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Fine Dead Girls (Fine Mertve Djevojke) - Amazon.com Exclusive

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Fine Dead Girls (Fine Mertve Djevojke) – Amazon.com Exclusive

A report of a kidnapped child triggers an investigation that uncovers nightmarish conditions in a seedy apartment building in Zagreb: none of the residents are as they seem and when they learn the truth about each other, the pervasive climate of mistrust in the building explodes into violence.

The hostility and misery of the characters' lives project vivid echoes of Croatia's recent past, as the country slowly emerges from years of ethnic violence during the Balkans war.

"A stylishly-lensed film noir." -Variety

"A choice chunk of Croatian allegory which succeeds nicely!" -Village Voice

Fine Dead Girls is an official selection of the prestigious, award-winning Global Lens Collection presented by the Global Film Initiative. In Croatian with English subtitles.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.


Readying oneself to watch a film that highlights poverty and sexism in Zagreb may be a daunting task, but Fine Dead Girls is well worth the effort. It is astounding how director Dalibor Matanic has managed to bring some initial absurdist humor into this disturbing Croatian tale about a lesbian couple, Iva (Olga Pakalovic) and Marija (Nina Violic), who rent a room in what they hope will be a peaceful apartment complex. Immediately upon moving in, they begin to learn just how perverted, unsanitary, and violent the other tenants are. The extremity of these other characters is what gives Fine Dead Girls a slightly humorous edge. However, all jokes end as the landlord's dim-witted son, Daniel (Kresimir Mikic), continually preys on Iva until the couple is forced to take action. Though the landlord, Blaz (Ivica Vidovic), has a sharp-tongued, homophobic wife who is afraid the girls have AIDS, Blaz remains a sympathetic character throughout this utter tragedy. Beautifully shot, Fine Dead Girls' several romantic moments are handled with cinematic creativity, while scenes alternating Iva and Marija's love and their external troubles build suspense effectively. The film steers clear of melodrama, despite its being filled to the brim with doomed characters. Ultimately, it is Pakalovic and Violic's fine acting an innovative script that distinguishes the film from other bleak tales of prejudice. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features

  • Discussion guide
  • Director's notes
  • About Croatia
  • Historical background
  • Biographies

Product Details

  • Actors: Olga Pakalovic, Nina Violic
  • Directors: Dalibor Matanic
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: Croatian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Global Lens
  • DVD Release Date: September 13, 2013
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0011ZW0LU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,105 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fine Dead Girls (Fine Mertve Djevojke) - Amazon.com Exclusive" on IMDb

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I have been sitting for 4 days, thinking about this 2002 movie from Croatia. I have decided that I did like the movie, but many people may find offense at the portrayals of Slavs of the former nation of Yugoslavia, especially Croatians.

The story (set in Zagreb) is told through Iva, one of two women who rent an apartment from an older couple. The wife (Olga) is a nosy-body who is constantly looking for her son to marry. The movie begins with Iva, who has gone to the building with a police detective to look for her 4-year-old son, who she swears was kidnapped by the old woman. Iva, unable to find her son, tells the detective that the tenants are lying, and gives a story (most of movie told in flashback) about what happened with her and Marija, her lover and about the other tenants.

The movie goes back in time, with Iva and Marija, lesbians, moving in and being watched by a strange man. The movie then spirals into a big, insane, phantasmagorical narrative, with odd tenants and situations that ultimately leads to horrific results. I don't wish to give away the story any more than I have to.

The movie's narrative is reminiscent of "Rosemary's Baby" and "Crimes of Passion," with a little surrealism thrown into the mix. There may several other nods, but those two I quickly noticed. Whether or not director Dalibor Matanic was criticizing Croatia for its (supposedly) unchanged, conservative values or not may be worth analyzing. With many of these ex-Yugoslavian countries searching for national identity (and unity), the plethora of movies produced by young filmmakers mainly focus on the search for identity and how different people perceive one another through prejudicial eyes. I didn't feel entirely fulfilled with the ending.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I purchased this DVD as a result of seeing a report on Kittredge Cherry's "Jesus in Love" blog spot that a poster advertising the play derived from the movie had caused uproar. As Cherry reported:

"According to Croatian news reports, the mayor of Zagreb ordered theater director Darko Stazic to remove the poster from all public areas after an unprecedented campaign against it by Catholic and other religious groups. They denounced the poster as blasphemy."

Interestingly, the blasphemy issue arose because the poster showed two women in long robes, one of which might have been construed to be the Virgin Mary, in a tender embrace. Apparently the sexuality of the story was not the issue as much as the suggestion that the Virgin might accept the loving embrace of a woman. Interestingly enough, for me the famous picture (and sculpture) by Thomas Blackshear entitled "Forgiven", which shows Jesus embracing and uplifting a presumably repentant sinner at the moment of death, has exactly the same format as the disputed poster. However, at least in the DVD version, there really are no religious overtones.

Rather, the story deals with the salacious attitudes of the heterosexual members of the apartment dwelling when two lesbians move in. The women are private and not ostentatious about their sexuality, but because they refuse the advances of the neighborhood lecher - the son of the building owners - all hell breaks loose. The sex scene between the women - there is really only one involving full nudity - is beautifully and tastefully filmed. The heterosexual rape scene and other violent scenes are grim, but thank heaven not overly explicit.
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I will keep this brief, as the previous review sets the bar quite high. I know nothing about Eastern Europe, but I do know I thing or two about homoerotic representations in film. This plot does nothing to advance gay rights (not that it has to), as it has the same moral message as a gay Fatal Attraction (i.e. don't deviate from monogamy and heterosexuality or else). The leading actress makes a poor choice (lesbianism) and her life is turned upside down. Eventually, she abandons her degenerate lifestyle leaving a few dead bodies behind. She marries her ex-boyfriend, has a child and a beautiful house. Her past comes back to haunt her (ergo the movie) but eventually all turns out well and the happy family walks into the sunset. She will not tell her husband about her "secret past", because nobody ever truly knows their family. Makes sense. A good movie, if you can tolerate the sexist and homophobic message.
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