// Presented as part of Filmatique's Foreign Language Oscar Submissions II Series //
Spotlight on Requiem for Mrs. J
Bojan Vuletic / 2015, Berlin, CPH:PIX, FEST International Film Festival, Filmski Susreti, Eastern Neighbors Film Festival, Odessa, Sofia, Transilvania, Vukovar, Wiesbaden goEast / 93'
Jelena is depressed. Her husband has recently died, leaving her a widow. Her senile mother and vitriolic daughters only cause her grief. Jelena sees no use to keep on living and so secretly decides to kill herself on the anniversary of her husband's death. First, however, she must tie up some loose ends. Jelena visits offices of public administrative officials and the quarters of her old employer— a descent into a particularly drab purgatory. With her affairs finally sorted, Jelena's daughter then announces one last surprise.
A bone-dry comedy set in the absurd monolith of Serbian bureaucracy, Requiem for Mrs. J is a Kafkaesque portrait of life and death in the former Yugoslavia. Bojan Vuletic's second film premiered at Berlin, CPH:PIX; FEST International Film Festival, where it won Best Film and the Jury Prize for Best Actress, Best Script, and Best Director; Wiesbaden goEast, where it won Best Film; and Sofia, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize. Requiem for Mrs. J was selected as the Serbian entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, but it was not nominated.
"The line between despair and hilarity is a fine one in Requiem for Mrs. J, a Sahara-dry comedy of abject depression in Serbian suburbia that could play from certain angles as an entirely stern affair. The serpentine inefficiencies of national bureaucracy are bitterly satirized in writer-director Bojan Vuletic's trim, impeccably composed sophomore feature, which follows a middle-aged widow through the uncertain corridor of suicide crisis… it's a bleak trip to the emotional gallows, lent human shading and flickers of tenderness by Mirjana Karanović's soulful, sorrowful performance in the title role"
- Guy Lodge, Karlovy Vary Review, Variety