You Carry Me Review: Exceptionally impressive cinematic perfection

“You Carry Me” is skillfully directed, with scenes with sometimes up to twenty characters, and with the movie's visuals looking great, the film offers some scenes you've never seen before. I was captivated by its sheer intellectual power and extremely current, universal theme and masterful performances. It combines undeniable authenticity and almost experimental originality with a very attractive, but unyielding dramaturgy.
The author created the characters and relationships seen in the movie in such an intriguing way, so that those same characters stay in your mind long after you’ve finished watching the movie.With masterful screenwriting, „You Carry Me“ is a kind of triptych about Dora, Ives and Nataša, three women of different ages, social status and problems with men in their lives, whose stories and harsh realities are shown in a subtle and discreet , yet  very striking way.
Although they are tough women (and a girl), they're having a hard time breaking through the ruthless world of post-transition and still existing stereotypical notions about the roles of daughters, wives and mothers in a contemporary society.  The falling rocks are a very interesting metaphorical solution in the film, which extends throughout the entire plot and protagonist triptych, and which symbolize the impossibility of overcoming the difficulties of the main characters.
Dora is a ten year old girl whose life isn't easy for her. After her father's sudden departure, she finds her role model in Zdravko Mamić, a controversial Croatian football manager. She often quotes and admires him, and dreams of one day becoming a celebrity football manager herself. Chaos returns to Dora's life as her father returns home, and shortly afterwards she finds out he hasn't changed at all, as the police show up at their door. Dora's mother Lidija has no more patience for her problematic husband and she presents him with a choice, asking Vedran to change his life habits, or leave once and for all.
Ives is the director of a popular TV show. Her job suffers from a lack of professionalism and poorly written scripts, and she's trying to make ends meet while caring for her father Ivan, who suffers from dementia. Everyday chaos at work as well as at home corrodes her, but she's doing her best trying not to succumb.
Natasa  is a producer of the same TV show, and while she's trying to manage a highly demanding production, she must confront her own life's tragedy along with her pregnancy.
157 minutes of you know what? Pure cinematic perfection! This movie deals with our everyday life, as harsh and painful as it is. The tears need to be real, and the pain felt, but don't be afraid, Juka has left just enough space for hope to shine through and reach us with a shining bright light. There's always a way out and a chance for redemption. A dance, a kiss, a hug, these are the small things which matter. That's the consolation.
„You Carry Me“ isn’t a movie for women, although it was written and directed by a woman and filled with female protagonists, nor is it a movie where patriarchy and the ability (or lack thereof) to overcome their traditional roles make the thematic backbone. The story radiates dreamy life and brutal fantasy at the same time; oneiric elements are mixed with reality, and this great two-and-a-half hour long story, which – not even for a moment – aspires to the title of a Great Story, never creates the desire to look at the clock. The City of Zagreb (I’ve never been there, it looks frozen, but amazing) and its inhabitants are not only existentially alive, but also socially mobile; they are not only portrayed – they themselves create a reality in which they are (ruthlessly) caught into.
There is no great historical guilt or the mentioning of certain revolutionary dates – Juka’s characters are themselves responsible for what has happened to them, because they live life as it is and not as it once was, or as it should be – deceptive, implacable, and unfair. European by vocation, but universal by characters, with great actors of different nationalities and with such a handful of art so rarely seen in a debut, Juka’s film manages to bring the Man and not the Citizen, the Story and not the History on regional cinema canvas, which is rarely seen in that part of the world.
In one scene, Dora is singing in front of the bathroom while her father is inside with her brother. Her father told her to sing, so he can know she's outside. This is perhaps an ordinary life situation, but life is made up of such ordinary situations. Great writers know how to transform these situations into a literary text. In the theatre, this is usually impossible. You can find scenes like that in the movies directed only by great directors who work with even greater actors.
The ending itself is exceptionally impressive, and equally moving: Ivona Juka managed to give almost all of her characters a believable and convincing happy end, despite all the various suffering she made them endure throughout the movie.  And that is really just one of the many masterful and daring choices and decisions the author made in the course of the movie (e.g., an extraordinary example of parallel editing in which images - of the mother's/wife's adultery, her children playing , her husband/father and those of sex between a middle-aged pregnant woman and a young man who is in fact the half-brother of the child in her womb -  are extraordinarily interconnected by association),  this time proving again that she is definitely to be counted on as one of the most prominent figuresand promising Directors in Europe and beyond.

Rating: 10/10

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"New Film Directors - New Discoveries" is a blog dedicated to discovering new talents worldwide. Our mission is to empower emerging screenwriters and directors and to shine a light on their work through our blog so they can reach wider audience. Terrence Peterson, the author of the blog "New Film Directors - New Discoveries" is an acclaimed film critic with the degree of philosophy in Comparative Literature at Princeton, the external lecturer at 7 universities, including Princeton and Columbia, and the receiver of The National Order of Merit. All contributors are welcome to send their texts and reviews


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