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The World’s Greatest Monster

Set in the 1930's, "The World's Greatest Monster" is a visually arresting but impenetrable metaphor about former Yugoslavia. Story deals with a girl whose hands were eaten by a hog. A man in a chicken suit, Nazis and tortured political prisoners are intercut with her tale. Mood piece is probably too ambiguous even for fest auds.

An experimental film set in the 1930’s, “The World’s Greatest Monster” is a visually arresting but often impenetrable metaphor about former Yugoslavia. Main story deals with a young girl whose hands were eaten by a hog. Gruesome idea is developed on an entirely ironic and symbolic plane, however: Actress Mirta Haramina simply wears long-sleeved dresses that hide her hands. A leering man in a chicken suit, Nazis and tortured political prisoners are intercut with her tale. Mischievous mood piece retains an adolescent flavor and is probably too ambiguous for even for fest auds.

Young Croatian helmer Goran Rusinovic (“Mondo Bobo”) opens and closes pic in a theater, suggesting viewers take a distance from what they see. Stana (Haramina), who grows up on a farm, adapts to her handicap until her evil brother Toma (Goran Susljik) tempts her to the city, where he prostitutes her as a freak. Her intelligence and courage seem to triumph in the end. In a parallel story, a sentimental American man pays to get his brother out of prison. Despite its theatricality, veteran cinematographer Tomislav Pinter gives film a graceful period look, with striking rural scenes.

The World’s Greatest Monster

Croatia

  • Production: A Mljecni Put/Romulic/Jadran Film/HRT/Gama Studio production. Produced by Mario Romulic. Directed by Goran Rusinovic. Screenplay, Aris Movsesijan, Rusinovic, Tena Stivicic.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Tomislav Pinter; editor, Ivana Fumic; music, Hrvoje Stefotic; production designer, Nedeljko Mikac. Reviewed at Motovun Film Festival (competing), Croatia, July 31, 2003. Running time: 72 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Goran Susljik, Mirta Haramina, Slobodan Milovanovic, Ivica Vidovic, Gorica Popovic, Frane Rusinovic, Nino Bantic.