Quit Staring at My Plate (Ne gledaj mi u pijat, 2016), the debut feature by the Croatian director Hana Jušić, provides an insight into the life of Marijana, a twenty-four-yearold girl trapped in her claustrophobic family environment. The use of a naturalistic set design and filming techniques not only exposes the smallness of her family’s apartment and the plainness of her broader environment, but also points to the ways in which the surroundings in general shape young individuals – at least until they choose to resist. After Marijana’s father suffers a heart attack, she becomes a more active agent in her life, but it is through her almost degrading, yet also liberating contacts with men that this newly discovered agency manifests itself most clearly. This kind of (psychoanalytic) de-romanticization of sex and the exposure of the comical or repulsive aspects of daily life in general, especially in the context of the “gaze” of marginalized and socially disoriented women, were already the main motifs of Hana Jušić’s early films.

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