The rugged beauty of the Adriatic coast is the principle attraction of moody period psychodrama “Serafim, the Lighthouse Keeper’s Son.” While gorgeous to look at, independently financed co-prod is too emotionally austere to register beyond domestic borders.
At the close of the 19th century, stern lighthouse keeper Joseph Skok is one of four humans on a small island within sight of land. He’s overly stern with young son Serafim, and openly cheats on silently suffering wife Marija (who adores the child) with voluptuous nanny Magda. After Marija’s mysterious death and burial at sea, pic jumps some 15 years to follow the descent into madness of Serafim, now a young man, at the hands of his Austro-Hungarian regimental training regime and demanding, decadent g.f. Tonka. Pic’s confidence suggests thesp-turned-helmer Vicko Ruic is making symbolic points about the national mood prior to the outbreak of World War I, but those not up on period politics are left with a tale as bleak as it is pretty. Beyond the spectacular seaside locations, chief hallmark of the impressive tech package is guitarist Vlatko Stefanovski’s seductive score. Pic won an award at the Pula fest.