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WHEN I CLOSE MY EYES (Ko zaprem oci)(director/writer: Franci Slak; screenwriter: Silvan Furlan; cinematographer: Sven Pepeonik; editor: Neva Fajon; music: Mitja Vrhovnik-Smrekar; cast: Petra Govc (Ana Resnik), Mario Selih (Milan, Robber), Petra Rehar (Ana, as a girl), Dusan Sandak (Ana’s father), Valter Dragan (Ivan), Pavle Ravnohrib (Inspector Delak), Mira Sardoc (Aunt), Gojmir Lesnjak (Boris), Vlado Novak (Head-clerk); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Franci Slak; New Yorker Video; 1993-Slovenia-in Slovenian with English subtitles)
“Enigmatic thriller but interesting as it merges political intrigue with romantic obsession and psychological fraility.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Writer-director Franci Slak presents an offbeat psychological thriller set in Slovenia. The film opens with 9-year-old Ana Resnik playing in the woods and first finding letters scattered on the ground and then a post office bag and finally her postal worker father hanging from a tree. Why he committed suicide will be revealed later as due to political reasons during the time of the Communist regime. This tragedy left some serious scars on the girl, who was to serve time in her youth in a house of detention. Every time Ana closes her eyes, for the rest of her life, she’s haunted by the image of her father swinging on the tree.

The story picks up with Ana as a free-spirited attractive twentysomething woman who works as a clerk in the post office for a little over a year, and is assigned to fill in for the day in a rural post office. A handsome but surly guy sticks up the place and escapes by motorbike, but Ana uses the crime as a cover to take some of the money she failed to give the robber. The police inspector suspects she’s involved as there are gaps in her story, and assigns a smooth ladies man undercover cop named Ivan to tail her.

Ana lives with her fragile elderly aunt, who she does not want to upset and therefore doesn’t mention the robbery.

To relieve her depression, Ana gets a chic new haircut and sparkling fancy dress and meets an old friend Boris in a disco. Boris’s friend Ivan horns in and comes on heavy to Ana, who tells him to slow down. It turns out Ivan has connections with the council and he arranges for her to get a clerk job there. By accident, the robber is on her line and she gets his name and address without his knowledge. Not aroused by the handsome Ivan, she’s all tingly for the robber. They meet and go to bed. What follows is tragic, even topping the other two tragic events in her life.

Enigmatic thriller but interesting as it merges political intrigue with romantic obsession and psychological fraility, and brings all these elements smoothly together in a haunting concoction that touches on Chabral and New Wave Czech cinema.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”