A long-overdue wake for a Croatian granny who died six years earlier is anything but funereal in "Marija's Own."
A long-overdue wake for a Croatian granny who died six years earlier is anything but funereal in “Marija’s Own,” a music-filled, alcohol-sodden docu-fiction hybrid. Croatian writer-director Zeljka Sukova’s film documents an unusual gathering in Rijeka, where Sukova and two of her cousins threw a merry feast — with local food and booze, plus dancing to live Czech electro music — to celebrate the memory of their grandmother. Entertaining jumble, bookended by old homevid footage, is both life-affirming and fest-friendly.
The three bubbly brunettes behind the feast are Sukova; her real-life cousin, actress Nina Violic (“On the Path,” “Fine Dead Girls”); and thesp Mila Culjak, who — in pic’s clearest injection of fictional elements — plays Marija’s third granddaughter, Danira. The girls dress to the nines, receive Marija’s decidedly older neighbors and relatives, and reminiscence over dinner while another trio, Czech band Midi Lidi, plies its trade. Slightly inebriated, the three women hold audience in the bedroom to hear the guests’ frequently hilarious proposals for Marija’s as yet unadorned grave. Sukova’s better half, Czech filmmaker Ales Suk, oversaw the fluid camerawork and cutting, which are OK in a low-budget way.