Dobra zena [A Good Wife] (2016)

Dobra zena
Director: Mirjana Karanovic
Writer: Mirjana Karanovic, Stevan Filipovic, Darko Lungulov
Cast: Mirjana Karanovic, Boris Isakovic, Jasna Djuricic, Bojan Navojec, Hristina Popovic, Vlado Kerosevic, Ksenija Marinkovic, Isidora Simijonovic, Jovan Belobrkovic, Ermin Bravo
Seen on: 3.10.2016

Plot:
Milena (Mirjana Karanovic) and Vlada (Boris Isakovic) have been married for a while, their children are grown, their life is well established. But Milena gets shaken out of her complacency when doctors find a lump in her breast and she finds proof at home that Vlada committed war crimes during the Balkan War. Questioning the very foundations of her life and the possibilities of her future, Milena will have to make some tough decisions.

The Good Wife tackles many different issues and none of them are light. But it does manage to stay on top of them and not be overwhelmed by its own gravity, making it a very engaging, interesting film with important things to say.

A film that’s as explicitly feminist as this one will always have a big bonus in my book. And Karanovic didn’t come to play around or be vague. She features issues like breast cancer, domestic violence and the fight of the younger generation of women – in the form of Milena’s daughter Natasa (Hristina Popovic) – for their freedom against the older generation of men and women both. Most of all, though, it makes perfectly obvious how trapped women can become in their own existence, even when their lives aren’t working anymore as they always used to.

Dobra zena also shows the echoes of war that sound for a country that experienced it, even after it’s supposedly over and done with. In Milena’s case those echoes become more than just a uncomfortable background sound with the tensions between Vlada and Natasa due to their political differences. They become strong enough to destroy her belief in her husband and with that their marriage. And since her entire life hinges on being a wife and mother, everything is called into question for her.

In the end, it’s always up to the women to do the cleaning up, to collect the shards that remain of their shattered lives and desperately try to hold everything together. Or maybe, if they’re lucky, build something new from them, if they can. Dobra zena makes this point expressively, despite a few lenghts.

It’s an eloquent statement on how the personal truly is political and the you have to take a stand – there is no neutral position. We can definitely do with more films that try to show that.

Summarizing: it’s not the best film in the world, but it is definitely worth seeing.

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