Serbia has selected Bojan Vuletic’s Requiem for Mrs. J, a black comedy about a widow planning to commit suicide on the anniversary of her husband’s death, as its candidate for best foreign-language film in the Oscars.
When depressed widow Jelena (Mirjana Karanovic) decides to escape the bleak world of a tiny apartment, aged mother and squabbling, foul-mouthed daughters on the first anniversary of her husband’s death, she meticulously begins putting her affairs in order. But as she navigates the serpentine bureaucracy of the crumbling post-Yugoslav state she lives in, the bizarre and surreally humorous realities of her situation become apparent. When her eldest daughter, Ana (Jovana Gavrilovic), becomes pregnant, the question of suicide is thrown into sharp relief.
But the movie also drew critical praise for its style and sardonic humor. Commented The Hollywood Reporter’s critic Stephen Dalton, who reviewed the film at its premiere in the Panorama section of the Berlin film festival: “If Wes Anderson made a movie about suicidal Balkan widows, it would probably look like this.”
Requiem for Mrs J is written and directed by Bojan Vuletic. The film is produced by SEE Film Pro, Geopoly, Skopje Film Studio, Non-Stop Production and Surprise Alley. Soul Food, Belgrade is handling world sales.
Serbia has submitted 24 films to the Oscars but has never been nominated. In 2007, Srdan Golubovic’s thriller The Trap made the January shortlist.