Croatia chooses The Eighth Commissioner for the Oscars race
by Davide Abbatescianni
- Based on Renato Baretić's best-selling 2003 novel of the same name, Ivan Salaj's feature debut is the 27th submission for Croatia
Croatia has officially announced its entry for the 91st Oscars, in the Best Foreign-language Film category. The film chosen to represent the country is Ivan Salaj’s The Eighth Commissioner [+see also:
film profile], released in Croatia in January this year.
Based on a best-selling novel written by Renato Baretić and published in 2003, the feature revolves around Sinisa Mesjak (Frano Maskovic), an arrogant politician who is framed in a scandal involving sex and drugs. In order to conceal his misbehaviour, the government decides to send him to Trećić, Croatia’s most remote island, where he will have no internet access or mobile-phone signal. Sinisa is assigned as the eighth commissioner of the island, and his task will be to organise the first valid election on Trećić, which all seven of his predecessors failed to do.
The Eighth Commissioner was released nationwide on 5 January 2018 and had its international premiere at the Munich International Film Festival in July.
The film is the first feature by Salaj, who started his career as a director and screenwriter in the early 1990s. His filmography includes several shorts, such as Neanderthal Story and Dan otpora, the 1995 TV movie See You and the 2016 collective film Transmania (A Twisted Game) [+see also:
film profile], shot together with 14 other Croatian directors.
The Eighth Commissioner, penned in its entirety by the director, was produced by Damir Teresak and Mario Vukadin for Olimp Produkcija, Dario Domitrovic for Embrio Production and Jozo Patljak for Alka-Film Zagreb. Other cast members include co-lead Borko Peric (Until the End of the Death, The Avalanche) as well as supporting actors Spiro Guberina (The Brave Adventures of a Little Shoemaker [+see also:
film profile], Bella Biondina) and Goran Navojec (All Alone [+see also:
interview: Bobo Jelčić
film profile], Spielmacher).
Croatia has entered films for the Best Foreign-language Oscar category every year since gaining its independence, starting in 1992, but a Croatian movie has never made the final shortlist.
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