Tension Overflows on a Croatian Beach in the Stunning Debut Feature 'Murina'

Watch an exclusive clip from the new film executive produced by Martin Scorsese.

When director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović worked with the young actress Gracija Filipović on the 2017 short film Into the Blue, something clicked. “It was like hormones and the actual coming-of-age happening in front of my eyes in this natural setting that was in conflict with this inner nature and inner dangers,” Kusijanović says. “There was so much life coming onto film. I felt that’s a gold mine, ‘I want to portray this in a feature film,’ so that’s what I did. I decided to write a feature film for her, specifically.”

The result is Murina, a spectacular debut feature that opens this week at New York’s Metrograph before expanding to Los Angeles. In the movie, executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Filipović plays Julija, a teen who lives on a remote Croatian island with her angry, demanding father and deferential mother. She’s a natural in the water-Filipović is a professional swimmer-and scours the sea for eels with her dad, but watches rowdy tourists with quiet longing from afar. When an old friend of her parents Javier (Cliff Curtis) comes to visit, she sees a potential for a life away from the oppressive isolation of this otherwise gorgeous locale.

In an exclusive clip, you can see the dance between Julija and Javier over breakfast. Javier is still deeply in love with Julija’s mom, and Julija is infatuated with Javier in a way that may or may not be sexual. He seduces her with talk of the fancy boarding school his kids attend, and his understanding of love. She’s dreamy eyed, but it’s unclear what she most desires: Him? Or his life? “There’s something about foreigners coming into a country where nothing much changes. They always bring a certain allure of the world, of the best is yet to come,” Kusijanović explains. “That type of energy coming to a young woman confused about who she is, where she’s heading, the relationship with her father, the relationship with her mother, who is very close to her age, is confusing to such a character and she does not know what she wants from this relationship. She wants everything out of it.”

Kusijanović grew up in Dubrovnik, but spent summers on an island not unlike the one depicted on screen, and was careful in how she wanted to shoot the landscape along with cinematographer Hélène Louvart. “We were very aware that when characters are within this space, they’re imprisoned,” she says. “That this place is hostile, naturally, physically, to its natural architecture.” What results is a film where the white of the rocks and the blue of the water is vaguely threatening, the way Julija’s father is. Through Filipović’s performance you can feel the way she itches to escape on your skin. It’s mesmerizing and a little bit terrifying.

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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.


Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.


Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.


BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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