The 19th Chicago European Union Film Festival 2016 – THE TREE
written by: Sonja Prosenc and Mitja Licen
produced by: Sonja Prosenc, Sandra Rzen and Rok Secen
directed by: Sonja Prosenc
runtime: 90 min.
release date: July 7, 2014 (Czech Republic) and March 5th & March 7th (Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL)
“The Tree” from 2014, was Slovenia’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, but it was not selected. The five films that were nominated in that category were really great and having seen a handful of foreign films recently that were submitted in that category, I’ve been exposed to a wealth of variety and quality in international cinema. Writer/director Sonja Prosenc’s tense and immersive family drama is one such film.
Making her directorial debut, Prosenc, who co-wrote “The Tree” (“Drevo”) with Mitja Licen, has crafted a story centered on mother Milena (Katarina Stegnar) and her two sons, Alek (Jernej Kogovsek) and nine year-old, Veli (Lucas Matija Rosas Ursic) one a teenager and the other a preteen, who live in a humble home closed off by high courtyard walls. Told in three chapters from the point-of-view of each family member, “The Tree” as they witness a tragic event which affects them, forcing them to remain at their home. Like “Rashomon”, viewers are placed in the situations of the characters, with its ancient customs and history of feuds, leaving them to ask what is the truth and what is to be done with it. The cinematographer uses stark sunlight and colors as well as shadows in order to tell the story using symbolism and unique impressions. The film’s only weakness is its subtlety – hitting certain subjects and themes a little harder would’ve driven home the film’s message in a stronger manner.
“The Tree” is playing at 6pm today and on Monday, March 7th at 7pm. purchase tickets here.