Jušić sticks to the most unlovely streets of Šibenik. She also worked on making things even uglier in post-production, pursuing what she considers “reality”. The film premiered in the Venice Days section at the Venice Film Festival in 2016. Born 1983 in Šibenik, Jušić moved to Zagreb as a child where she majored in comparative literature and English studies at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Quit Staring at My Plate is her first feature film but Jušić directed several short films before it. She also directed a fragment of the collective movie Transmania (2016).